If you’re into social media (and you most certainly are because you’re reading this blog), you understand that Snapchat is the app for millennials.
I’ll be the first to admit that I check my snaps more often than I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed and Instagram combined. But if we’ve learned anything from the fall of Vine (2017), it’s clear that it takes more than just being a fun app to last.
If you’ve watched Silicon Valley on HBO, you may already know the primary issue with Snapchat’s numbers: If their user base increases without substantial ad revenue, they can’t afford to pay for the app’s bandwidth, storage, and increasing server costs. And they can’t turn a profit, which means their stock price drops (more) and their stockholders lose money. So how can the selfie-centered platform not just survive, but thrive among the social media hotshots?
Let’s break it down.
A huge win came this year during the 2017 Digital Trust Report, which crowned Snapchat the most trusted platform among its competitors. It also scored highest (by a large margin) for its perceived honesty, which increases the persuasiveness of advertisements and influencers on the platform.
But wait, what ads? What influencers? Where is all of this on Snapchat? Surprise: you’re advertising for companies when you use some filters!
How many times have you swiped through your geofilters to show off your new Colorado Rockies hat at a baseball game, or used the lens during Hairspray Live! to don a Tracy Turnblad hairstyle? Snapchat’s unobtrusive ad products create more organic engagement opportunities without affecting the experience for consumers.
How else can advertising make Snapchat money? Via influencers. Let’s use the media-savvy Kardashians as our prime example. Being a millennial in the office means I religiously follow the Kardashians.
Not one, all of them.
They’re the biggest social media influencers I follow; their profiles have taught me the difference between simply participating on Snapchat and being a kick-ass influencer. Let’s take a look at the youngest of the crew, Kylie Jenner. On her Snapchat, King Kylie updates her followers on a day in the life of a 19-year old with a never-ending flow of money, and of course, pimping her newest lip kits. Look at the difference between her lip kit launch on Snapchat and Instagram, where you’ll notice candid vs. heavily-designed approaches:
Snapchat Summer Palette Launch
Instagram Koko Collection Ads
Jenner has been snapping more and more often to highlight her booming cosmetics lines by creating swatches on her arm, and makeup tutorials that correlate her highlighters, eyeshadows, and infamous matte lipsticks. Her influence has been so large on the app, Snapchat even sent the teen their new Spectacles to test out and review.
She is creating a booming business by inviting her fans and followers into her extravagant lifestyle, and now more brands are trying to tap into her success. Due to her social media influence, Puma and TopShop have signed Jenner as a spokesperson and influencer for their products. When they show their brands are part of her everyday life, more millennials can picture themselves in higher-end clothing choices, more organically than via ads in magazines, posts on Facebook, or even in Instagram stories. Because of the high trust rates by Snapchat users, companies tap into influencer outreach through the real-time app to make their advertisements less “PICK ME CHOOSE ME LOVE ME” and more, “Hey...Rihanna is floating on a giant inflatable swan with a cup of rosé, this could be you.”
Now, when brands combine influencer marketing and Snapchat’s ad opportunities, they create brand stories that aren’t only consumed by their target audiences, but created by them. With the trust rates of Snapchat influencers and users, even smaller companies can create geofilters or lenses and have loyal customers create personalized, multimedia messages for their promotional events or sales.
Snapchat allows your target audiences to create candid advertisements for your company, and it’s cheaper than many alternatives. Creating a Snap ad that includes a video feature, interactive games, and, as of January 2017, deep links, can run around $3,000/month (in an industry where $4,000-$7,000/month is the average), and Snapchat’s swipe-up rate is 5X higher than any clickthrough rate on other platforms. Gatorade created a Snap ad around Serena Williams’s 23rd Grand Slam victory that included an 8-bit tennis game when you swiped up, and 30 million users spent an average of 3 minutes on the ad (HINT: that’s a ridiculously high engagement rate for an advertisement on social media!).
I don’t think Snapchat is out of the game in the fight for video, either. They’re still the top “one-on-one” photo and video messaging preference among social media users, and they’re even rolling out SnapchatTV this fall. It’s still the most popular app for millennials, and right now that’s who a majority of advertisers are looking to connect with on social channels.
The branding opportunities are endless, and it’s your customers telling their story of why your promotions or products are the best, not just your brand always promoting itself. Whether it’s creating a face lens to turn users into a taco for Cinco De Mayo, or unlockable geofilters so customers can promote where they’re drinking for Thirsty Thursday, Snapchat’s advertisement opportunities are only growing. Their users love it, and that’s why we’ll continue to recommend the platform to clients who are looking for that kind of reach with younger target audiences.
By Kaleigh Myers
Community manager Kaleigh Myers has lived in New Jersey, Las Vegas, Amish Country, and Chicago before finally settling in Denver. When not coming up with a clever caption for her Instagrams, you can find Kaleigh in her car on her way up to Summit County for a weekend adventure in the mountains.