Social media has become a pioneer in marketing and communication. Facebook and LinkedIn aren’t just another platform to which advertisers can expand. Rather, these platforms are completely changing the way in which all marketing, specifically digital marketing, operates.
One app in particular has spurred unique transformations in the world of marketing: Snapchat. Marketing was traditionally a one-way presentation of calculated, branded information. Snapchat has renovated digital marketing to a more genuine, organic, and interactive conversation between brand and user.
The Snapchat Sphere
According to Snapchat reports, there are nearly 173 million active users on Snapchat daily. These users spend an average of 30 minutes per day on the app and open the application 18 times per day; to a marketer, that’s 18 potential impressions on their target audience.
Furthermore, Snapchat reaches 11% of the U.S.’s entire digital population. Most of this percentage comes from the Millennial audience, where 60% of 13-34 year olds with smartphones use Snapchat. Considering size and scope, Snapchat is certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Although Snapchat primarily caters to a younger demographic, it’s scope of usage has begun to impact the future of the entire digital marketing world. And it’s time to start paying attention.
Understanding Snapchat Marketing
There are two types of Snapchat brand marketing: paid Snapchat advertising and personal brand channels.
Snapchat paid ads are similar to advertising on other platforms, but in a slightly less engineered way. These ads still use edited video content to relate to the audience through a brand story. However, the video segments are shorter clips that focus on lifestyle marketing rather than on products or services.
The “brand channel” is the stimulus of many of the new digital marketing industry-changes. Brands have their own Snapchat username in the same way that the average user, influencer, or celebrity does. Everyone is on the same playing field. This creates a distinctive sort of dialogue where marketers aren’t talking down from a billboard above the highway; they’re talking with their consumers through direct video and chat interaction.
As a brand, you share videos… and people can share them back. The interaction between you and your followers isn’t public and your stories can’t go viral, meaning it’s no longer about the social proof. Instead, this form of advertising is simply about promoting engaging content that will spur a direct connection between brand and user. It creates a more personalized impression on your potential audience.
What Snapchat Means For Digital Marketing
Snapchat focuses on the “Story,” where users create a series of snaps that all their followers can see on the “Story” feature. This puts brand-followers right in the action of the story alongside the company. Whether you’re launching a new line, attending a big event, or explaining the use of a product, you can build a narrative directly on Snapchat’s Story feature.
This storytelling aspect has always been in the marketing world. “Create a narrative” is an age-old advertising philosophy. However, Snapchat is not just about telling a story—it’s about living the story and encouraging your followers to live it with you.
Personalized geotags and filters on Snapchat give a direct opportunity for your users to be a part of the story—and the marketing. For example, when Stephen King’s It movie came out, there were It clown filters that people would send to their friends and post on their own Story. This integrates current events (in the world or in your business) with the consumer experience of your brand.
Likely, this will create a need for faster marketing, keeping up to date with live events and news. In addition, it will utilize word of mouth marketing to encourage sharing in order to build a following beyond the brand’s own immediate scope.
With today’s digital marketing, people can easily avoid advertisements they don’t want to see. They can skip YouTube ads, fast forward through commercials, and “tap” through Snapchat ads. If they don’t like the advertising, they’ll remove the app or social media altogether and focus on a less intrusive platform. This further enhances the need for brands to create a conversation and dialogue, rather than preaching their products.
Snapchat does so in their “Discover” section, where select brands post a Story that all Snapchat users can see. The users have the option to watch these videos or not based on the information and brands that they want to see.
One of the most crucial changes coming from the Snapchat sphere comes in the form of “unedited” video content. Brands use Snapchat to give a “behind-the-scenes” look into their brand and lifestyle. This gives footage in the moment with only partial editing, with most of this editing using filters and emojis to add fun and narrative.
This tells a story and communicates with the customer in a more genuine and authentic way—at least in the eyes of the consumer. Because of this, audiences are beginning to crave this same transparency from brands on all platforms. This will change the way that companies promote their brand values and philosophies to the consumer through their marketing.
Even the assessment of ROI digital marketing is changing. On Snapchat, there isn’t any real “engagement” or impressions beyond the number of views of your Story or the number of times your geotag was used. This can be very disconcerting for marketing departments who live and die by KPIs. Now, social metrics will need to be quantified not based on impressions or even on sales—but on engagement.
The Enduring Snapchat: Will It Last?
Snapchat has been losing followers recently. Instagram Stories and Facebook Live are pulling a lot of engagement from Snapchat. Although Snapchat may or may not be a long-term marketing solution, it has already changed the game for other digital marketing platforms. Stories and streaming are now the wave of the video future.
It’s time that digital companies stop thinking about Snapchat as a marketing platform but instead as a marketing revolution. It has changed—and will continue to change—the strategy of social advertising for the long haul.
The Bottom Line
The Snapchat movement has spurred new revolutions of thought in the digital marketing world. Content will need to be more authentic and transparent, showing off brand personality in a lifestyle-centric manner. It will need to focus on an interactive story that relates to current goings on. And it will need to spur consumer-led engagement in a relatable, cooperative way that connects brand with consumer.
True Film Productions is proud to be at the forefront of understanding and adapting to the ever-changing video and digital market as spurred by Snapchat and other social platforms.
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