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Are you a snapper? By this, I don’t mean are you someone who likes to cruise around taking photos. What I actually mean is, do you use Snapchat? If you are between 16 and 24 years old the chances are you will say yes. On the other hand if you are cruising on for the big ‘four o’ like me it’s likely to be a big, fat no. Age and personal usage aside, the question I have to ask is: does this relatively new social platform represent marketing opportunities for businesses or is it just a social platform?

How Popular Is Snapchat?

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Apparently there has to be some value to the mobile app that lets users send photo messages that self-delete after 10 seconds or less. Not only do its own investors value it at $3.6 billion but when Facebook tried to buy it for $3 billion dollars in cash in Nov 2013, they turned them down flat. (Considering Facebook paid $1 billion for Instagram, they certainly seemed keen to empty their pockets to try and win back the teen audience that is gradually slipping from their grasp). Oh, did I also mention that they have now won ‘Best Mobile Application’ at the 2013 Crunchies award? Well, they did. However, valuations and awards aside, does Snapchat cut the mustard for marketers?

How Has Snapchat Been Used For Marketing?

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Despite gaining a heady reputation for distasteful types of messaging, it appears that brands are embracing Snapchat by taking advantage of users desires to send self-destructing videos and messages. Considering there are 26 million Snapchat users in the US alone who are sending 350 million photos a day through the app, it’s hardly surprising that marketers would try and jump on this social media marketing band wagon.

Numerous brands have already got ‘snaphappy’ with Snapchat. 16 handles, an American frozen yoghurt chain, was the first to try it out with their ‘Snappy New Year’ marketing campaign. Users were encouraged to snap themselves enjoying their frozen yoghurt in exchange for a coupon that disappeared in 10 seconds. O2 used it to help promote their #BeMoreDog campaign where fans could win prizes if they correctly identified items in the self-destructing pictures. Delta lingerie promoted a one off sale by sending a 10 second video of a model putting on the brands underwear to all their Facebook fans.

There is no denying that this approach is pretty darn creative and now with the introduction of Snapchat Stories (snaps that make up a video story that sticks around for 24hrs before disappearing) it offers brands another interesting way to get their message across. However, what is it about such ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ marketing that makes it so powerful and attractive to users?

The Secret Of Snapchat

It is possibly exactly that. The exclusivity and urgency woven into such brief messaging can make people take notice because they don’t want to ‘miss out’ on an offer. Knowing that an exclusive offer on Snapchat is not going to hang around for long can make people bite the bit and spend money and as marketers, we just love that. I mean, we all know how it makes us feel when for example we are trying to buy something on a website and we can see there is ‘only 1 left’ or ‘limited availability’ on the product. The transient existence of a Snapchat offer only magnifies that sense of I must buy now!

Whilst Snapchat has most certainly been experimented with by different brands, it is difficult to measure the ‘success’ of each Snapchat campaign compared to those executed by other social marketing mediums. This is because the app has a lack of engagement metrics and seems to be mainly focussed on user experience. For example, Snaps cannot be shared, and it is this lack of valuable data that could deter marketers from using it in the future.

So, even though there definitely seems to be a creative place for Snapchat within a digital marketing strategy, the future is unclear as to how effective Snapchat campaigns can be. Of course, no matter what you are marketing you need to consider your target audience and which apps and platforms are best used to communicate your campaign messages.

Have you run a Snapchat campaign for your business or brand? If so we would love to hear your thoughts on it.

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