At one time, Snapchat was the playful app of the mobile-obsessed teen and young adult group who were drawn to disappearing messaging and the candid feel of communication. And brands avoided it, understandably confused about how to interact on the social media platform and why they should invest in creating content that was only going to disappear.
But that’s no longer the case. Snapchat has grown up since its launch in 2012, introducing more media formats, filters, and ad formats. Not to mention, its daily active user base has reached an impressive over million people.
Building a brand presence on Snapchat is now a smart investment for many businesses, but creating content for this app is unlike doing so for your other marketing channels. Snapchatters expect behind-the-scenes content they can’t find anywhere else and want the authentic and unpolished version of your brand.
Marketing your business on Snapchat isn’t for every company. We’re not suggesting that you sign up without a strategy, an understanding of its user base, and most importantly, a commitment to creating content that may be completely different from anything you’ve created before. That’s the first thing you need to understand: This social media platform isn’t like any other platform out there. It’s about personalized messaging, real-time video, emojis and doodles, and quirky content — It’s raw and full of personality. Brand messaging that feels too professional is seen as boring on the app. If you’re not willing to think outside-the-box, experiment, and have a little fun, then it’s not the right social media marketing platform for you — at least not right now.
So why would you want to market your company on Snapchat?
There’s less competition, and therefore, you’re more likely to stand out. There’s also no algorithm hiding your posts. If a user adds your business as a friend, they can easily see that you’ve added a Story and play it. Lastly, there are few ads and no links to drive traffic away from seeing and interacting with your content.
If your company’s on board with the value of building brand awareness through Snapchat, the first steps are to create an account, familiarize yourself with the interface, and set up your profile.
Snapchat can be a frustrating app to learn. The app’s interface is unlike most other social media apps: There’s no real navigation — swiping left or right gets you to a new section of the app. And buttons and actions are controlled by icons without labels. It can be tempting simply give up and return to Facebook or Instagram, where things feel more intuitive.
A Snapchat Story is a series of images and videos (basically, the Snaps you’ve taken and added to your Story in chronological order) that disappear after 24 hours. You can create a storyline that plays out over a series of images or you can create a collage of visuals that highlights your brand.
But before you publish your first Story, you’ll need to consider who you want to see it (and all other future Stories you create and share). By default, only your friends can see your Stories. If you want to change it so that anyone can see your Story, go to the main menu by tapping the ghost icon and then selecting the “Settings” icon. Scroll to “Who Can…” and select “View My Story.” Adjust this to “Everyone” to improve the visibility for your brand’s content.
Once you’ve set up your Snapchat account for your business and mastered creating quality content for your friends, you can focus on growing your following and increasing the number of views your Stories get.
However, there are no hashtags, suggested user lists, or other features that make it easy to get in front of people looking for new accounts to follow on the app. Unless you’re one of the few publishers on the Snapchat’s Discover channel, people will have to add your brand like they would any friend — and it’s unlikely they have your phone number saved. To grow your audience, you’ll need to use the power of your other social media networks and digital marketing channels.
To promote your account on these other profiles, simply grab your Snapcode and create an easy-to-share graphic.
Share this image on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and any other social networks you manage. And just as you would with anything other promotional content, only do this when it’s natural — you don’t want to annoy your fans and followers with calls-to-action that attempt to drive them to another platform in a pushy and obvious way.
Email is another great channel to use to promote your Snapchat account. Be sure to segment your list of recipients, or first test it with a small group of subscribers who are most likely to be on the social platform and open their email via their mobile devices to increase your chances of success.
Another strategy to try is to write a short post for your website which details your presence on the platform. That way, if someone searches for your brand and the word “Snapchat” in Google, they can easily find your user name or Snapcode.
Unlike its social media competitors, Snapchat doesn’t offer robust analytics data. This has made it difficult for brands to track their effectiveness and therefore, invest more in the platform.
Snapchat only offers information on the numbers of views , screenshots , and replies on your Snap or Story. The most basic metric — follower/friend count — isn’t even available on the platform. Instead, you see a score that’s the sum of all the messages sent and received. This number appears next to your username when you click the ghost icon.
In addition, metrics are only available for 24 hours after you create a Snap, so you’ll need to set a reminder to log in and record the details after each update. You can find the metrics by viewing the Stories screen, and clicking the icon with three vertical dots next to “My Story.” A drop down with your metrics will then appear.
You should track following metrics to determine the success of your Snapchat marketing strategy and to better understand what content is performing well:
If you have a business account on Snapchat and, therefore, pay to create and share ads with your followers on the app, you’ll have access to the Snapchat Ad Manager (we’ll discuss what this is in more detail in the following section). This means you’ll also have the ability to use the Snapchat Ad Manager analytics tool to learn more about the success of your advertising efforts among your followers in real time.
The use of ads on Snapchat was fairly uncommon for quite some time, but the company has made steps to expand its this side of their business by creating new formats and launching an API that simplifies the processes of advertising and creating content through agency partners on the app. This, along with its rapid growth of users and status as owning the mobile video space, has attracted the attention of big brands and those looking to get more time in front of the coveted Millennial crowd.
But the app’s advertising options still do not compete with the variety of choices available on other social networks, such as Twitter or Facebook. In addition, the barrier to entry and cost is much higher because the company is cautious to flood the app with branding and poorly performing content. Still, it’s worth exploring the options available and how the app is changing the digital advertising game.
Snapchat Ads Manager is a self-serve tool in which you can purchase various Ad products. With the Ads Manager, you can create and manage your campaigns, organize multiple Ad Accounts at once, handle all necessary payments, and invite members of your team to join the account.
To begin, it’s important to note that you’ll need a business account to create ads on Snapchat. Once you enter your business details, you’ll be prompted to create your first ad campaign as well as get set up with your Ad Account.
Now you’ll have the ability to create ads, create audience types to target with your ads, and develop campaigns. You’ll also have access to Snap Pixel which is ideal if your business sells a direct response product or good. That’s because it tracks your customer’s journey from beginning to end — which helps you determine the impact your Snapchat advertising is having on your business.
Let’s review the main types of ads you can implement in your Snapchat marketing strategy.
Snap Ads are fullscreen, mobile ads that appear in between or after content on Snapchat, such as Stories. Snap Ads can be photos, videos, GIFs, and more, and last up to ten seconds.
You can also include a swipe up feature to reveal more information, such as an article, longer video, website page, or app install CTA — just be sure to follow the required technical specifications for Snap Ads
Brands can also sponsor Lenses to create an experience for Snapchatters. Users can add the Lens to their photo or video and send the Snaps to their friends or Story. They use augmented reality to add objects and characters in your Snaps.
These ads provide your business with a tile in Snapchat’s Discover section of the app. The tile allows app visitors to look through a collection of 3-20 of your branded Snaps. This is a great option if you’re highlighting new video content or showing followers an updated line of products.
This is a great option if you’re looking to display your products, services, and/ or experiences in a shoppable ad format. With the various ad options available, you can showcase your existing product line to help develop and automate your ad creation for your campaigns on Snapchat.
As a brand, you can can sponsor a Snapchat filter. Filters are seen by an average of 40-60% of Snapchat users daily, so these are a great form of advertising while your followers are in a specific location. These can be made available to all users or in specific locations.
Discover is Snapchat’s network of media and brand partners who create custom content for the app. This includes both digital-first companies, such as Mic and Refinery29, and publishing institutions like the Wall Street Journal and National Geographic. Over 21% of Buzzfeed’s total traffic is generated from Snapchat, while Cosmopolitan’s Discover channel boasts 19 million views per month.
You can find the Discover channel by clicking on the dotted globe icon in the top right-hand corner of your Stories screen. You can also preview recent updates from Discover publishers and see updates from those publishers who you’ve subscribed to by scrolling past the section where you view Stories created by your friends.
Snapchat Spectacles are sunglasses that can record video while you wear them and are connected to the Snapchat app so you can capture any moment and share it. These smart glasses range in price between $149.99 – $199.99 and come in a variety of styles and colors.
Spectacles allow you to simply press a button and start recording your content from anywhere. They take HD videos and photos, are water resistant, and have multiple export formats so you can sync and share your content on multiple different platforms and devices.
Videos taken with your Spectacles can be up to 10 seconds long, but it you click the button on the glasses a second time, you can continue filming for up to 30 seconds. The glasses also include a portable charging case which you can use after you’ve captured over 70 videos in a single charge.
Snapchat has arguably changed the way major brands go about their marketing and advertising efforts. Ephemeral marketing, face filters, silly doodles on video, and other Snapchat-influenced visuals can be found in marketing campaigns for big brands, B2B companies, and the like.
While the app’s features are still limited in comparison to that of other platforms, it’s a creative playground where content creators can test out new ideas and projects and find interesting ways to translate these for other platforms. And because it’s still in its infancy, it’s a lot easier to get noticed on the platform. In fact, a study found that when users view a brand’s Snapchat Story, they watch it in its entirety 88% of the time. That’s a significant break from accidentally clicking on banner ads, scrolling past ads, and skipping pre-roll video.
All of this means it’s a great time to get started with marketing your business and building a brand through Snaps and Stories.