Snapchat has evolved from a mere communication tool for teenagers, to a serious brand marketing contender. The fact that more and more companies have a presence on this platform leads to a question: should every brand integrate Snapchat into its marketing strategy?
“I don’t think Snapchat is for everyone,” says Colin Nagy, executive director at agency The Barbarian Group. “I was blown away when I saw a political show on NBC active on Snapchat simply because I couldn’t tie the demographics of that show to a Snapchat audience. As the platform is becoming more and more popular, brands are blindly jumping onto it without thinking about their target audience.”
One great thing about Snapchat is guaranteed attention due to its interactivity, as a user needs to press the button on their phone in order to watch a Discover video or Snapchat Story for a few seconds before it disappears. But that doesn’t mean Snapchat is a must-have marketing tool for everyone, especially if your objective is not awareness and your target audience is not millennials.
“Snapchat is very good at showing awareness but the platform cannot help brands who are looking to drive direct response,” says Noah Mallin, head of social at agency MEC’s North American operations.
“It very much depends on your audience. Snapchat has a younger user base than other social media platforms. As time goes by, the top end of that demographic is a group of millennials that are working and have families,” Mallin adds.
Perhaps that’s why some brands such as American Express (Amex) have been hesitant to use Snapchat. Mona Hamouly, the company’s vice president of social media communications, admits that Amex isn’t 100 percent sure it can find the right audience on Snapchat.
“In general, our approach to social media has been this way: What is the conversation? What are the platform’s demographics? Can we provide value there? We want to figure out answers to all the questions before we jump onto a social platform. We want to build something that is sustainable and makes sense for us,” Hamouly says.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that Snapchat is an ineffective marketing platform, as GE, McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Rebecca Minkoff have been building brand awareness on Snapchat.
We’re live with Buzz Aldrin on Snapchat! Follow ‘generalelectric’ to see his story. pic.twitter.com/TJfhNV5PJe
— General Electric (@generalelectric) July 16, 2014
What Does This Mean for Brands?
Ultimately, it all depends on the audience you are trying to target. Snapchat certainly seems to go down well with a Millennial audience. If that is the demographic you are after, you might be missing a trick not being on the platform. If not, perhaps another platform such as Facebook might be the one for you, because 55- to 64-year-olds represent nearly 20 million users and are more active on Facebook than other platforms. Of course, all social networks have their advantages and disadvantages, and interact with their audiences in different ways.
If you think Snapchat is a good fit for your brand, MEC’s Noah suggests that Stories and Discover might be the two best ad features to start with.
“We’ve seen substantial user engagement in Stories which is a great place to showcase your storytelling skills. But if you use that feature, you need to think hard how to make your content feel native. There are also opportunities in the Discover section. Partnering with some of the media partners on the platform is a valuable branding experience,” he says.
Homepage image via Snapchat
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