Snapchat – the Newest Social Tool for Brands

Most of the time, when brands think of Snapchat, they think of three things –

  • Millennials
  • Sexting
  • And dangerous.

But what they should be thinking is

Millennials! Millennials! Millennials!

Snapchat is the 3rd most popular social app among Millennials, according to a recent report by comScore. For 19-24 year olds, they have around 50% penetration, and combined with the older half of 25-34 year olds, the penetration for the full Millennial demographic remains very strong at 32.9%.

And a lot has changed with Snapchat since it first burst on the scene offering its young followers the opportunity to send pictures that disappear after a short period of time. But as the app has grown, it has learned how people want to use them. They have added a chat feature along with video chatting, and users’ content no longer has to disappear, it can be saved if desired.

With these changes, many brands have taken notice and started testing the waters with their own brand accounts.

Dove integrated their annual “Self-Esteem Weekend” campaign with Snapchat by inviting consumers to share their insecurities via Snaps, and making room for positive thoughts when the Snaps disappear. Dove also had “self-esteem ambassadors” responding to the Snaps and providing real-time advice.

Brands like the National Basketball Association and Acura utilize Snapchat by giving fans exclusive content. For the NBA, they provided behind-the scenes clips at the 2014 NBA draft and at The Finals. And Acura sent its first 100 followers teaser footage of its NSX prototype in action.

Many other brands have been establishing themselves on the platform as well (McDonalds, Taco Bell, General Electric, Heineken, etc.), and most tend to follow a few key guidelines:

  • Create unique engagements to strengthen the bond with your fans
  • Provide exclusive offers or sneak-peaks
  • Make it timely – content should be fresh and in real-time
  • Keep it simple – your approach should not be complicated and it should make sense for your brand

To make it even more attractive for brands, Snapchat just introduced ads to its platform. This functionality will mirror their existing Snapchat Stories feature, which appears in your Recent Updates section. Users can choose to click on it, and it vanishes after you view it or within 24 hours.

The one downfall facing the platform is its limited targeting capability. But as with every good social platform, expect them to keep evolving to meet the needs of both users and advertisers.

With contributions from Rae Ann Fisch 


Brad is an expert in private label and challenger brand food marketing for Barkley, an integrated marketing and advertising agency. He specializes in working with manufacturing-driven food companies that have aspirations to develop a consumer insight-led strategies to help drive innovation and growth.

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