Why Brands Should Start Taking Snapchat Seriously | OLIVER

It’s still a fairly new channel for brands, but one that has gained extraordinary popularity from younger target audiences. But how are brands successfully using Snapchat? OLIVER Digital Strategist, Mark Fitzgerald, discusses.

Snapchat is best known as an app where teenagers send amusing and occasionally explicit photos to each other.  However, brands such as Taco Bell, Heineken and Club Orange are now successfully using Snapchat to engage their younger target audiences.

These brands have found ways to target the young market currently embracing Snapchat – over half of it’s estimated 100-200 million audience is made up of 13-24 year olds.

Other big brands are embracing Snapchat’s unique platform too. Last year at DMX Dublin 2014, Claire Kleinedler, Social Media Manager at Kellogg’s stated that it was the go-to social network for teenagers. She said that it offered brands an opportunity to engage with tech-savvy teenagers who have a limited attention span – exactly why brands should start taking Snapchat seriously.


TV viewership among millennials is declining due to millennials instead spending a majority of their time consuming media online. According to Professor S. Adam Brasel of Boston College, “Not only do millennials not necessarily trust traditional advertising anymore, they don’t even see traditional advertising anymore.”

Marketers are desperately looking for ways to communicate with a generation that increasingly are not even viewing traditional advertising. Snapchat may offer an answer – 73% of users say that they will open a snap from a brand that they are familiar with.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a photo sharing app where pictures expire in 1-10 seconds. Users are also able to write and draw on their pictures before sending and set the viewing duration. Snapchat is an ephemeral media in the sense that once the content is viewed, it is gone forever. The whole idea is to share current moments and events with friends. Messages seem more personalised for the individual, even from brands.

For brands, the platform follows similar rules. There are two features brands can take advantage of. The first, ‘My Story’ allows brands to create content that stays on the platform for 24 hours. However, once viewed by a fan, this story disappears like all other content. The second, Snapchat Discover is a permanent home on the platform where brands pay to be listed. The Discover section is available to anyone on Snapchat, regardless of whether users are following your brand or not.

How are brands using Snapchat?

Using Snapchat to generate product launch Hype and WOM

In May 2013, Taco Bell decided to re-launch one of their most popular burritos – The Beefy Crunch Burrito. Taco Bell initially posted on their Facebook and Twitter accounts asking fans to follow them on Snapchat for a secret announcement – that they were reintroducing the Beefy Crunch Burrito. Taco Bell utilised the channel and were able to send what looked like a personal message to each of their followers. Some fans were even thrilled to share this ‘secret’ message with their friends and spread the buzz.

Using Snapchat Competitions to Generate Brand Advocates

GrubHub use Snapchat to promote its delivery service by sending followers special updates and deals that are often exclusive to the platform.

In March 2014, GrubHub ran daily scavenger hunt contests (#snaphunt) for a week where they gave fans a challenge and asked them to respond in order to win $50 in food vouchers. Challenges included calls to action such as:

– Send your best “Hangry Face” snap

– Bringing food to life from photos to doodled snaps

This contest grew Grubhub’s Snapchat fanbase organically by over 20%. The contest generated over 1.5 million organic impressions.

Exclusive/Behind The Scenes Footage

MTV UK used the platform to promote the sixth season of Geordie Shore. Fans who had ‘friended’ the show’s Snapchat account started receiving exclusive videos and photographs leading up to the UK reality show’s sixth season premiere.  Fans willingly signed up for what was essentially an advertisement through Snapchat. The unique capabilities of the platform allowed MTV to tease storylines in a unique way and generate hype in the run-up to the re-launch.

3 tips for brands new to Snapchat

As seen above, Snapchat may potentially be an answer to marketer’s challenges with currently reaching millennials on social media. However, there are a few challenges that need to be kept in mind when creating campaigns on the platform.

1. Familiarise yourself with the app

Snapchat doesn’t have the most intuitive user interface. If your brand is new to the platform, browse through some other accounts and follow people and brands to get a better idea of how the platform works before devising a strategy for how to incorporate the app into your brands marketing plan.

2. Use the time limit as an opportunity

How can it be possible for a business to send a strong messages if the message remains for a mere 10 seconds, before being deleted forever? Many sceptics would argue that this is one of Snapchat’s most fundamental flaws. However, this is one of it’s strongest characteristics – it offers marketers the opportunity to tease their followers with exclusive footage. In the examples above, MTV and Taco Bell both used Snapchat to generate hype around a particular event. The fact that the information is only available for a limited period of time can create urgency, heighten the exclusivity and strengthen the connection between the brand and consumer.

3. Finely tune your tone of voice

Snapchat has generally been used as an app for sharing casual communications such as moments on holidays, funny moments, impulsive events, etc. Brands need to recognise the casualness of how the app is used and devise a causal, playful tone of voice that aligns with how users are engaging with each other on the platform.


Want to know more about how OLIVER can help you utilise your social channels more effectively? Get in touch.

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