In January, Forbes asked if Snapchat was the next big thing or a “$3 billion disappearing act.” In the months since we covered the basics of how awesome they are, they’ve only gotten bigger. Younger too. 77% of all college students use Snapchat at least once a day; that number is 26% for the overall 18-29 age range.
Those 10-second missives are an incredible opportunity for brands to build an audience that treats them more as a friend than an advertiser. Here’s why. For a brand to deliver their message:
- Users must agree to add a brand to their contact list (Snapchat is 100% opt-in) AND
- They must make the decision to click and hold to view that brand’s content
Those 10 seconds are time which a user has made a conscious decision to consume YOUR content. How powerful is that? Smaller audience, higher value. 73% of college students said they would open a snap from a brand they knew, and 45% from a brand they didn’t know. Imagine getting an open rate like that on email campaigns.
Recent updates gave users the ability to chat privately in real time through text and video, a powerful tool that could woo teens (and adults) to stay longer in the app instead of texting, Facebook messenger or other short-form communication methods. The app was also given a slight facelift, which seems to be aimed at moving from it’s cartoonish initial appearance to something more appropriate for a professional audience.
And who gets to be right there alongside those messages like a trusted friend? Your brand.
Since January, brand usage exploded. New Years saw the first-of-its-kind promotion from UK frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles kick off, with 1,400 engagements. Since then big companies like McDonalds and Taco Bell jumped on board with brand awareness campaigns. Giveaways and discounts are pervasive, with brands like GrubHub and Seventeen Magazine entice users to keep snapping with near-daily content.
Colleges are looking to be the big winners, specifically in athletics and admissions.Tennessee Wesleyan is running a Snapchat based scavenger hunt for new students, and many schools like Michigan, Kansas and the University of Houston have very active accounts looking to draw the attention of current and prospective students.
Perhaps the most inspiring campaign comes from the 41? 29! agency. Haunting images of endangered animals beg users to not let the photo be their #LastSelfie in a campaign for the World Wildlife Fund. Users are asked to re-post and are given a number to text for info or to donate right in the snap; an easy transition for a mobile-only audience.
What’s next for Snapchat? Expect discount codes and offers to continue driving brand adoption, especially for retailers. On a wider level, expect a creative explosion across both brands and users. Much like Pete Heacock and other power users on Vine, Snapchat users like Shonduras (below) will soon have advertisers filling up their inbox to create content for their brands.