Like many tech start up’s, Snapchat joined the ever-expanding queue back in 2011, hoping to be the next Facebook and Twitter. In the expeditiously evolving world of social media, it seems that Snapchat is here to stay and is attracting advertisers, all of which are desperate to reach the lucrative and sought after audience – the youth market. Whilst the youth of today are straying away from TV and Facebook, Snapchat seems to be a shining light for advertisers trying to keep top of mind for that crucial, younger audience.
Like me, my initial thoughts of Snapchat was that the content was very fleeting – users basically share videos or pictures which then disappear shortly after. What is the point in that? Why build a platform around disappearing content? It really just seemed like a tool for the younger generation to hide things than an advertising platform? When looking at the Snapchat user data however, there is obviously a much bigger story here. Snapchat is home to more than 100 million daily active users, there are over 8 billion video views every day and over 60% of people user Snapchat daily to create content. What is most significant however is that Snapchat is almost exclusively populated by young users, only 14% being over the age of 35.
Perhaps the exploding growth of Snapchat can be attributed to a return back to the fleeting nature of face to face interaction, putting authenticity back in our interaction? Snapchat puts social media back into those personal organic moments. Perhaps the constraint of only having 10 seconds to communicate a message, allows brands to aim for smaller and more authentic interactions? For the Snapchatter, this constraint could create a sense of urgency? If a brand shows something ‘cool’ on its Stories and you want to share with friends, you only have a day to do that before it disappears forever. Arguably, some of the digital communication on other social media channel can create a sense of detachment. On Snapchat, moments are shared just as quickly as they disappear which surely is the closest digital messaging interaction to a face to face conversation? Snapchat plays on this and enables brands to foster those ‘in the moment’, one-to-one connections, allowing consumers to connect with brands.
Whilst it is not a fully developed ad platform yet, due to the nature of content distribution on Snapchat, brands can essentially cut to the chase without building up a following beforehand (something which is an inherent part of social media strategy of Facebook and Twitter). It would appear that some brands are nervous to spend money creatively on the platform but according to Snapchat, the ad format is bigger, vertical, the videos being more much engaging than the horizontal ones. Their offering is 3V ads; advertising appears inside premium and curated contexts, the idea being that it is not just about views but to deliver high quality ads made easy for smartphone viewing. Snapchat’s targeting has also been created in a way that completely respects the user’s privacy. Ads can be targeted by Live Story program, Discover Channel, Location and Gender.
Whilst the future of Snapchat’s advertising offering is uncertain, it is very likely that it will evolve as all of the other social media channels continue to do. What is clear however is that Snapchat has captivated and cultivated a prime, niche audience and whilst advertisers maybe cautious to test this platform, they would be silly to ignore it.