Snapchat is a rapidly growing photo messaging application. Using the app, users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of recipients. These sent photographs and videos are known as “Snaps”. Users set a time limit for how long recipients can view their Snaps (ranging from 1 to 10 seconds) after which they will be hidden from the recipient’s device and deleted from Snapchat’s servers.
The extremely active Snapchat user base is made up primarily of millennials aged 13 to 23. Over 400 million snaps are sent daily and recent research shows that 77% of college students in North America are using Snapchat at least once daily. This has made it one of the fastest growing social networks. In fact, in November of last year the company turned down acquisition offers of 3 billion and 4 billion cash from Facebook and Google respectively.
As the network continues to grow, advertisers are looking for ways to get involved.
Brands can send snaps to users that follow them or create stories that are visible to followers and/or the public on Snapchat. Stories are a series of pictures/video clips that have been stitched together and are the closest thing to a broadcasting option that exists on the medium.
Check out stories:
Early adopter brands that have experienced success on the app include: Taco Bell, Seventeen Magazine and HBO. However, since the release of stories, increased activity from a more diverse set of brands is being seen. McDonalds, NPR, Bloomberg Businessweek, Juicy Couture and the New Orleans Saints have all recently launched campaigns using stories public to the Snapchat user base.
A drawback of the service as an ad medium is the lack of engagement metrics such as: likes, shares, favourites and retweets. Companies can only see if their post was viewed and there are currently no business friendly reporting and analysis features built in.
While Snapchat is quite young and unproven as an ad medium, a rapidly growing, engaged and diversifying user base mean a massive amount of potential. In a recent study, 73% of users surveyed said they would open a snap from a brand they knew, while 45% said they would open a snap from a brand they didn’t. There is the possibility of the service going the route of Twitter by incorporating “promoted snaps” to users, however there are no immediate plans for monetization.
It will be very interesting to see how advertisers continue to interact with the growing user base and how the app evolves in both its user experience and advertiser features.