How brands can make the most of Snapchat

Our head of Account Management, Will Hossner, recently wrote this piece on Shots looking at how brands can make the most of Snapchat. Here’s the article in full.

For most of us over the age of 25, Snapchat isn’t the easiest platform to get your head around. Unlike other media (including other social platforms), it’s not particularly intuitive and it’s not always obvious where you should be seeking out content. This poses a challenge for brands, who naturally want to understand the user journey of the consumer they’re looking to reach.

But marketers shouldn’t be put off using Snapchat. It can be a very effective platform for reaching a younger audience, with 45% of teens stating that Snapchat is their preferred social media platform, up from 39% a year ago.It’s also working hard to appeal to both users and advertisers, with multiple recent updates including group video chats and location-based ad options. So, for those deciding to invest in Snapchat, here’s a few tips that will make creating great work on the platform a little easier.

Embrace the imperfections

The frivolous and spontaneous nature of Snapchat presents opportunities and challenges. It’s not going to be right for every brand, so the first step is assessing whether your values align with the platform’s. When we worked with Fanta on its ‘Taking Over Halloween’ campaign, it was a good fit because the target audience was right (teens) and it focused on handing over creative control to consumers – something which Snapchat arguably facilities better than any other platform. It’s not somewhere to keep people glued to long-form content, but you can make a connection with the right kind of creative.

Leverage the native functionality

Snapchat has a highly engaged user base, with people visiting 18 times a day on average; make the most of this, rather than trying to pull them onto another page or channel. One of Snapchat’s biggest USPs is its features that facilitate user creativity, such as lenses and filters. The best work on Snapchat will use these to help users be spontaneous, to encourage creation and publishing on the fly. We’ve also found that running lenses and filters on a cultural calendar highlight is a very effective method of gaining a high level of reach, as people will be searching out content for that specific event. Snapchat also says that unlike most other social platforms, its users often view with sound on, so don’t forget to make the most of music, sound effects and so on.

Look for a quick hook

People’s attention spans today are short and on social platforms, they can be even shorter. Brands using Snapchat’s Snap Ads need to have a very quick hook to draw people into their content – land the message in the creative within the first three seconds, before the Snapchat user’s tendency(or ability) to skip kicks in.

Shopper to Snapchat

Snapcodes can be a very useful way of linking on pack promotions with the platform. This was a key part of our work with Fanta  – creating Halloween-themed cans with Snapcodes that would unlock new filters and lenses. Marketers running Snapcodes on pack need to make sure the designs have shelf-standout, and that there’s a clear CTA to ‘snap-to-unlock’ – then a large proportion of the audience will be interested enough to scan and discover for themselves, without needing to tell them specifically what they’re going to find. This element of intrigue can be quite compelling.

Snapchat might feel like a gamble for brands, but it can be very effective with the right strategy. If you want creativity to be a two-way conversation with consumers, it could be the right platform for your brand.