Creative Companies that are Using Snapchat Stories to Build their Brands
Snapchat is undeniably one of the fastest growing and most influential social media applications today. According to Fortune, the company is looking to raise as much as $500 million in its latest funding round—a move that would likely value the company at $19 billion(@FortuneMagazine). Marketers and brands are particularly keen on Snapchat because a significant number of its users (known as “Snapchatters”) are between the ages of 13-25, a demographic group that is both challenging to engage and increasingly disengaging from older social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Snapchat has an estimated 100 million to 200 million users. It is unique among social media apps because it allows users to take photos, record videos, as well as add text and drawings. The resulting digital media—known as “Snaps”—can be sent to a controlled list of recipients.
Users can set a time limit that determines how long recipients can view their Snaps (which currently ranges from 1 to 10 seconds). Once the time limit expires, Snaps will be hidden from the recipients’ device and deleted from Snapchat’s servers.
Snapchat’s explosive growth, unique business model, and large Millennial user base have made it particularly attractive to other tech giants—namely Google and Facebook. So far, Snapchat has chosen to maintain its independence and has avoided tempting buy outs from both Google and Facebook. (Google reportedly offered $4 billion and Facebook $3 billion.)
Far from stagnating, Snapchat is keen on monetizing its platform and transforming itself into a major content and media distributor. In October 2014, advertising was rolled out for the first time, though Snapchat is clearly distancing itself from its social media rivals by avoiding native advertising. Aside from pioneering non-targeted and disappearing ads, Snapchat has also launched other new features: Snapchat Stories and Discover.
More about Snapchat Stories
Snapchat Stories are composed of Snaps that Snapchatters post to their own Stories section or feed. These Stories are visible to the Snapchatter and his/her friends. Snapchat Stories remain accessible for 24 hours, and can be viewed repeatedly within that period. Once 24 hours have elapsed, the Story is automatically deleted.
While Snapchat Stories were originally envisioned as a feature for Snapchatters who wanted to document and share transient snippets of their daily activities, creative brands have begun to harness this feature to weave together collections of photos and videos that engage audiences.
Marketers are Experimenting with Snapchat
As revealed by the findings in Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s 2015 State of Marketing report, “social media marketing has graduated from understudy to headliner, and the numbers prove it” (@marketingcloud). According to the report, 64% of marketers consider social media to be a critical enabler of products and services in 2015.
While Facebook leads as the social media networking channel most used by marketers, Snapchat is slowly gaining traction, and ranks relatively high in terms of perceived effectiveness. According to Salesforce’s report, 13% of marketers use Snapchat. Moreover, 73% of marketers who use Snapchat regard the social channel as being very effective/effective.
Numerous creative brands that are interested in cutting-edge social media marketing have turned to Snapchat to build their brands and grow their audiences. Econsultancy recently published a report—entitled “Eight Brands Experimenting with Snapchat for Social Marketing”—which examined this topic in greater detail (@Econsultancy). Some of the brands that have run noteworthy campaigns on Snapchat Stories include American Eagle, McDonald’s, Sour Patch Kids, Heineken, and Audi.
Creative Brands that are Using Snapchat for Social Media Marketing
Brand: Sour Patch Kids
Sour Patch Kids (@SourPatchKids), the soft candies that have the tagline “First they’re sour, then they’re sweet,” teamed up with Vine star Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) for a five-day Snapchat campaign last year. Logan Paul took over the brand’s Snapchat account and documented various light-hearted pranks, which were posted to the brand’s Snapchat Stories. According to an article that appeared on Adweek, “the theme of the Snapchat messages [changed] during the course of the week from ‘sweet’ pranks to ‘sour’ Snaps.” [See Figure 1]
Aside from being an ingenious and unconventional means of promoting the Sour Patch Kids brand on Snapchat, the campaign was also embraced by the brand’s Millennial target market.
Beer manufacturer Heineken (@Heineken) used Snapchat at the Coachella Festival (@coachella) in 2014 to give its followers clues about surprise gigs that were scheduled for the festival. Fans connected to the brand’s username, and were then sent a prompt to reply back with their birth date to confirm that they were at least 21 years old. Once this was done, Snapchatters received Snaps to help them figure out which two artists were planning a joint performance on a given day at the festival.
Image clues included tightly cropped pictures of the artists’ clothing and musical instruments. Snapchatters who guessed the artists correctly were given an exclusive sneak peek into the performance. The campaign was a success and created a great deal of buzz for Heineken.
For Super Bowl 2014 (@SuperBowl), Audi partnered with the digital agency Huge and The Onion to become one of the first major brands to run a highly successful Snapchat marketing campaign. Audi (@Audi) also garnered one of the fastest-growing followings ever on the social media app.
Faced with the challenge of helping Audi stand out from other advertisers amidst the content clutter during the game, Huge (@hugeinc) decided to use Snapchat to connect with and engage the Millennial demographic. Snaps were developed by pairing stock photos with clever satirical captions that poked fun at the game and typical Sunday activities.
“Our mission was to generate public online conversation through raw, privately-distributed, humorous content to stay above the fray of overly-produced marketing messages flooding users’ Twitter feeds,” stated Huge.
According to Advertising Age, Audi drove the most mentions of any automaker during the 2014 Super Bowl. The buzz created by Audi’s Super Bowl Snapchat campaign spilled over into other social media channels, and the brand’s Twitter following grew by 2,500 and Facebook by 9,000.
Are you planning to use Snapchat Stories and Snapchat’s advertising platform to engage audiences and build your brand? Share your opinions in the Comments below.
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