Most people’s social media experience is limited to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but odds are you have at least heard of the popular smartphone app Snapchat, with over 100 million daily users and 400 million “snaps” made per day. Snapchat is a social media application that allows you to send photos or videos to your friends and family. The app also lets you video chat with friends who happen to be on at the same time as you. It’s a convenient way to instantly connect with people who are probably closer to you than the 500+ friends you have on Facebook. This is because Snapchat friends can only be added through a user’s address book or through an exchange of usernames.
In an effort to become more profitable, Snapchat has recently began to allow big-name brands like People Magazine and Food Network to advertise on their platform. While there have been many complaints about Snapchat’s controversial $750K fee charged to companies looking to buy ad space, everyone agrees that the popular app among teenagers is gaining more and more headway each day. That being said, many major companies are disgruntled with the fact that-like the users’ snaps-their ads will disappear within 24 hours. Additionally, Snapchat mostly targets teenagers and young adults whose income level might not necessarily appeal to big businesses. With these thoughts in mind many companies may choose not to do advertising on Snapchat.
However, many brands still choose to market themselves on snapchat because of the great advertising opportunities the app affords them. Advertising a new product or rebranding an image on Snapchat has been proven to help a company’s profits in the long run. This was the case for McDonalds who recently promoted their “Love is Endless” animated commercial to Snapchat in an attempt to revive its reputation after a reported decline in global sales.
Another example of a brand effectively using Snapchat is Audi’s innovative idea to live “snap” Superbowl XLVIII. Audi strategically collaborated with the Onion to interact with the Millennial demographic. By Audi live snapping the game, the brand was able to bring awareness to their brand while garnering more than 5,500 new followers on Snapchat.
Snapchat’s decision to only solicit top-name brands like McDonalds or CNN demonstrates to the “category leaders” that the app’s audience numbers are attractive enough to be on the same playing field as other social media game-changers like Twitter or Facebook. Even with all this success, as with any other global giant, they are bound to run into some pitfalls. A short time ago, Snapchat came under fire after a minor’s nude selfie was dispersed to students at a high school in Chicago. Her boyfriend’s decision to screenshot the image before sending it to his friends revealed the “dark side” of Snapchat. Back in 2011, when the app had first launched, many parents questioned the application’s intended uses. Was it just another social media platform or was it a device that would make “sexting” that much easier? The answer is up to the user. Snapchat can be used for both good and evil, but it is important to remember the consequences associated with the latter.
There are many ways that local businesses can use Snapchat to market their businesses. Although Snapchat is rumored to be “anti-native” advertising, local advertisers can find useful ways to build their brand in a way that’s relevant to users. Companies just need to come up with a creative and dynamic way to get consumers interacting with them on Snapchat. One example of this is Louisiana State University’s radio station, KLSU, who has encouraged listeners to “snap” their song requests to the station.
Our prediction for Snapchat is that eventually users will be viewing “click-through” ads generated in a way that is similar to Youtube’s sponsored commercials. That way, small businesses will be able to market themselves in a way that is both cost-effective and profitable. We’ll be looking forward to see what happens next with the app that has everyone “snapping”.