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Snapchat: The New Social Media Marketing Darling?

W4 | W4 / April 20, 2018

A few years ago, Facebook offered 3 billion dollars for Snapchat. The app did not make profit back then but still refused. Since then, Snapchat has introduced advertising and increased its value to 15 billion dollars. Should you consider using the app for advertising?

Snapchat has not yet reached Facebook's dimensions. Still, hardly any other social network has gotten as much press as Snapchat recently. However, some Europeans might still be unfamiliar with the app: Snapchat is a mobile-only app that people use to share texts, images and videos. These messages delete automatically after 10 seconds. The content exchanged there is therefore tied to individual moments and more private that what Facebook users share on their timelines. This also means that the app collects a lot less data than the blue Silicon Valley giant.

Snapchat is particularly popular among young people. Most of its users are currently located in the USA. But other parts of the world are increasingly catching up. A few numbers:

  • Snapchat currently has more than 100 million active users
  • 76 percent of these users are below the age of 34
  • most snapchatters are between 18 and 24 years old (37 percent)
  • there are 8 billion video views every day on Snapchat

Snapchat is popular with an overwhelmingly young demographic. Compared to Facebook, it is the social network that the parental generation has not yet infiltrated. How does advertising work here?

Snapchat wants to give its users a good experience. That is why advertising should not break with the overall user experience of the app. This means that there are no static ads displayed in the news feed. Moreover, the ad format plays a crucial role. Since Snapchat is a mobile-only app, all content is displayed vertically so that users do not have to tilt their phones to view video content. Advertising has to adapt to this vertical format. This obviously requires a larger investment as the content published on Snapchat has to be produced exclusively for the app or be adapted so it fits the format. Part of the user experience is also that the app does not aggregate a lot of user data, which makes targeting less precise than on Facebook.

Ads can be placed either on Discover or on Live. Discover features publishing partners such as Vice or CNN. Advertisements then show up in these channels (or brands sponsor channels). The other option is to display ads among snaps shared during events like festivals. Brands therefore target user groups according to their interests (sports, music, fashion).

Another way to use Snapchat for marketing purposes are influencers and verified accounts. Once users follow these accounts, their messages will show in subscribers' news feed.

Conclusion: Young exciting brands or those that aspire to a modern and hip image have a great marketing tool in Snapchat. However, advertising on Snapchat requires a significant investment to deliver content tailored to the app's overall user experience. In all, the app is more suitable for B2C purposes. Read more about Social Media Marketing.

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Sarah Wilhelm
Sarah Wilhelm
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