Despite its financial challenges, Snapchat is one of the most disruptive forms of social media which takes an already abbreviated, fast moving format and makes it absolutely ephemeral. The brevity of its videos coupled with the short lifespan of each message is just one of the reasons many brands have hesitated to take advantage of the service. The format has also changed the game in terms of what its users expect from brands and their content. However, Snapchat for business is a channel your brand should consider to determine whether it’s useful.
Consider the fact that there are more than 160 million active users checking the platform about 18 times per day. More than 70 million of those are in North America. Users also tend to spend about 30 minutes per day with the content, and it brings in more than 10 billion daily video views. Now consider the fact that brands like Pepsi are doing much more than just testing the waters with Snapchat. Pepsi made the decision to promote its 2017 summer limited-edition flavor with branded geofilters, special lenses, and even a mini game which are unlocked via Snapchat codes printed on the bottles; there’s also an associated contest. Approaches like this are probably why Pepsi’s expected ad revenue for 2017 is more than $935 million.
Ultimately, answering whether you should be on Snapchat is going to take a little research and measured consideration of your audience and your goals. That’s why we’ve collected the top ten questions you should ask your social marketing team to help you determine the answer.
Does Your Target Match the Demographics Using Snapchat?
Although only 18% of social media users in the US use Snapchat, nearly a third of US Millennial internet users are using the platform. More than 70% of Snapchat’s users are under the age of 34, and a third of teens rank it as their most important network. But don’t assume that means you should automatically be aiming for Gen Z; more than half of new Snapchat users are over the age of 25. That means your audience is young, but it’s also starting to skew a little older.
What’s more, 60% of college students have said they’d purchase from a brand if they were sent coupons via Snapchat, so price-conscious users may be in your audience. The younger your audience is, though, the more likely they are to be driven by the fear of missing out in a virtual face-to-face interaction that doesn’t pressure them to be perfect; that means they’re less likely to be willing to be sold to if your content doesn’t feel native to the platform.
Are You Willing to Humanize Your Brand?
Snapchat is not only the least formal format for social media, it’s also the platform where users expect the content to be unpolished. The content is considered “raw,” so if you use Snapchat, you need to be ready to proverbially loosen your tie and feel unscripted. It’s important to realize, however, that this means the format requires authenticity. Trying too hard to look cool, or to look cooler than you are, will probably end up with flat results.
Do You Have the Staff and the Time to Manage This Effectively?
Like many advertising channels, Snapchat can be used by just about every brand, but only if they have the time and resources to use it effectively. It’s going to require a whole new approach to engaging your audience and expressing your brand identity and message. Plus, there are 9 thousand snaps posted per second; that means you’re going to need a higher frequency for nuanced content. If you don’t have the time to put into learning what is going to work and how to properly engage your customers there, it’s going to end up being a waste of resources.
Are You Willing to Create Content That’s Different than Your Other TV Commercials and Print Ads?
If you’re just using the platform to regurgitate the short ads you play on TV or other social video ads, it’s not going to bring you results. Users on Snapchat don’t want to see just another commercial. They’re driven by unique content.
Do You Want Real, One-on-One Engagement?
Unlike most social platforms, you have a very real, very individualized space to have a one-on-one conversation with a user that follows you. Segmentation and personalization here is going to be key. For instance, you could reach out directly to a particular user who is a loyal customer that makes regular purchases by sending them a video thanking them for their support.
Can You Be Flexible?
Most social platforms regularly evolve, but Snapchat is relatively young as a platform, and that means the way people use it and how to best reach your customers there is going to change a lot very quickly. Be ready to modify tactics according to your results, yet another aspect that’s going to take time and focus for your social team. Because the platform itself is still focused on user needs, be prepared to regularly use Snapchat in order to discover and consume content to truly understand how it’s currently functioning.
Do You Have the Time to Develop Creative Strategies that Determine Success?
Because the platform is geared entirely toward its users and to abbreviated messages that disappear, it doesn’t provide robust analytics for advertisers in the way that more established platforms have been able to do. That makes identifying and measuring pertinent metrics incredibly difficult, and you should take time to either develop the strategies you need to do so, or to properly learn and leverage the right type of SaaS that can do it for you. (Snaplytics is one of the most recent options.)
Are You Willing to Test, then Test, and Test Some More?
Testing is critical to successful advertising, no matter which channel you’re using. However, with a platform this young, a user base that’s quickly changing, and ever-evolving trends in how the platform is utilized, testing is going to be especially important to running a successful Snapchat campaign.
Do You Want to Share a Behind-the-Scenes Look?
Remember what we said about humanizing your brand? Peripheral and behind-the-scenes stories can provide transparency and authenticity in a way that’s interesting. Because users expect an unpolished, true-to-life experience on Snapchat, the process can be a little easier, too.
Are You Willing to Have Fun?
When discussing Pepsi’s latest Snapchat campaign, Lauren Cohen, Pepsi’s director of marketing said, “This is our attempt to move from brand as advertiser to brand as entertainer.” That’s a fundamental shift in how to approach marketing that’s important to learn from. The people using Snapchat are there, more often than not, to have fun. Your brand needs to be fun, and to be having fun, in order to avoid becoming a dissonant interruption that’s annoying instead of influencing customer opinion and action.
Should you be on Snapchat? That’s a question only you can answer for your brand. Snapchat for business can be an extremely useful tool when leveraged the right way. The 10 questions we’ve outlined above will help you figure out whether this edgy, energetic platform is one you should be looking into more closely.