How, Why, and When to Use Snapchat for Business

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"But how can I market on Snapchat, unless I'm selling oversized dog ears, or rainbow vomit?" I hear you ask. Well, you don't need to actually perform face swaps to get the youth on the side of your brand. That would be horrific, and probably damage your brand image. 

Jimmy Fallon Selfie GIF

Snapchat has over 249 million users, all around the world. The format was, and remains, so popular that bigger, established platforms like Facebook and Instagram have adopted similar features. Instagram Stories, in fact, now has over 500 Million users. 

Every day, over 180 million people use Snapchat, creating about 4 billion Snaps. That's a lot of dog filters. Plus, users spend more that 30 minutes on the app on average, and the base as a whole watches 18 billion videos every 24 hours.

But most significantly, the user base is younger than on most other social networks. 62% of users are between the ages of 18-29. The younger generation is attracted to video-heavy content, with it being a major part of every platform they drift towards.

In fact, 85% of consumers want to see more videos from their favourite brands. Snapchat users, in particular, watch a ton of branded videos, especially if they're made with the app's filters. So it's time to take advantage of these features. 

Snapchat Icon Legend

Although it may seem unlikely that a site all about putting a flower crown on a teenager might not be ideal for business, in fact it has seen a 20.5% increase in usage. 

This goes against the whole 'Snapchat is dead' narrative (cough, Kylie Jenner, cough). Snap is far from being a company in peril. Turns out that, as of 2021, about 65% of 18-29 year olds still use the platform. 

This might be due to the lack of commitment it takes to enjoy Snapchat. Stories fade after 24 hours, messages are impermanent. But it doesn't make it any less engaging when users find themselves strolling through. Plus, using Snapchat to direct people towards your other social media accounts is always a back up. 

Who Can Benefit from Snapchat Marketing?

A dollar is no less a dollar if it's coming from Gen Z. 

Millennials and Gen Z actually have a direct spending power of $1 trillion, with an increased commanding buying power, and household spend. In addition, they are currently forming their life-long brand preferences. So get in quick. 

If your brand caters to Zoomers, or young millennials, then Snapchat can have a big impact on your business, and how your customers react to your business.

Snapchat also tends to work best for D2C brands, who can use the features to drive traffic to an ecommerce website or app. Since the platform is all about short, engaging content, users can become highly invested and interested in these brands' stories. Plus, because of these engagement rates, users are 60% more likely to make impulse purchases based on products they see on the app.

So, how can you get started?

How to Use Snapchat for Your Business

Like most social media platforms, Snapchat has a range of offerings to choose from. Depending on how much you want to spend, and your goals with advertising, the platform provides different ways of increasing your ROI.

Some campaign goals that Snapchat can help with includes:

  • Increasing brand awareness and video views
  • Improving web views and conversions
  • Encouraging catalog sales
  • Increasing brand engagement
  • Assisting with lead generation
  • Multiplying app installing and engagement

Snapchat user Graph

What formats can you choose from?

Snapchat ads

Snapchat ads come in a bunch of different formats. But the end goal of each is to encourage a user to 'swipe up'. With each format, you'll need to be focusing on interactivity, engagement, and creativity, in order to point customers towards a website, an app, a video, a lens, or the app store. 

These ads are 3-10 seconds in length, and must follow the snapchat advertising restrictions when they're set up. 

Story ads

Story ads provide the opportunity for advertisers to place a branded tile in the 'discover' section, i.e. the third screen in the image below. 

Snapchat redesign

When users click a tile, like "Concert Series in the Park", it opens a collection of ads - between three and 20, in fact. 

Snapchat story ads are a branded content experience, rather than being intensely interactive, like using a lens or geofilter. This is all about creative and narrative, one that will quickly engage users. 

Snapchat Filters

Not to be confused with lenses, filters are another way to enhance your Snapchat content. This is a post-shot addition, rather than being a 'live' AR experience, like the lens. After taking a photo or video, a user can swipe right, to choose a specific overlay filter.

This might be location related i.e. a 'geofilter', that is only available in a certain city like these examples below:

geo filter

Or a business specific filter, which will show up when the customer is in store or, like the example below, staying in the hotel.

Snapchat for Business: The Complete Guide (Update 2021)

For businesses like this, Snapchat has on-demand geofilters available. You can design your own filter for a location of your choosing, for a small charge.

Another example is Vans partnership with Snapchat. Together, the companies released a custom on-demand geofilter, which would become alliable in various locations throughout the U.S. These were spaces that represented Van's history as a brand, and company. The filters featured art which represented the Van's brand.

BRILLIANT marketing from Vans: Off The Wall for 50 Years!! | Zandl Slant by  Irma Zandl | Trends. Business. Media. Culture.

According to the case study, 20% of people who unlocked the filter chose to send it to their friends. Vans saw a 34-point boost in purchase intent, 2.5x greater than standard benchmarks for mobile retail.

Plus, the company saw a 20-point boost in brand favourability, 3x greater than standard benchmarks for mobile retail. 

AR Lenses

There are two types of lenses - the World Lens (e.g. turning Big Ben into a snow globe), and the Face Lens (e.g. the dog face, rainbow vomit, flower crowns etc.). Face Lenses use innovative tech to recognise eyes, mouths, and face shape. A World Lens, on the other hand, detects the location, in order to map the environment around the user.

Snapchat describes it like so: "World Lenses let you reimagine the world around you and bring characters to life! Make the Eiffel Tower puke rainbows or place your dancing Bitmoji on your desk!"

world lens snapchat examples

For large brands, Snapchat sells custom sponsored lenses. For example, Gatorade developed a lens that allowed users to experience a virtual Gatorade dunk like the NFL pros do after a Super Bowl win. I'm not nearly American enough to understand what that means, but what I do know is that the lens was viewed over 165 million times, which is more than the Super Bowl itself. 

Collection Ads

Most recently, Snapchat has added to their offerings with Collection Ads.

These allow advertisers to showcase a series of products, in a fun seamless way. It's basically introducing users to a new way to buy, and shop. These collection ads are a normal, bog-standard Snapchat video ad, with a ribbon of thumbnail-sized products at the bottom.

Collection ads can be created based on a product catalogue, so the products can become dynamic, or can just be created manually with uploaded tile images. 

Snapchat Pioneers the Next Era of Shoppable Ads

What are the benefits of using Snapchat?

1) Driving traffic. Marriot Bonvoy had a 3.4x higher ROI with Snap Ads and 35 percent more bookings than other platforms. GCCFriday achieved an incredible 150 percent sales growth with Snapchat ads.

2) Boosting engagement. One way this can be achieved is through poll ads. On platforms like Instagram, polling stickers in Story Ads increased the number of three-second video views in 9 out of 10 campaigns. These insights can also strengthen future ads, and help you stand out from the competition. 

Snapchat doesn't have a built-in polling system, but polling can be introduced using specific apps, allowing you to mimic Instagram's polling success. The engaging nature of Snapchat as a platform fits well with the introduction of interactive elements, like polls. 

3) Building brand engagement. Lenses from Snapchat's creator community have over 2 trillion views, with 2 million lenses having been created with the platform's Lens Studio. Plenty of big-name brands have used the social media site to promote their business, because it is a proven method. 

As most sales people will tell you, it can take up to eight touches before a prospect will start taking action. So, why wouldn't this work on social media? 

With Snap's bite-sized content, you have the choice to build brand awareness over time through easily consumable snippets. While brand-new followers might not respond straight away to a promotion, over time they may soften up. And with the numbers who open and consume content on the platform, the statistics are favourable. 

User Generated Content is also another advantage of Snapchat. Taco Bell ran the most successful campaign in Snapchat history. The Cinco de Mayo lens turned users’ heads into a massive taco shell, resulting in more than 224 million views in one day.

Measuring Snapchat ROI: Taco Bell's Record-Breaking Snapchat Filter • Belle  Communication

In fact, A study by Stackla reveals 79% of users said UGC impacts their purchasing decisions and find UGC 9.8 times more impactful than influencer content. When someone takes a snap with your filter, and sends it to their friends, well that's UGC. So, you're getting reach way beyond the one user. 

4) Building trust. Snapchat gives users a behind-the-scenes look into your brand. Customers often follow companies on Snapchat because they want to see what your day-to-day looks like, and get a sneak peak into the workings of your company. This might mean giving employees control over the account, to provide that level of authenticity.

Since you don't have to worry about the production value, or the length of the videos, you can focus on the amount of content you're putting out. Make sure you're posting regularly - Snapchat is all about in-the-moment content. 

5) Influencing purchases. Snapchat offers a 'dashboard' to keep track of user behaviour. And one of the best features on the dashboard is purchase intent. Using this, you can see what the likelihood is of your audience purchasing your service or product.

You can also compare the purchase intent across different audiences, and use the information to adjust your Snapchat Ad bids.

6) Offering customers a creative way to consume your content. You probably have a variety of ways you create content for your audience - Blogs, articles, LinkedIn posts, videos, eBooks etc. etc. So, why not elevate your content above this, and your competitors, by using a more creative approach?

With the different features available, you'll be able to make your content stand out. This can help you step out of the marketing you've been doing for a while, and push your creative boundaries. 

7 Creative Ideas for Using Snapchat to Market Your Business | Constant  Contact

7) Increasing recruitment reach. This isn't all about regular marketing, oh no. Snapchat can be introduced into a number of different elements in your business. This might mean extending it into the HR department.

Snapchat can be valuable for traditional B2B business, that want to show a more innovative, youth-oriented approach. In fact, companies like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have successfully used Snapchat to attract the promising talent  across college campuses.