Just when brands feel like they’ve mastered Facebook and Twitter, they’re learning the hard truth about social media channels: if your goal is to reach young consumers, these networks are already essentially obsolete. Today’s in-demand users are focusing on visual platforms like Instagram, video networks like Vine and YouTube, and anonymous or self-destructing sharing apps like YikYak and Snapchat. Snapchat has become a particular mainstay among younger users. Even with the recent introduction of paid ad services, brands are finding that influencer marketing is one of the best ways to crack Snapchat and build a presence. Here’s a closer look at what brands and marketers need to know.
The Snapchat app launched in 2011 with a simple concept: users could send photos or videos that will self-destruct. It was a thoughtful response to the privacy challenges facing today’s social media environment, allowing users to avoid dealing with the possibility that anything they post will survive forever online. This concept quickly caught on; one recent story estimated that Snapchat’s active user base may exceed the commonly reported 100 million by approaching 200 million active accounts.
Demographically, the network is especially effective at reaching younger audiences. A recent comScore survey noted that 71% of users are between 18 and 34. Realistically, there’s also a strong base under the age of 18– but comScore doesn’t focus on those users. The underlying message is clear: developing a brand strategy for Snapchat is essential for brands targeting younger consumers.
Why Not Just Advertise on Snapchat?
Brands that have determined that Snapchat is an important platform for reaching their demographic may be wondering why they don’t just advertise there. While this is a viable question, there are two different things to consider. One is that the level of trust differs for advertising and influencer-created content. Users – especially Millennials and Gen Z – are much more interested in recommendations and content from their peers than generic branded content.
At the same time, there are some serious logistical hurdles to advertising on Snapchat. Unlike Facebook or Twitter where it’s relatively easy to purchase ads or promote a specific post, advertising works differently on Snapchat’s platform. Snapchat offers Discover Channels, where branded publishers like National Geographic, Vice, CNN, and Cosmo publish stories and other packaged content. Brands then pay a staggering figure – some sources estimate that McDonald’s spent $750,000 for a sponsorship ad – for advertising that disappears in 24 hours. That’s right: $750,000 buys you exactly one day of exposure. Not only does this price out most small and medium brands, but it raises important questions about whether the advertising model offers the sustainability and ROI needed to make such a massive investment worthwhile.
Influencer Marketing and Content Marketing
For most brands, that leaves content marketing; setting up a Snapchat account, developing content in the form of updates and stories, and building a following. While this can lead to a growing audience that can be monetized through creative content marketing, it also brings up the same challenges that brands struggle with on other networks. What’s the best way to leverage the platform? How can brands interact with audiences in a way that’s value-added, hip, and going to be well-received? What’s an effective content strategy for brands wrestling with updates that disappear quickly? How do you ensure that the right people see the content that you create?
Influencer marketing has proven to be one of the most effective approaches. Consider clothing retailer Wet Seal, who opened an account and then hired a 16-year-old makeup blogger with a strong presence on the platform to man their account. She had a clear resonance with the brand, and her audience aligned with Wet Seal’s target consumer. Their account garnered 9000 new followers and 6000 views as a result of a two-day campaign where the blogger stitched together a story.
On the network, a story is essentially a series of interlinking updates that tell a tale: in this case, it followed the blogger over a two day period during the holidays while she enjoyed various activities like making cookies or hanging out with her friends, while showcasing Wet Seal clothing. The company (through their ad agency) provided posting guidelines, and then the blogger personalized it to her style and audience. In another campaign, headphone company JBL connected with Snapchat influencers to send out coordinated messages during the NBA All-Star game. Analysts note that the cost for this type of campaign is just a fraction of the advertising rates.
Things to Think About When Planning a Snapchat Campaign
If your brand is thinking about building a presence on Snapchat, it’s important to realize that in most cases, advertising isn’t an option for cost reasons. Building your own brand content is smart, and the foundation of successful ongoing engagement. But it’s important to navigate the platform. Working with influencers can help, by tying in your brand messaging with existing networks of consumers interested in your products, services, or cause. Influencers can also help translate your campaign goals into a content type that works for the platform.
Undertaking an influencer campaign on a platform like Snapchat is best done in partnership with a knowledgeable firm. The platform offers limited data, so the ability to delve deeply into that data and cross-reference with factors like mentions and sentiment on other networks is essential to identifying the right influencers. Managing the logistics of the campaign, from clarifying goals to creating content guidelines, requires intense focus and pre-existing expertise. FullBottle’s team of experienced account managers understand how best to build and develop relationships with influence marketing content creators to generate the best results for your campaign.
Are you interested in learning more about influencer marketing on platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine? Contact FullBottle today to learn more about our solutions and services.