This guide is designed as Snapchat marketing 101. It will walk you through the most important steps to creating a presence on Snapchat and taking full advantage of the marketing opportunities it offers.
Not interested in the whole thing, but want to find inspiration on how to market on Snapchat? No problem, head over to our “Snapchat best practices” section. Interested to learn exactly how setting up a campaign works? Be our guest!
Use the table of contents on the left to jump to any section.
- Why is this quirky social media platform so important;
- The benefits of including Snapchat in your SMM strategy;
- Snapchat terminology 101;
- How to approach your Snapchat branding and social media presence;
- How to set up and use a Snapchat business account;
- How to successfully run Snapchat marketing campaigns and ad sets;
- Tips on creating content for your ads and organic posts;
- Snapchat branding best practices;
- Tracking your results;
- And quite a few other juicy tidbits!
If you’re not a Snapchat user, it’s hard to get what the platform is actually about. The thing opens to the camera, for crying out loud.
It doesn’t help you understand how to use it - and that’s on purpose - it was meant for generations more technologically savvy than yours. That’s why it first became the go-to app for California teenagers, before older users started warming up to it.
Precisely because Snapchat is so different from all other major popular social media networks marketers are by definition using, it can be a little intimidating.
How do you use it for marketing?
How do you create your brand image on Snapchat?
How do you connect with an audience?
What content do you choose to market there?
So how important can a simple social media messaging mobile app can be?
Well, the short answer is - it gave birth to a whole new social media sub-industry - ephemeral.
Snapchat was created in 2011, by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown. As it usually goes in Silicon Valley, the company gained publicity with a feud between its founders reminiscent of The Social Network, and a famous takeover rebuff by the company’s CEO, Evan Spiegel, when he declined Zuckerberg’s offer of 3 billion for the acquisition of his company back in 2013.
Why was Zuckerberg after the temporary content oriented mobile messaging app? Because its audience was young, and Facebook was aging.
Snapchat quickly rose to fame because it had a unique quality when it first appeared - it let you share content that disappears without a trace after a user views it once.
As Facebook was already doing marvelously as the social network that has it all, a one stop shop aiming to replicate social life in the digital world, Snapchat positioned itself as a network that lets you share only with people you actually care about (your phone contacts), and not have to worry about it haunting you on the internet for the rest of your life.
The appeal was clear - in a digital era where everything you do on the internet follows you to the grave, not to mention to future professional circles and job positions, an era where revenge porn abounds and everything leaves a digital trace, there was finally a social network that allowed you to take a step back and enjoy sharing experiences safely - much as you would have over a telephone line in the past.
The first ones to get hooked were naturally teenagers. There was finally a network with no parental advisory (their moms at the time didn’t know the network existed) where they could share classroom goofs and exam notes, with all proof of it disappearing at a moment’s notice. They remain a prime Snapchat demographic to present day.
According to Spiegel: “Snapchat changed that perception of deleting something as bad. Online typically you delete something if it’s bad or if it’s really embarrassing.” And he’s right. Fast forward to 2018, and temporary content is here to stay.
We’ll explore exactly how much have his ideas about social sharing changed the social media landscape and consequently, social media marketing, and then, in what ways can your business benefit from it.
Okay, all that is great, but what’s the deal? Why would you want to go to Snapchat when Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and many other bigger social media networks are available? Even if the list actually stopped after Facebook and Instagram, isn’t the biggest audience already there?
Well, there are a number of reasons you might want to give Snapchat a try.
The golden rule of marketing is that the first marketers that take a leap to a new platform are actually the ones that see the biggest ROI (return of investment). Why so?
- You don’t have to compete against everyone else;
- The users aren’t as ad resistant as they are likely to be when the platform gets swarmed by marketers;
- You can actually devise a creative new way to market your content, because the platform is popular for a reason.
So what are you waiting for? Beat your competition to it! Marketers who are among the first to jump on it now will see significantly better engagement than those that join months (or years) later.
Snapchat boasts 330 million monthly active users, 178 million of which are active daily. Although it doesn’t come close to the biggest social media giant - Facebook, or its biggest rival - Instagram, size isn’t always the most relevant criteria when deciding whether a network is worth your marketing efforts.
According to research comparing Snapchat and Instagram engagement conducted by Wicked Society, engagement rate is 4 times higher than on Instagram. But that’s not all: when you’re running a campaign, the number of followers on Snapchat does not impact reach. In fact, you could have “only” 100 000 followers on Snapchat and still reach the same audience you would reach with 2 million followers on Instagram.
A massive percentage of Snapchat’s users in the US cannot be reached on other networks. 35% of users can’t be reached on Facebook, 46% aren’t on Instagram, and a staggering number of 81% can’t be reached on Twitter, yet you still see people discussing advertising on Twitter much more than they do advertising on Snapchat.
Smartphones are racing to become the primary gadget people use to get on social media. The smartphone will seemingly be the screen of choice in 2018, and as it claims a bigger chunk of time in our daily lives, it’s quickly becoming the best way to reach potential customers.
Mobile messaging apps like Snapchat will become even more prevalent than they are now, so why wait before you start investing your marketing efforts there?
Using temporary content can seem counterintuitive at first: all that marketing effort, only for your content to disappear after being watched once? Relax, there are reasons why that might be a good thing:
- It creates an air of exclusivity;
- You have guaranteed engagement - users need to swipe in order to view it;
- The attention spans of online users are consistently dropping;
- Stories have been a big social media marketing trend in 2017, and they will continue to be relevant for SMM in the future;
- If you’re a business catering to younger audiences the good news is that millennials and especially Generation Z interact with this type of content even more than evergreen content.
When Spiegel spurned Zuckerberg he effectively started one of the biggest rivalries in social media today. Since, Facebook has been focusing on turning Instagram — the photo-sharing network it acquired in 2012 for a mere $1 billion — into a key growth driver and an effective Snapchat killer.
Snapchat’s unique Story viewers have decreased by 40% since the success of the Instagram Stories took the SM world by storm, and a large number of Influencers flocked Snapchat.
However, although Instagram certainly has a larger user base, and now provides similar features, there are still plenty of differences between the two platforms:
- 63% of young users aged 12-25 still prefer Snapchat over Instagram stories;
- there’s a difference in aesthetics: content uploaded on Snapchat stories is usually more creative and spontaneous, while on Instagram, it’s usually more polished and editorial;
- people post high resolution content on Instagram, and raw and unfiltered content on Snapchat;
- content on Snapchat Stories can sometimes give a more exclusive feel.
Before you decide to advertise on Snapchat, you need to find out whether your audience is there. And here are the hard facts:
- 71% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old;
- 30% of US millennials use Snapchat on a regular basis;
- 70% are women, and 30% are men;
- 40% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 18 and 24.
Note: Snapchat currently has a younger audience, though that might be subject to change. The fact that half of all new users currently signing up for Snapchat are over the age of 25 is an indication that as Snapchat grows as a platform, its user demographic will probably change.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario when it comes to marketing on social media - the success of your campaigns will always depend on whether that network is one that your target audience engages with regularly. General guidelines are just that - general guidelines.
In order for the them to work, you first need to make sure that your brand can actually benefit from advertising on Snapchat.
And let’s face it: Snapchat isn’t for every brand out there. So before you start marketing there you need to consider:
- Will your brand benefit from exposure to younger audiences? Think Millennials and generation Z.
- If your target demographic is middle-aged or older, then not only will the type of content on Snapchat not appeal to them, younger generations will have zero interest in it
- Are you ready to take on a more spontaneous, playful approach to marketing?
- Are your competitors there?
And now we reach a stage when we’ve already discussed the benefits of marketing on Snapchat, and gave you the tools to find out whether there might be something in it for your brand.
In other words, we’ve covered the why.
Now we’ll be delving deeper into exactly how to use it for marketing. But first, let’s get the terminology out of the way.
Snap: So here’s Snapchat’s primary and most iconic feature that revolutionized social media sharing. A snap can either be a picture or a video you send to one or more of your friends within-app.
Video snaps have a maximum duration of 10 seconds.
But how is it different than everything else out there? Snaps get deleted the second all recipients have finished viewing them. Unless you add them to a story that is. Unopened Snaps get deleted after 30 days.
Stories: A Snapchat Story is a 24 hour Snap that showcases photos and videos you’d like to share with all your Snapchat friends. The feature was so popular that Facebook copied it to Instagram and then to its native platform after the now infamous Zuckerberg - Spiegel acquisition fail.
Custom stories: Custom stories refers to two types of stories: group stories, which are essentially just regular stories that a group of users can create together, and contribute snaps to, and geofenced stories - this type of story allows your friends (or your friends’ friends) to all contribute their Snaps to the story, if they are in a specific place. Fun, right?
Filter: Filters are what made Snapchat notoriously popular, and paved the way for a shift towards augmented reality in social media. A Snapchat filter is essentially an overlay or a special effect you can add to your image or video snap.
There are different filters available for special events like specific locations, holidays, or a particular time of day, which is again, done in the true spirit of Snapchat.
Snapstreak: Another Snapchat exclusive feature that Facebook later copied - if you and a friend snap each other for 3 consecutive days (at least one Snap per day), you are on a Snapstreak!
There’s a little flame emoji attached to your conversation with a little counter for how many days your snap has lasted. Unlike on Facebook, Snapstreak only works with actual snaps, not just chat.
Geofilter: Geofilters are filters unique to your location. In order to use these, you first have to have your Snapchat location turned on. We’ll go into detail how geofilters, especially on-demand geofilters, can help with your branding on Snapchat.
Snapchat lense: Another awesome augmented reality feature is the lense, an animated special effect you can add to your photos or videos. Unlike filters, lenses work only while you are making your snap, you can’t add them later.
There are custom geofilters that brands can make for a few bucks and approach building brand awareness in a fun, creative way.
Face lenses: Face lenses are AR mask overlays for your face that let you add things like bunny ears or flower crowns. They are only available through your phone’s front camera (in selfie mode).
World lenses: World lenses can be used through your mobile’s main camera in order to add animated special effects to your frame, while taking a snapshot or recording. With the world lenses, you can add augmented reality features to any scene in the form of 3D objects. Find out what you can do with them in this Snapchat video.
Discover: Discover is a page that displays stories from publishers and creators to which you have subscribed, or that the Snapchat algorithm has decided you might be interested in. You can find the Discover tab by swiping left from the camera Snapchat initially opens to.
Chat: Snapchat’s instant messenger where… you guessed it! Messages disappear after they have been read.
Bitmoji: A Bitmoji is a cartoon character icon that represents you. Since Snapchat bought the Bitmoji app, Bitmojis have started popping up all over the place. Snapchat has included them in Snapcodes, formerly featuring Snapcode selfies (real photos).
Snap Map: The Snap Map shows your location along with the locations of all of your friends, and is an incredibly easy way to learn what’s happening. You can access with a simple pinch on the screen, and if you don’t want to share your location, you can set Ghost mode.
We recommend having location on for business though, as it can be a handy way to maintain a presence in people’s Snap Maps.
Context cards: Context cards are handy tidbits of information that you can access by swiping on a Snap or Story that says “more”, and discover news, reviews and other helpful info depending on the particular Snap. They use information from Snapchat partners such as Tripadvisor and Foursquare, so they can let you know about a particular place, how to get there, how to order, or even help you make a reservation.
Snapcodes: Snapcodes are QR codes that when scanned, open a company’s website or a user profile within Snapchat. Snapchat initially introduced QR codes for users’ profiles. It made it really easy for Snapchatters to add each other without having to type in usernames. One person just has to pull out their Snapcode from the Setting menu, and another needs to scan it with their camera to follow them in an instant.
What was a real game changer for social media marketing was that Snapchat later introduced it for businesses, allowed people to customize their Snapcode with a selfie gif, and download a vector version that allowed users to print it on posters, clothes, wherever they liked!
Now, it’s a powerful way for businesses to breach the divide between the physical and real world, and can do wonders for brand awareness.
We won’t go into the details of creating a Snapchat account, as that’s as hard as downloading the app and following the steps. Here’s a tutorial on creating a Snapchat account if you have any trouble, including a form that allows you to set up your account on a desktop.
If you’re planning on establishing a brand presence on Snapchat however, one thing you need to make sure of is to set your profile to public, as the default mode for profiles is always private.
Once you’ve created a Snapchat basic account, you can start using Snapchat for your business by sharing regular snaps the way other users do, but you need to activate a business account in order to be able to run ads and track your campaigns.
You can either convert an existing Snapchat profile into business, or create a business page straight away.
Before we get more hands on with best branding and advertising practices and show you how to run a successful campaign, let’s first see what’s what on Snapchat. The platform has three main types of ad formats, two of them we already touched upon: Sponsored Filters and Sponsored Lenses. We’ll go back to them in a bit, but let’s just get the third, and most straightforward ad format out of the way: Snap ads
Snap Ads are full-screen vertical video ads that can last up to 10 seconds. Your target Snapchatters need to swipe up when a video is playing so they can learn more, — watch a longer video, install an app, get more info or click through your website. That means it’s crucial that your initial ad content is swipe-able. (If you’re using the Top Snap Only ad type, users won’t be able to swipe, but then your content should be interesting for its own sake, right?)
Snap ads are the classic type of ad which you can use to set up a campaign the same way you would on Instagram or Facebook.
In the spring of 2017, Snapchat finally made marketing on the platform available to mere mortals - it introduced its ads manager. Now you can “create, optimize, and manage campaigns in a snap!” And we’ll show you how to do it with success.
If you already know how to set up a campaign or you’re more interested in an organic marketing strategy, feel free to skip right through and go straight to “Tips on creating awesome Snap content” or “Best Snapchat branding practices”.
If you have some experience with Facebook ads manager, Snapchat’s ad managing version works in much the same way. But even if you’re an ads manager virgin, Snapchat will prompt you to start your first campaign as soon as you sign in your new ads manager for the first time.
Alternatively, you can also use “+ New Campaign”.
Hint: When creating a new campaign, do it from start to finish, as Snapchat doesn’t seem to save progress - if you don’t, you’ll have to do it all over again.
There are several easy steps to follow when you start a new campaign, and you’ll see how fast they become intuitive! The first thing you need to do is create your very first campaign, and then ad different ad sets to it.
Choosing your objective is the first thing you do, and you can have your pick between:
- Drive traffic to your website;
- Drive app installs;
- Grow brand awareness;
- Drive video views.
This will drive the actions you want your Snapchat audience to take when they swipe the ad.
You have two options when it comes to schedule:
- Start the campaign at once and run it indefinitely;
- Define the start and end dates.
You can also set your campaign status to either active or paused.
Okay, this is a simple tip to do, but bear in mind that it can come in handy if you have a preferred naming convention.
- (Objective) – (Schedule) - (Product);
- (Objective) - (Schedule) - (Team member) - if you have a marketing team;
- (Objective)-(Product) - (Client name) - if you’re running multiple ads for clients.
You can mix and match and find what works best for you, but the important thing is to have a system so you don’t get lost in tracking results when you start running multiple ads.
Note: Use a similar naming convention for the next step in your advertising campaign - ad sets.
Snapchat offers in-depth audience targeting, as do all social media networks these days. There are five main sections to choose from when specifying your target audience, and each category has a number of subcategories that can help you narrow down your target audience even further.
Geography Not only does Snapchat allow you to select the country you want to target, but it lets you have specific location targeting by including or excluding certain areas and places by using a zip/post code. This can come in handy for location-based businesses.
Demographics Specify your audience by age, gender, income, language, parental status and more. Snapchat even has advanced demographics (still not available in all countries) that let you pick college graduates, small business decision makers or employees, or new parents, to name but a few.
Placements When it comes to ad placements, you have two options: you can choose Content Placement, which allows your ads only appear on curated content (Snapchat stories, publishers’ stories), or All Snapchat, that includes placement between friends’ stories as well.
Audiences Snapchat’s audience section looks more like picking traits for your Sims than marketing. You have 4 main categories in this section: Lifestyles, Shoppers, Viewers and Visitors, and a total of 300+ subcategories that let you narrow down your targeting with incremental precision.
These subcategories are mainly based on user behaviour - what they’ve bought, where they’ve been, what they like to watch. You can pick Do-it-yourselfers or Hipster & Trendsetters from the Lifestyle section for example.
You can check out all predefined audience options in this guide by Snapchat, including all the available subcategories.
Note: Viewers, Visitors and Shoppers are only available in the US at the moment.
Devices Last but not least, you can target users on specific devices, based on the operating system they are using to run Snapchat on (Android, iOS, or both), the type of their internet connection (wi-fi, cell, or both) and service providers.
The next step in creating your Snapchat ad is determining your budget.
Currently, it seems that $100 is the minimum daily budget you need to enter so you can click “next”.
Then you need to select a goal for your ad, and specify a bid amount for that goal. For example, if your goal is a swipe up, the bid you entered means that you are willing to pay that amount for each swipe up.
How does this work exactly? If your goal is that people install your app, let’s say you enter $5 as your bid amount for app installs coming through the ad. Snapchat enters your bid in an auction for that goal, where it essentially competes against other marketers’ bids, and shows your ad to audiences its algorithm identifies are most likely to install your app, over the ads of marketers with a lower bid than yours.
What’s important to remember:
- Snapchat charges per impressions (CPM). It doesn’t charge you the bid amount when someone installs your app, but rather when it has shown your ad a certain number of times. That means that every app install can cost more or less than your initial $5.
- Start by setting the bid amount to how much each goal action is worth to you, based on your cost-per-action calculations. Ultimately, if you don’t get the results you want, you could try to increase your bid.
- As we mentioned earlier, there’s not a lot of bidding competition on Snapchat yet. That means that you can set your bid to as low as $1 and see where it goes. If there aren’t that many marketers competing, you can snag some amazing reach for a very reasonable price.
- Allocate your budget smartly. Don’t be afraid to discontinue ad sets that aren’t performing well, and up the budget of the ones that do.
I know we’ve already talked about scheduling. But setting an ad set schedule is different than setting a schedule for your whole campaign.
You can run multiple ad sets per campaign, and some of them can have shorter time spans than the time-frame of the actual campaign.
There are currently 4 types of ads available on Snapchat.
Top snap only This is the standard snap ad video that can last up to 10 seconds. The only difference is that there is no swipe up CTA (call to action) for this ad type, because there is no next video or website link.
Web view This ad type’s CTA is intended for people to visit your website, and drive traffic there for a number of intended actions: purchase a product from your store, read your content, etc. Having in mind that Snapchat traffic is actually mobile traffic is now more important than ever - make sure you optimize your website for mobile viewing, or your conversions might suffer.
App Install Your goal with this ad type is to drive Snapchat users to your app page in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, and ultimately, have them install your app.
Long-form video The actual Snap ad acts as a trailer that leads people to a long-form video up to 10 minutes long when they swipe up.
Article ad type There’s another ad type designed to link to a multimedia page - the article ad type. However, it seems that it’s currently not available in the ads manager, so if this is the perfect ad type for you, a simple shortcut could be to use the web view ad type instead.
What’s important to remember
- People are seeing and interacting with your ad on their mobiles. Make it mobile friendly!
- If you have some ready-made content, always make sure that you use something that has a history of performing well. As always, there’s no need to pay for advertising content nobody ever liked.
We’ve finally reached the creative part of your ad. Later on, we’ll be delving deeper into what types of marketing practices seem to work best for both ads and organic posts on Snapchat, but now, we have to pay close attention to a few tiny details.
Before you can create an ad you need to provide the following info:
- Brand name. Maximum number of characters is 25, and that’s including spaces. Your brand name will appear in the upper-left corner of your Snap Ad.
- Headline. The catchy headline will appear just below your brand name. Maximum number of characters is 34, with spaces.
- Call to action. You can select your preferred call-to-action from the list of available options depending on your chosen ad type. for example a “watch” CTA is perfect for a video view ad. Your CTA will appear at the bottom of the Snap Ad, and users will need to swipe it before it takes them to the next part of your ad.
The next step would be to upload your media file. Your media file should be a vertical video that you’ve either already created on Snapchat or by using third party software. In both cases, simply hit “upload” and, voila! You’re done. Just make sure that before you do, you’ve read what are the Snapchat required specs.
If you haven’t created your video yet, or you aren’t really sure how to create vertical videos - you can easily do it with Snapchat’s very own Snap Publisher by simply hitting “Create”.
The Publisher is an online video editing app designed by Snapchat. It lets you create your video in two simple ways:
- Create a video from scratch;
- Create a video using one of the awesomely designed templates.
Even if you’re a video editing klutz you don’t need to worry - the Snapchat Publisher is a highly intuitive tool that will allow you to do both basic and advanced editing in a snap!
Now the only thing left for you to do once you’ve created your video is to hit “launch campaign” and sit back.
Now in case you are an unsure how to create an effective Snap video and what type of content to include, we’ll be diving into the subject in a bit, but first, let’s just take a look at few important Snapchat advertising details.
Snapchat ad prices vary a great deal depending on the format, ad placement, competition and more.
They can go from $5 dollars for a custom on-demand filter, or $1 per impression if competition is low, up to $700 000 for a sponsored Lense on a special event day like the Super Bowl.
You can also do it organically. But more on that later.
Advertisers also have the option to buy ads without the use of ad manager. Note that this is only for marketers and business owners with pretty hefty SMM budgets, as purchasing an ad directly from Snapchat will surely leave your wallet feeling a little light.
So, here are the rules: you’ll get charged a flat rate for CPM, but different ad formats have different rates.
- Snap Ads start at around $3000 per month;
- Sponsored Lenses’ ad spend varies from day to day. It can go from anywhere between $450 000 per day for Sunday-Thursday and $700 000 for special events and holidays;
- Snapchat Discover Ads start at $50,000 daily;
- Sponsored nationwide geofilters cost approximately one-fifth of the cost of Sponsored Lenses. Besides, users can now create the filter directly within app. Minimum geofilter coverage is 20 000 square feet, and the maximum - 50 000 000. That means that the price depends on what’s your desired location, how big it is, and also how much time you want the geofilter to run.
What’s important to remember:
- Ads purchased directly from Snapchat have flat rates;
- When you are purchasing directly from Snapchat, the ad will run within a specific location, as opposed to having your ad placed on any placement your bid has won (Discover page, user’s Stories) when you’re using ads manager;
- The fixed cost per ad format obviously doesn’t cover agency costs, or the cost of producing your creative;
- To say that purchasing ads directly from Snapchat is pricey is probably an understatement, but we wanted to include all options for running ads on Snapchat.
Your work sadly doesn’t end when you click the “Launch Campaign” button.
You need to keep a close eye on your campaigns, detect when something is not working, and optimize for better results. Finally, you need to track all your advertising efforts so you can report on them later, or have them available for reference.
There are three equally important steps that you can easily do in Snapchat’s ad manager dashboard.
Snapchat has always been terrible when it comes to Analytics. It doesn’t come even close to the in-depth native analytics Facebook Insights has. In all fairness however, the company recently announced they’ll be giving content creators some much desired analytics, which is a move in the right direction for users who want to run branded content and have something to show for it. Tracking campaign success and trends has always been difficult on the platform, as content and its results disappear.
Snapchat does provide some ad metrics in your ad manager dashboard that shows metrics like total impressions, video views, or average completion rate, as well as spend metrics, swipe ups, number of installs, etc.
In order to view the full list of metrics available in Snapchat’s ad manager, check out their metrics glossary.
Snapchat lets you adjust certain campaign or ad set details, because chances are you might want to tweak a few settings here and there depending on how your campaign is performing. You can do it by clicking the “Edit” button in the upper-right corner of your dashboard page, when you are viewing a particular campaign or ad set.
Here’s what you can edit in a particular campaign:
- Campaign name;
- Daily budget (This has to be larger than 70 percent of the sum of daily budgets of all ad sets within the campaign);
And the details you can edit in your Ad set:
- Ad set name;
- Daily budget;
- Bid amount.
Marketers have learned how to love numbers, and for a reason - numbers and reports are everything.
You can of course get a daily, weekly, or monthly breakdown of your ads performance in the dashboard, which allows you to see how the ad has performed over time, but there’s also a convenient download button that allows you to export a CSV file off the dashboard ad performance table.
Snapchat even allows you to monitor your ads on the go by using their mobile dashboard. You can see how your ads are performing right from Snapchat’s mobile app, although at the moment it seems like you can’t edit them on the go as well.
Access the mobile dashboard by swiping down from the camera, tapping the gear icon, then tapping “Snap ads”.
You can manage all your ad accounts directly from Snapchat’s Business Manager. This is where stuff like billing and access happens, as well as where you assign members different roles and permissions.
A single business account can have multiple ad accounts with multiple members, all with different roles and permissions. The admins of the business account (a.k.a. you) can invite members and assign roles to them, such as: Data Manager, Data Analyst, Creative Manager and more.
This is good news if you have a whole marketing team behind your brand!
This is hardly the first time we say it, but attention is becoming a luxury commodity on social media and the internet in general. So how to snatch the attention of target Snapchatters? The platform is swarming with Generation Z users who are unfortunately also the demographic with the toughest ad resistance.
Well, one thing is certain - we need to part ways with old-school salesy marketing and learn how to use what Snapchat has to offer to our advantage. As Snapchat is essentially just a messaging app - you send other users pictures and videos and they send you back - there is no going viral in the traditional sense of the world. Instead, what you may hope for is skyrocketing engagement.
Editing snaps is a vital part of what makes the platform so fun and light-hearted. It doesn’t matter whether you’re making a Snap or a Story, with an image or a video, you can use the following tools to make it pretty all the same:
- Drawing tools;
- Text. In case you haven’t heard, as Snapchat is a mobile app, people don’t always use it with sound on. That’s why adding text to your Snaps or Stories is always a good idea; Snapchat allows you to type out text to add to your image. You can choose any color for the font, and place the banner text wherever you choose. Add them to provide context for your content that users can read, so they are not forced to pop their headphones in.
- Emojis. After you’ve captured your Snap photo or video, you can add emojis to your image, dragging them to any position that you so please, or making them bigger or smaller by using your fingers to expand or contract them. Emojis are always a cool addition to a marketing campaign, so why not drop an emoji or two into your next snap by tapping the sticky note icon?
Thanks to its focus on temporary content Snapchat thrives on snapshots that capture a moment, and that type of content tends to perform better on the platform. There’a time and place for going long form, but Snapchat is not it.
Keep your videos under a minute if you want to experience more effective Snapchat marketing.
Snaps are by default used on mobile devices, so that means in vertical form. Make sure you use a portrait layout for all your snaps, so you can maximize screen space! Make sure your snaps are eye catching by using a contrast between text and image.
With Snapchat, everything is about camera work. Take it from Spiegel: “When Google came along, everyone really felt like they needed a search strategy. When Facebook came along, everyone felt they needed a social strategy. And now I think with Snap, with our company, we believe that everyone is going to develop a camera strategy.”
But in order to build a brand presence on Snapchat, you need a particular type of camera strategy: you need to deviate from the classic polished and highly edited video content we were used to seeing before Snaps entered the picture.
Selfie videos don’t have to be user-generated, they can work equally well for branded content! Why? Precisely because they are so popular among users, they can successfully pose as stories from friends which in turn leads to a less disruptive ad experience.
The key with ads on Snapchat is to make them appear more organic. You don’t need colossal production costs, you can do it by filming your selfie video with your iphone or smartphone front camera.
A nice little trick is to go easy on the branding, in fact, you don’t need to include it from the start. Wait from 3-5 seconds before you do - the idea is to give your content an authentic feel, and hook the user to swipe up for more. If the content is genuinely interesting and appears organic enough, Snapchatters are more likely to swipe for more.
You’re asking yourself when exactly? The sweet spot seems to be after the third second.
You can find a full list of Snapchat recommended best practices over at their Help Center.
Snapchat gives photo-editing a whole new meaning. Editing on the platform is not necessarily to make your photo or video better, or higher quality - it’s to make it feel more interesting and more authentic.
And don’t be afraid to use multiple filters! Snapchat lets you add up to three.
Snapchat has the general filters that you can use on both photos and videos, and four additional filters that are exclusive to the video format: slow speed (represented by a snail), fast speed (represented by a rabbit), super fast speed (represented by a rabbit with streaks behind it), and reverse (three arrows pointing to the left), which makes your video play backwards.
You can create some pretty fun stuff if you play around with these!
Not everyone has the budget to splurge on a Sponsored Lense that will undoubtedly do wonders for your business. But that’s not the only way to go.
However you can try a more frugal tactic: include existing lenses in your snaps, or stories, and make your next Snapchat Q& A session more fun that way!
What if you took advantage of the reverse video effect, created a video, and then made your Snap play it backwards?
A sticky note could uncrumple before Snapchatters eyes, revealing latest info about your new product, an awesome event or an update. You can show your latest product by making a reverse-unboxing short video - catch the attention of your audience with the product itself in the first second, and then tell them what it is by closing the box. The possibilities are endless!
Share fun facts about your brand The Snap format is amazing when it comes to sharing facts and updates about your brand, and it will definitely result in more engagement, than if you just blogged about it. You could also turn it up a notch and create a quiz.
Remember the ice bucket challenge?
Why not encourage users to interact with your content and share feedback? That’s right, there’s no reason. However, simply asking them to “provide feedback” won’t do it of course, and Snapchats editing tools can be great at making it more fun for your audience to snap back.
Use text or emojis to ask your Snapchat followers to reply in a snap, or to screenshot your content. Not only will you be interacting with viewers, it will also help you gauge whether your brand’s content is actually resonating with your target audience. Or any audience for that matter.
Example: Snap a photo of your product, and then ask users to screenshot it, circle their favorite, and snap it back to you.
Who doesn’t like themed content? Holidays are the perfect time of year to create festive content, use custom geofilters and themed stickers. And promote your seasonal offers while you’re at it.
Why not put faces behind your company name? You can make your brand look more down-to-earth and approachable if you showcase the fun setting in which your team creates your awesome products or services.
Taco Bell for example is famous for its on point Snapchat branding and its success with the now iconic - taco shell, but it also featured a lot of fun, short mysteries and dramas about tacos gone missing. Get inspired and think of new ways you can entertain your audience in this way on Snapchat.
- Don’t be afraid to play with stickers, emojis, text, and drawing when creating snaps for your brand;
- When editing, don’t aim for making your content higher quality, aim for making it more interesting;
- Try to make your branded content appear more organic;
- Video quality is not that important - what’s important is authenticity;
- Introduce branding after the 3d second to achieve a less disruptive ad experience;
- Play with creating unique on-demand filters and geofilters for your brand;
- Use multiple filters;
- Create seasonal content around the holidays to promote your seasonal offers;
- Think of new ways to make your content interactive - Snapland is all about its users;
- Create a quiz about your brand.
The premise of Snapchat is actually pretty simple: shoot with your phone, edit and share short-lived content with your friends, on your phone. But, when it comes to using the platform for branding, things get a little more complicated.
But as we said, it’s worth it. CNN, for example, found that their audience on Snapchat was more likely to read their news items there than they were from the main site.
We simply have to get used to the fact that Snapchat speaks to the younger demographic unlike any other platform, and start building your branding in a way that matches the platform’s unique aesthetic. People’s snap don’t really have that airbrushed quality that we’ve started associating with Instagram. Content on the platform is often the farthest thing from a glossy magazine cover - instead, it’s spontaneous, fun, and creative.
When you start building a presence on Snapchat, with an organic, or a paid advertising strategy, the most important thing you have to think about is how you will approach your brand image.
Stories are the closest thing Snapchat has to a newsfeed, and it’s still pretty far away! They are very popular, they can be open to everyone if you set your profile to public, and users can rewatch them for 24 hours!
Stories are very eclectic - there is no single way to do them right. However, they can benefit from using traditional storytelling methods, so here are a few ideas of what you can do:
- You can connect multiple snaps to create a narrative story about your brand;
- Do several takes on what’s happening on your event;
- Upload interviews or industry news in several stages;
- Reveal products in several stages.
Yay, Snapchat memories actually became a thing. What it actually does is it makes your marketing life on Snapchat a little easier by letting you upload images and videos that you’ve already taken to your Snaps, instead of having to shoot the content in real time.
That means is that you can upload content you’ve edited outside the app, and that’s including your branded logo! To use image and video content you’ve taken in the past, just click on the small circle underneath the main picture-taking button in the app (it will have a tiny picture in it).
Now, there’s one thing to keep in mind: although Snapchat Memories gives you more editing options, don’t sway too much from Snapchat’s unique aesthetic. Images should still feel like they’ve been created at a moment’s notice - snapped from your phone without too much of a hassle.
Snapchat is not about highly edited photographs taken with a $3000 camera, sporting a perfectly arranged composition. That’s Instagram, remember? Don’t succumb to the temptation to edit your content to death, because if you do - you’ve probably just made it suitable for another social media platform.
Wondering why exclusive promo codes on Snapchat are so successful? Well, exclusivity. Promo codes capitalize on users’ fear of missing out (FOMO), and if you are a brand trying to capitalize on that, Snapchat is the platform for you.
With promo codes, you can create an exciting “behind the scenes” feel to your content, and the fact that it will soon disappear forever drives users to engage even more.
Brands have had a lot of success with disappearing promo codes in the past, and it’s a great way to drive sales - not to mention that the fact you can track exactly how many people have used your code is a pretty nice metric!
Snapchat is a great platform to launch your new products on, and it lets you build up tension if you reveal them in stages, one step at a time.
Given that Snapchat allows you to create low-budget, informal videos, content creation production costs can be really low if you’re creative, and you can keep pumping up fun branded content to create a hype before any product launch.
The same tactic could be applied to promoting new events. If you have an event coming up, continuing to share image and video snaps of the preparation process, or of exciting details to come is a sure way to tease your followers and build interest.
And if you decide to include an on demand geofilter for your special event day - even better.
Using geofilters and custom geofilters - if your business can afford it that is - can be an awesome way to boost traffic (and foot traffic at that), brand recognition and sales, with some great targeting and conversion tracking opportunities
There are two main types of them: community geofilters that anyone can submit for free, but they can’t have any branding on them, and on demand Geofilters.
On demand Geofilters can be bought by both regular users and businesses, and their price depends on factors such as location, event and coverage. The good news is that not only is branding allowed, it’s encouraged!
How to create a custom Geofilter:
- Click “Create Now”;
- After you log in, you’ll be asked to upload a geofilter you’ve made through a platform of choice such as Photoshop (they have Photoshop ready templates). If not, you can create a geofilter directly in Snapchat’s tool;
- Choose your desired occasion/season;
- Start by either choosing a black screen or a template to work with;
- Nest you upload images (like your company, logo for example) and format your text. You can drag all your geofilter elements anywhere;
- Once you think you’re finished, click “preview”, and then “finished”;
- Choose geofilter date, duration and range. Note that the bigger the range, the more expensive it will be - if you have an event coming up, the approximate range of your venue will keep it affordable (around $50 for a day let’s say);
- On the next screen, choose where you want your Geofilter to appear. You simply need to fence off the area on the map;
- Once you’re happy with it, submit order.
Now you can let your event visitors enjoy all the Snapchat fun in the world during your event, take Snaps and spread some user-generated brand love!
We’ve talked about the importance of influencer marketing before, given that it was undoubtedly one of the biggest trends of 2017. And Snapchat is certainly a platform that allows businesses and brand to truly embrace influencer marketing by doing takeovers or partnering up with Influencers.
This influencer technique allows you to be viewed by both your followers and the followers of your Influencer. It’s one of the best short-cuts to a huge boost in follower counts. It’s like guest posting, but on stories.
LeBron James once gave users a behind-the-scenes of the new McDonald’s bacon clubhouse sandwich in a wildly successful influencer reveal campaign.
Now, we’re not saying that you should contact a high-end celebrity like LeBron, but you can definitely apply the same logic to your Snapchat branding strategy, even if it’s on a much more modest level. Give your customers a look at what’s going on behind the scenes, because buyers love to know what’s the story behind the company.
Creating an aura of exclusivity can go a long way on Snapchat. After all, the fact that content disappears once a user sees it shouldn’t be scary - it can create that much desired FOMO effect like nothing else can.
You can use Snapchat to give your followers a VIP look at your events and promotions that they’ll likely never have a chance to attend in person, by partnering up with an Influencer they love and respect. It’s a fun, easy way to bring new life to established events.
How does a channel takeover work? Exactly how it sounds like - you ask an influencer to do a temporary takeover of your business or brand’s account, and post snaps on your behalf.
If you’re thinking that you don’t have connections with 500K+ influencers - it’s ok. You can get your message seen by letting a smaller scale, local authority with just thousands of fans take over your account, especially if you’re running a local business or service.
There are numerous examples when big brands did it on Snapchat, with amazing results.
Take the Audi example - its partnership with the Pretty Little Liars TV show through Snapchat stories actually managed to get the company 115 000 new followers! Or, Adidas and the takeover rapper Pharell once did for one of their events.
When Snapchat acquired Bitmoji it managed to successfully merge two important social media trends - the use of emojis, and the quest for personalization.
Bitmoji undoubtedly appeals to the millennial demographic, but is there room for brands to capitalize on it?
It seems there is. Since, a lot of brands, especially brands in fashion, or skincare companies such as Dove have used it in their social media campaigns, although if you remember the success of the Game of Thrones Bitmojis you’ll know it’s not necessarily a rule.
If you are asking yourself how on earth can your business benefit from those cartoonish, personalized darlings of the internet, here’s a little food for thought:
- If you think that your brand’s Snaps lack an extra layer of personality, Bitmojis are a great way to kick it up a notch;
- It brings a lightness to your brand;
- Adding Bitmoji to your Snaps can be a great tactic to insert yourself or a fictional brand personality you create as a representation of your brand without it having to contain an actual person;
- Emojis are a key element to Snapchat’s one on one user dynamic, so why not use that to bring a playful note to your brand’s image, and make it even more personal?
- Snapchat sweetened the deal introducing even more personalization with Bitmoji Deluxe.
What can your Bitmoji do on the Snapchat app?
- You can personalize your avatar or profile photo;
- You can send it as a personalized sticker in Snapchat convos, and let your brand infiltrate the “dark social” - people’s personal messages;
- You can add it to your brand’s Snapcode;
- You can use your brand’s Bitmoji character in integration with other apps and social services, such as Gmail for example.
The Snap Map feature has a lot of potential when it comes to location based ad business. Users can not only see a map of their friends and their snaps within app, it’s also a powerful way for businesses to advertise to users based on the places they visit in the real world.
Thanks to Snap Map, your brand can now join and maintain a virtual brand presence on the map of the world. All you need to do is pinch the screen to open the Map and add your own content. This is especially handy for businesses advertising their latest events.
- Snapchat Stories are Snapchat’s longest form of content - use them as a prime spot for your marketing;
- When using Memories, don’t overdo it with the third party editing, your content should always keep a Snapchatty aesthetic;
- Use Snapchat to offer coupons and promo codes;
- Do product reveals or launch new products using the air of exclusivity that Snapchat offers;
- Stage Influencer channel takeovers, Influencer reveals, or just simply partner with Influencers for a campaign;
- Showcase a behind the scenes feel to your events or company culture;
- Create an on demand geofilter to market your brand in an interactive way and let your followers do the promotion;
- Don’t be afraid to Bitmoji your brand;
- Use the Snap Map for increasing brand presence and promoting your events.
Unfortunately, a social media marketing strategy rarely revolves around just one social media channel. And if you have decided to give Snapchat a go, it’s highly unlikely that it will be your only platform of choice.
But marketers today need to accept that social media marketing involves a great deal of multiple-platform management. How else are you going to achieve a cost-effective CPC, or a great ROI?
There’s another great perk to having multiple social channels - you can share your Snapcode to your other social media profiles and drive traffic to your Snapchat, so that your audience and customers can experience the more quirky and personal side of your brand.
New social media marketing platforms like Snapchat can turn conventional marketing on its head. Everything you knew about marketing is no longer than rule - from polished ads to impeccable product photography. Instead, you can embrace a more immediate approach to marketing on the network that celebrates ephemerality and spontaneity more than any other.
So make sure you are more authentic and personal than ever, and let users take the lead!
Go the extra mile when it comes to Snapchat by using the tips we’ve provided. If you think you need some extra help, you can check out our SMM guide on design and aesthetics for handy tips on how to do this for your social media profiles.
If you’re a marketer who’s already braved Snapchat, we’d love to hear your personal experience advertising on the platform. What’s your favorite way to draw leads on Snapchat?