Snapchat, brands’ highway to millennials

Juanmi Díez

2 May 2016

Dear Reader,

Before reading this article, you’ll have to take off this blindfold of “I’ve tried to understand Snapchat but I haven’t so my target surely isn’t going to be able to comprehend it either.” You can look towards the other corner, pretend to have deaf ears and deny the reality that this giant yellow ghost is about to turn itself into a social communication must.

Since its young CEO Evan Spiegel launched the app in September 2011 (at the tender age of 23), the company has increased by a value of 16 billion dollars, which currently makes Snapchat the world’s best financially-valued company according to private funds.

the billion dollar startup club

Nonetheless and although Snapchat might not have reached Facebook or Twitter’s power, it’s in great measure a force to consider within the industry. First because of its users, a.k.a. Snapchatters, are between 13 and 25, compared to Facebook’s average age which is almost 40. Second, while Snapchat “only” had 100 million active users and Facebook reaches 968 million, its growth rate is the highest out of all its competitors.

27th jan 2015 snapchat was the fastest growing social app of 2014

Be mobile, be smart

Before you keep reading, thoughtful reader, I hope you’ve been able to put your prejudices aside. They’ll probably wonder why there’s a sudden fever for the yellow social network. They’ll also wonder why they can’t find their friends nor publish their story on their feed. Don’t worry; others have done it before. Some even, like Gonzalo Martín – Managing Partner at Good Rebels, wanted to learn how it works first hand to let themselves be seduced by its prophecy for the future.

The secret of its success is found, primarily, in the format of its content.

And in reality, Snapchat’s success is its vertical format, the vertical format’s success has been the growth in the smartphone penetration rate (85% in Spain compared to 67% (and falling) for computers. This has been Evan’s social network’s trust ally. He found the philosophical Stone at the heart of his business and focused on what media outlets and brands can create specific content for the app’s millennial audience.

vertical ads for vertical screens

Reaching millennials through storytelling

Now, forget the original idea of the social network you know. Snapchat is and isn’t a social media platform. It’s true that the app lets the user interact with other users in diverse ways: by finding out, private messages (in video, audio, or even video calls), brief posts that disappear 24 hours later and comments about other snapchatters’ posts. But when it comes to the work brands do on Snapchat, its most interesting point is its vertical content.

The sooner we’ll embrace it, the sooner we’ll be able to play in this sandbox.

Snapchat’s possibilities are still inscrutable. We’re familiar with Discover, a fun way of exploring stories from different editorial perspectives, comprised of a total of 17 channels of advertisers (and growing) that share between five and ten pieces of curated content updated every 24 hours. Its system is to Snapchat is what Canvas is to Facebook, the most similar to a digital magazine.

Channels like Cosmopolitan are already getting more than 3 million views a day thanks to Snapchat Discover.

Snapchat typically locks Discover publishers into six-month agreements giving it more leeway to alter terms more frequently. It also rotates underperforming channels out of the mix and introduces new ones.
– Digiday

On one end, Snapchat gives individuals or companies the option of buying Geofilters for events, businesses, or a particular location. An indisputable creative fan for users.

Let’s imagine for a moment that our brand is having a public event around Madrid’s Gran Vía, and we reserve a geo filter for the event in the area. This filter would have our branding and the name of the product we’d be promoting (like a movie, for example). Those users within the area could use it on their stories, and the rest of the community could see those videos under the same feed.

Who’s already doing well on Snapchat?

Let’s take another step beyond the advertising formats that Snapchat can offer us. A well-known brand is creating content on Snapchat without having to go to, for example, Discover: The Coca-Cola Company. Their social media teams don’t make the content Coca-Cola’s creating; instead, they’ve handed control of their Snapchat to those they’ve decided to call Snapchat Influencers.’

With the help of Harris Markowitz, Coca-Cola has been providing weekly exclusive content for their Snapchat Story. Harris and other influencers’ branding of Coca-Cola reflect the company’s set mission: to refresh the world, to inspire moments of optimism and happiness, and to create value and make a difference (The Coca-Cola Company).
Here’s How Snapchat Advertising to Millennials Should Be Done
Julián Gamboa

Watch on @CocaCola‘s @Snapchat as @Cody takes #ChaseHappiness to a new level during the #AAA500!

— Coca-Cola Racing (@CocaColaRacing) November 8th, 2015

Another example is Ariana Grande, who took advantage of a Snapchat filter to exclusively launch her album on the platform. This filter turns the user into an Ariana Grande album cover and plays her single ‘Into You.’

There’s a dangerous woman filter on snapchat to celebrate the release of the album tomorrow — Ariana Grande Update (@ArianatorIsland) May 19th, 2016

Lâncome is another one of the great precursors creating a Snap to Purchase system, the first store with Snapchat purchasing. The ads last 10 seconds and promote the latest lip gloss. They’re ads inserted in between Cosmopolitan Discover articles and offer a direct link to buy the product.

Time to snap!

The banquet is served. And this isn’t even Snapchat’s first big step on its path to mobile advertising; a format that offers a new consumption model for the user, with high-quality ad hoc content in the vertical space and a creative versatility that has a lot of exploring in front of it.

Dear reader, welcome to mobile television.