The use of the instant messaging service, Snapchat, is growing rapidly among adolescents. Snapchat has surprisingly become a very interesting social network, not only for users but also for the brands that have started exploring its many features for increased engagement and new creative directions. It has built a new kind of mobile-focused marketing that combines focused engagement, playful creativity, uniqueness and fun filters. Snapchat has achieved remarkable growth measure, counting more than 100 million daily active users. However, the exact nature of the use of Snapchat is difficult to assess, because the content received and sent is self-destructive in nature. Snapchat is transforming into a very attractive platform for brands, while the engagement of its users keeps growing. How did it become the new trending social platform?
Amidst the ongoing debate on whether or not privacy is the biggest right – Snapchat stepped ahead of the debate to launch its platform of self-destructive images and gave users the freedom to be fun, to be themselves and share it with their group of friends. Snapchat not only created a new way to communicate with friends which is fun and interactive, but also created a sense of privacy by the disappearing nature of the content. We know that security is not foolproof, but it is much better than its predecessors. Unlike typical public social networks like Facebook that leave one with little control over who can see whatever one has uploaded online and private communication messengers like WhatsApp that provide full control of communication, either to an individual or a select group of individuals (group chat), Snapchat’s attractiveness is that it combines the two.
Privacy is the most important right – not everyone wants to broadcast their escapades on Facebook. Snapchat is liberating in its basic essence; the photography and writing app allows you to be creative and self-destructive images give you the freedom to share with a closed group. While privacy is the obvious benefit of Snapchat, it also has certain advantages which are subtle but equally important: the disappearance of pictures means less digital clutter, eliminating the cognitive overload of dealing with them, and saving memory on phones.
Strong User Engagement
Snapchat decided to take the ephemerality of the posts to the next level by setting an end date to them. Reminding us that if we want to enjoy our friends scourge, we need to visit the platform every day. Snapchat users on average spend 25-30 minutes daily on the platform and the impressive level of involvement led to the idea of mixing the ephemerality and the right psychological triggers in order to keep the users engaged. The fact that the posts disappear after 24 hours makes the users visit the platform several times a day to beat the horrible F.O.M.O. (fear of missing out!) A sense of urgency is thus created amongst the users that is very effective as a way to boost the engagement. To turn the product into a habit that will result in an inclination for users to keep using it and to expand audience, every new platform should pursue the most appropriate way to spur engagement.
For continued user engagement and expansion of user base, Snapchat recently released public social networking window which has three functions. The first one is the Discover feature which is a modernized way to delve into Stories from diverse editorial teams. It’s the result of collusion with top-notch leaders in media to frame a storytelling format that puts the narrative first. This put companies in direct contact with the users, making a connection like never before and grabbing the attention of youth. The second is the Live feature that teleports you into stories from different parts of the world, live events, or even just a place, such as The Super Bowl. Live Stories, the company’s most exceptional and unconventional feature, has turned Snapchat into a simulcast arena like YouTube. Live Stories are a kind of real-time documentary made up by the app’s 100 million daily users. The third feature is the Newsfeed that provides a personal connect to the users by revealing the stories made by other Snapchat users, using only the features available on Snapchat.
Brands also use Discover means to enhance the product, creating content exclusively for this purpose. Live option complements it perfectly, allowing brands to post a video of key events amidst which they can sell advertising. Global donut chain Dunkin’ Donuts launched an advertising campaign in which they decided to give a free cup of coffee to Snapchat users that unlocked their Dunkin Donut filters that were made available when users were nearby a store. Snapchat forms a connection with the users that can only be established through personal involvement of the user in the app by making the user the publisher of content first, and not just the recipient. Now that users become creators, they want to contribute with their content into the right framework and Snapchat’s micro-stories consequently helped in a significant increase of content in the past year.
Marketing Lessons from Snapchat
⦁ Start with a narrow audience:
A small group of interested people can be very useful in the initial stage of a platform to know the responses and users’ habits. There is no need to chase bigger audience if you are not sure if your platform really can make a difference.
⦁ Spot a trend( the ephemerality of social media):
Social media has been popular for direct communication and immediate reaction from users. The increasing content of our feed highlighted the ephemeral nature of our posts were still available. Snapchat decided to take the ephemeral nature of the messages to the next level by setting an expiration date for them, thereby reminding us that if we want to enjoy posts of our friends, we have to visit the platform several times a day.
⦁ Seize the mobile power:
When a product is launched in a mobile – focused world, the chances of success also increase as the world now is becoming mobile-focused. Snapchat invigorated us to curate real time content as a part of global stories altering the notion of real time coverage. From Snapchat’s idea of using mobile power, turning users into publishers, creating a new type of live coverage, we can learn that there is always the need to come up with innovative thoughts to build an alluring product by analysing and scrutinizing the current trends.
⦁ Think locally, act globally:
In the current marketing scenario, think local & act global is the key to a successful branding strategy. Global success comes through focusing on local content and this also occurred to snapchat and its decision to highlight all the local stories that matter to users. Hence, it is vital to uphold local focus when trying to involve with users as it will keep them engrossed in the platform until they decide to publish their own public content.
⦁ Create effective advertising:
Snapchat is boosting marketers and media companies to shoot ads vertically. Snapchat definitely set the tone for vertical videos which turned out to be a secret weapon for further growth, as it created a new trend in content. Since measurement of a campaign matters to all brands, snapchat promises to expand its capabilities by collaborating with industry leading measurement partners to help advertisers understand the impact their ads are having on the audiences. Therefore, the idea of effective advertising makes a platform appealing to the users as well as brands.
Indeed, Snapchat has raised to the top of the photo-sharing hill with over 100 million daily active Snapchatters and growing. It provides great learning to the marketers through its marketing strategy which employs innovative ideas and creativity.
By: Rashi Rastogi