Member Article

Can Snapchat be a useful marketing tool?

If you know teenagers who appear to use their phones as an extension of their arms, then you will almost certainly be aware of Snapchat. For those who aren’t aware, Snapchat is a platform that allows its users to send images and videos to their followers from their phones and tablets. The beauty of the app though, is that the images and videos appear for a few seconds before they disappear into the abyss, in theory never to return.

Since its launch just over 2 years ago, over one billion ‘snaps’ have been shared. This is great for the platform but could Snapchat work as part of your marketing mix?

On the whole, the Snapchat user tends to be younger. Snapchat has quickly become known as the social network that teenagers turn to share their life without fear of repercussion; simply because any evidence will be erased in 5-10 seconds. While Snapchat may not be a relevant marketing channel to many companies or brands, if you are marketing the latest gadget, fashions or music to teenagers, the app quickly can become a key part of the mix.

As Snapchat is still a relatively new marketing channel, it does pose some real challenges. The first being the fact that it’s more difficult to measure success than other digital channels and the second being that you only have a snap second to get your message across – but then if your product or service is good enough, then 10 seconds should be all you need!

Some brands are already using the temporary social media channel very successfully with some really creative and innovative examples we can learn from:

For instance, there are several ways you can use Snapchat for competitions, coupons or product previews - one simple idea could be to ask users to snap themselves using or wearing your product and then share it on your Snapchat account – in return you could offer competition entries or unique discounts.

The first known company to try this approach successfully was a New York yogurt business. Customers were asked to ‘snap’ themselves eating 16 Handles yogurt and then send it to the 16 Handles account. In return, they were sent a ‘snap’ of a unique discount code which they were to open when they got to the till - and not any time before as it would be deleted after 10 seconds!

A similar approach was adopted in the UK by Co-op Electrical with their “Snaptop” campaign. Targeting students, the campaign was combined with a microsite to encourage users to become friends with Co-op Electrical on Snapchat. Upon doing this they were then sent a £30 discount code to use against laptops - the code was then automatically deleted after 8 seconds.

In July 2013, the clothing retailer, Karmaloop took a slightly more risky approach when they launched their Snapchat campaign.

Though through a mixture of provocative model posed shots, new product shots and shots of exclusive deals, Karmaloop managed to attract a further 2,000 followers.

Clearly Snapchat has a place in the digital marketing mix for some brands with a very specific target audience. Since the introduction of Snapchat Stories back in October, using this tool has become slightly easier. With Stories, Snapchat now allows users, or indeed brands to create a series of snaps which are designed to showcase a day. Stories live for 24 hours, giving brands a great opportunity to showcase how their products can impact on a customer’s day.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Michelle Hughes - .

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