Eleanna Sbokou
Eleanna Sbokou 12 May 2015

Why Brands Need To Start Seriously Considering Snapchat

Written by Jamie McAdam submitted by Eleanna Sbokou. Snapchat: Why are users addicted to it? What's in it for brands?

Author: Jamie McAdam, Planner at Blonde

Snapchat exploded on to the social scene last year and is showing no signs of slowing down. If you’re a brand who targets ’Generation Z’, then you will have undoubtedly seen the incredible user rates of teens on the platform. Begging the question for brands - is it time to go fishing where the fish are?

Private Messaging Is In
The game is ever changing. People are becoming more idle in traditional news feed formats and more active in private messaging apps.

There is a shift of people sharing content privately as opposed to publicly open news feeds, due to the rise of private messaging apps such as Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and Line. This shift to "Dark Social", as it’s being called, changes our perspective on current social metrics and how we measure success.

As a result, this affects how we track content and will have big implications on the social landscape as we know it.

We’re in the "Tinder mentality" age now and brands need to consider what that means for them. People are consuming and digesting content at a higher volume and a rapid pace. As a result there is an ever increasing thirst for new content. Therefore getting the balance right between "long term" relationships and short term "flings" with fans is an important factor that needs to be considered.

Enter Snapchat
Snapchat is about in-the-moment storytelling. Live experiences shared with people for seconds or 24 hours at a time.

It started out as storytelling to friends on a one-to-one or one-to-many basis - but quickly evolved into an optional storytelling device to friends AND followers, using their "Add to Story" function.

This is where brand storytelling becomes different compared to other social platforms. It’s based solely on a discovery basis rather than an invasive approach like on Facebook or Twitter.

Although a brand’s story will appear in their contacts’ feeds, the individual will only see that content if they choose to click on it, thus making it much less invasive.

Why Do Snapchat Users Love It?

Apart from discovery, privacy is also one of Snapchat’s key differentials. There’s simply some moments that you only want to share with your close friends. Not your old school friends, work colleagues or your mum.

I remember a quote I liked a few years ago: "Facebook is full of people you used to know. Twitter is full of people you want to know."

It’s too early to say where Snapchat fits into a statement like that, but what we do know it is full of young people, particularly in the UK. 

But what is the main reason behind Snapchat’s growing popularity? It’s FUN to use!

A recent study showed that the main thing users would expect is to be ’entertained’ by a brand. This firms up one of the main reasons that people use it - having fun!

Using Snapchat For Brand Storytelling
There’s some great case studies of brands doing it well so far. Unsurprisingly content giant Red Bull is in amongst the early contenders.

The focus here is on live events, live storytelling and sharing an experience in a fun and narrative way. The ability to add snaps to your story throughout an experience makes it a very creative opportunity for users.

Snaps have a finite life span. What about all that effort into making content?

How do we extend the half-life of all this new content?

What About The Best Bits?
An idea is to do "snap archiving", which means taking the content from Snapchat and extending it so that it lives on other existing social channels. This brings the role of the other social channels, where your brand already has an audience, back into play. Now you have a way of showcasing this storytelling content, driving awareness to your brand’s activity on Snapchat and recruiting new users to your Snaps. It now has a new position in your platform strategy.

(Example: Pitch Perfect used Tumblr to create more longevity for the snaps from their film launch campaign)

Is Snapchat Worth It For Your Brand?
Whilst it clearly wasn’t a place for brands when it first came out, Snapchat has become so popular that it’s too big to completely ignore now.

There’s still plenty to consider and hopefully more developments in the pipeline too. For example, being able to link to owned digital content - that’s one of my biggest question marks on the platform for the future.

The fact that they recently revoked their sponsored brand stories feature is an encouraging sign that they are keen to be agile and pragmatic on the approach to brands on the platform, rather than chucking a grenade in the room and hoping for the best.

Snapchat is still a young pup in the social world and it may not be perfect for all brands just yet. However, it is clearly working hard to differentiate itself from its ancestors in terms of doing effective storytelling.

This makes it a very exciting platform to consider in the mix.

About Author:
Jamie McAdam, Planner at Blonde
The article ’Why brands need to start seriously considering Snapchat’ was written by Jamie McAdam and originally published on Follow Jamie on Twitter

Come along to the next Digital Doughnut Meetup and network with other digital marketers on 26th May at Hoxton Square. Click here!

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