The potential (or lack thereof) for brands on Snapchat

Planit Agency
March 11, 2014

If you are reading this, odds are you are already somewhat familiar with Snapchat. But what are the chances that you would be willing to use it to promote your company or brand? You might say it depends on whom you are trying to target, considering that most of Snapchat’s users are primarily teens and young adults. While many advertisers remain skeptical of the benefits of Snapchat, some see great potential and opportunity. Here are a few reasons why some companies are on board while others are still not convinced. Pros: No money is required (so far). Some smaller companies don’t have the budget to splurge on popular advertising methods such as print ads or billboards. Rather, many rely heavily on the variety of free features that popular social media networks offer. While Snapchat has plans to eventually charge brands to advertise, the details on prices still remain unknown. It’s a fun user experience that is easy to use. Very minimal effort is required to reach a large crowd. Many brands are experimenting because they are curious and it is not a huge time investment. The one-to-one private messaging is appealing and helps brands communicate to their audiences on a more personal level. The short time span forces users to pay attention. After a quick 10-second window, “snaps” of photos or videos will disappear (unless a screenshot is taken).  There is limited time to absorb the advertisement, which gives the user a sense of urgency and importance. Users also tend to pay closer attention because they must hold their fingers on the screen to view the snaps. Cons: It’s tough to track engagement and analytics. It also lacks many business-friendly features. For example, while it is useful to see the number of people who have viewed an image, it is still hard to manage multiple accounts or track how many followers you have. Many competitors like Facebook and Twitter can give detailed reports and have built-in engagement metrics. Little data is collected from the users. No other information is collected besides a user’s email address, birthday, and cell phone number. Other networks such as Twitter or Facebook get to know people on a more personal level; therefore, they can target their interests more accurately. There is no measure of real success. Brands are still experimenting with this app and while the future looks promising, there are still no clear numbers to show. It is a risk and could turn out to be a complete waste of time and energy. Since Snapchat’s launch two years ago, the app has changed the way smartphone users communicate. Not only has it given other social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram some serious competition, but it has also forced brands to rethink their approach in regards to traditional advertising, especially when targeting younger audiences. Many companies such as Acura, Taco Bell, HBO, and NPR have already adopted the platform; however, Taco Bell proves to be the most successful thus far. With a rapidly growing user base, the potential for advertising seems high, but how high is the ultimate question. Here are two examples of snaps that Taco Bell has sent to users (images from Mashable). taco bell