Using Snapchat As A Digital Marketing Tool

07 September 2016
Published: By: Chloe Mayo



In our role as digital marketers, we are always looking to get involved with the latest digital marketing tools in order to ensure that our work is ahead of the curve. In one of my earlier blog posts, where I look at the rise of visual content in social media, I started to consider how Snapchat has been evolving from its original concept in order to provide users with a bigger and better visual experience, eclipsing its online social counterparts in terms of user engagement and following.

It’s official – Snapchat can no longer be ignored by digital marketers.

Snapchat, initially released in September 2011 by youthful students Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, was created as a photo messenger app that offered one revolutionary feature: any images sent can only be seen for 10 seconds or less. In just five years, the app has harnessed a colossal following, with an estimated 41% of all 18 to 34-year-olds in the States said to use the app each day.

However, the app is no longer just an ephemeral image sharing platform. 150 millions users per day is a huge audience that constantly demands more interesting content and unique features that cannot be found on other social platforms. The introduction of ‘Snapchat Stories’, a feature which allows the user to post a snap on their profile which will remain visible for just 24 hours, is essentially an extension of the original concept of Snapchat. The Drum recently reported that the coverage of Rio 2016 was watched by over 49 million users in the first week alone, with a compilation of ‘best bits’ being uploaded to the ‘Live Snapchat Story’ feature every day, disappearing after 24 hours in true Snapchat fashion. Alongside the story features, colourful filters can be relayed over images to send humorous snaps to friends or followers. These features and many more are designed to be accessible for most ages, providing a simple social platform for users who are tired of the limitations of other social media platforms, such as Twitter.

This seemingly gradual preference of Snapchat to social media giant Twitter is not going unnoticed by the big guys, either. Aaron Wahle, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s senior vice-president of digital marketing, noted that “[o]bviously Snapchat has our core audience on hand every single day…it’s eclipsing Twitter – which we don’t advertise on so much anymore – so it’s a really great way to get in front of the eyeballs we need to get in front of. Just right time, right place.”

With the recent announcement that Snapchat plans to introduce behavioral targeting for advertisers, the photo app has truly cemented its place in the cosmos of digital marketing. The proposed advertising plan is likely to offer data based on who a user follows, with particular attention drawn to industry specific interests. This latest move is just another step towards the comprehensive integration of Snapchat within the digital marketing sphere.

Below, I have gathered what I believe are the three most important reasons as to why businesses should employ snapchat as a digital marketing tool.

Create GeoFilters for Areas
Geofilter technology, originally conceived by Snapchat, offers users the opportunity to reveal their location in a fun and engaging way. The location filters can be added to any snap to share with friends or followers via the Snapchat app, offering a simple, easy, and entertaining user experience. In the last few months, Snapchat has expanded its marketing options and launched ‘sponsored geofilters’, an ideal feature for local companies or businesses with multiple branches to entice customers situated around a specific area. Custom geofilters are now also available at a low cost, offering businesses the chance to design their own filter which can be embedded into the app for location-specific targeting. For example, if a pop-up shop was open for five hours in the centre of Oxford Street, the business could decide to design their own filter which would be available in and around the pop-up shop location on that day only. All that the business would need to do is encourage their customers to use and share the custom geo-filter, hoping to drive footfall into the pop-up store or to promote the brand in general.

A picture of a snapchat dog.

‘Ever wanted to see what you’d look like as a sort-of-dog? Now’s your chance!’

Deliver exclusive, ‘behind-the-scenes’ content
Snapchat is rapidly emerging as the number one platform for exclusive coverage of global events. Designer Misha Nonoo, who used Instagram to present her Spring collection, intends to use Snapchat to officially unveil her fall 2016 collection by collating a ‘Live Lookbook’. Of the venture, she noted that “[using Snapchat] will be a new opportunity not to simply show photos, but also videos and the full capabilities of Snapchat’s functions…customers will be able to view the Snapchat Story live and immediately buy the pieces she loves, all from her mobile device.” Earlier this year, users were able to gain access to the backstage area of New York Fashion Week through Vogue’s Snapchat account, catching glimpses of models and designers putting finishing touches to their catwalk looks. Content which cannot be seen anywhere else is a great way to make your Snapchat followers feel like they are gaining something important when viewing your Snaps. As a business, you could use the platform to release exclusive deals or to promote social campaigns to your Snapchat followers before anyone else, rewarding your followers for being wholly invested in your brand and services.

Connect with audiences
Another way one could choose to use Snapchat as a digital marketing tool is by engaging with your audience and opening up the channels of communication. Within a business, Snapchat can be used to spur followers into replying to your snaps or sharing their stories of their experiences with your business. Reach out to your audiences earnestly through the medium of Snapchat and they will be responsive. Walt Disney World’s Snapchat account often asks its followers to screenshot WDW’s Snapchat Story and use the drawing feature to create something cool and interesting to change the image from the Snapchat Story. Users can then send in their creations and Walt Disney World will post the best submissions onto their own, popular Snapchat story. Users have little to gain from engaging with this feature, and yet they do. It’s enjoyable and provides the chance to be silly and innovative with very little effort. The Walt Disney World Snapchat account is a great example of how to connect with audiences whilst sustaining a consistent brand tone (just take a look at this!), an important feat for any business that wishes to employ Snapchat as a digital marketing tool within their own practices.

Here at Active Internet Marketing (UK), we wholeheartedly encourage our clients to recognise the advantages of using Snapchat. Even if you aren’t convinced, why not grab the business name on Snapchat whilst it’s still available? It’s completely free and ensures that if you should decide to utilise Snapchat within your digital marketing strategy, you will not have to worry about using a business name that is not recognisable to customers.

Snapchat has grown immensely from its conception way back at Stanford University, and its reign over social platforms isn’t disappearing anytime soon.

Active Internet Marketing (UK) can create content and develop social strategies that fully incorporate the needs of your business. To get in contact with our experienced and friendly team, give our office a call at 0800 772 0650.




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