Is Snapchat just a fad, or the next big thing in digital marketing?

Unless you happen to work for a digital marketing agency, you may be under the impression that apps like Snapchat are only for personal use and don’t really have an application for marketing a brand.

Some marketing professionals are understandably still hesitant about the idea of a ‘private’ social networking platform, especially one where valuable content – which took time and effort to produce – simply disappears after 10 seconds. The platform used to be associated with a loyal but limited market of teens and young people, but the latest statistics suggest that Snapchat has well and truly gone mainstream, which could make it a very important digital marketing trend for brands to get on board with.

According to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, the app’s users currently view over 8 billion videos a day. It has 100 million users compared to Facebook’s 1 billion, yet Snapchat is rivalling the platform with the same amount of video views – an impressive statistic indeed.

Here are just a few points to consider, from the mouths of digital marketing experts, when considering Snapchat as a viable marketing platform:

Its content demands to be noticed

Digital marketers spend a good deal of their time trying to attract attention for their content and to stand out from their competitors. There is a lot of ‘noise’ on social media, making it a very crowded place in which to get noticed. Snapchat, meanwhile, is quite different. Industry analyst Rebecca Lieb, quoted in a Digital Arts Online article, makes the crucial point that content on Snapchat, due to the short-lived nature of the platform, simply demands attention. She explains:

“Messages on Snapchat demand to be looked at now and have an expiration date,”

“I think there’s an element of focus and concentration that Snapchat enjoys that other channels don’t.”

Real-time marketing is on the rise

Real-time marketing, with Twitter as a crucial starting point of course, is incredibly important for brands wanting a sense of authenticity and a genuine tone of voice. The unpolished, spontaneous and ‘throwaway’ nature of Snapchat appeals to those who feel that platforms such as Twitter have become slaves to paid-for content. Carrot Creative’s Len Kendall explains to Digital Arts Online:

“Snapchat’s community and user experience encourage in-the-moment content, not the typical highly polished and pre-planned marketing communication that most brands have adopted on social,”

“As a result, marketers have to move faster to capitalize on cultural events, but the benefit is a sense of authenticity that other more-developed networks are starting to lose.”

Tracking engagement and realising ROI

Of course, Snapchat poses challenges for digital marketers that other platforms don’t. For example, it can be very tricky to track and analyse user engagement with Snapchat content, although blogs such as SumAll offer very useful advice on doing just that. Those in charge of marketing budgets also find it very difficult to invest in campaigns involving Snapchat, as they fear that its content costs time and money to create but is gone all too soon. Understanding the return on investment of apps like Snapchat does require a change in thinking about digital marketing, but it may not actually be cost-effective for all brands.

Have you tried using Snapchat to market your brand – if so, how successful has it proved to be? Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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