Snapchat: The Power of Content

The influx of likes, updates, notifications, and suggestions that constantly flood the newsfeeds and smartphones of consumers steadily truncates their ability to process the influx of rapid-fire digital signals and messages. Such messages flash across their screens for brief intervals of time and are whisked away with a swiping thumb motion just as quickly.

VaynerMedia CEO and Snapchat pioneer Gary Vaynerchuk describes the fleeting attention span of users immersed in social media forums stating, “ On many social media platforms, viewers scroll through content quickly. And even though those posts will be there forever, viewers will never see it again. Marketers are only grasping for 50% of users’ attention at a time, and those users never look back.”

Snapchat offers companies a unique opportunity to capture user’s attention in the fast-paced digital world. Snapchat utilizes fertile digital marketing space to communicate and engage with the most valuable demographic of consumer. Digital marketing aficionados like Gary and Shaun McBride agree that advertisers benefit from a user pool consisting primarily of young consumers between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five. Gary insists that Snapchat as a social media platform is still extremely “fertile” due largely to the fact that, “It’s so new, brands haven’t ruined it yet.” Gary believes the younger generation gravitates toward Snapchat, because parents have infiltrated Facebook and now Instagram. “Snapchat created a haven that parents didn’t know about,” Gary explains. “Plus, the content itself just disappeared. The holy grail for teenagers.”

The ephemeral nature of Snapchat’s vanishing content establishes the perception of urgency among users. Marketing professor Amanda Gagnon emphasizes the importance of utilizing vanishing content to grab the viewer’s attention while encouraging their participation and interaction. User engagement is vital and Snapchat presents numerous avenues of communication with desired consumers through user-driven participation. Gagnon recommends using Snapchat to post limited-time offers that require user participation via the app itself. She explains the advantageous nature of what she refers to as “urgent, active participation” in a three-step process:

Step 1: Send a snap with an immediate-use coupon code and an explanation of what it’s for. Let recipients know how long the code will be good for. (You’ll probably want that to be a few hours or less. Otherwise, there’ll be less urgency to check your snaps.)

Important: Make the coupon code easy to remember, since it’ll disappear shortly. You may also want to include the short version of your site’s URL (without all the http:// and www.) to remind them where to redeem the code.

Step 2: Enable your coupon code before sending the snap.

Step 3: Turn it off at the time the offer ends.

Then, you’re done. You may have made sales from the snap, and at the least, you’ll have increased interest in your brand.

Moreover, Snapchat’s entertainment factor increases the effectiveness of client engagement. Gagnon advises supporting time-sensitive offers with entertaining content stating, “In order to keep users following your snaps, you’ll have to entertain them as well. Think memes altered for your brand; think shares of videos, pictures or quotes that relate to your topic, think silly copy around your sales offers.” Enjoyable content such as memes and other fun trends of communication that pervade most social media platforms are excellent for prompting client engagement and participation. Snapchat’s sociable, entertaining nature renders its content more valuable for advertisers. “The main reason that people use Snapchat is that the content is so much better,” co-founder Evan Spiegel says. “It’s funny to see your friend when they just woke up in the morning.”

The frozen yogurt chain 16 Handels launched a Snapchat campaign with overwhelmingly positive results. The small company did not have a Snapchat account before the campaign started on Jan. 1. They registered one, and send out this offer: Send a snap of yourself at 16 Handles; get a snap of a coupon only good for the next 10 seconds. Three days later, the 41-location company had sent and received more than 1,400 snaps with users. While a small business would have slower growth than such a large chain, we’re still going to say this kind of example indicates a successful marketing channel – when used in the same way, of course.

Similarly, Shaun McBride (aka Shonduras) created a Jurasnap Park, playing off of Jurassic Park, full of all of his friends. He invited them to take a selfie, draw themselves into a dinosaur and send it to him. He then took screenshots and reposted all the dinosaur snaps of his fans for the world to see. They felt involved because it was a group project, rather than a project he just did on his own. Gary explains that what Shaun did with his Snapchat story is a way your business can interact with everyone who follows you, instead of just engaging one to one. Creative people think of stories in a linear sense, Gary shares. They put out 7 to 15 collections of images to tell a 150-second story instead of just one 10-second story. Depending on how you want to tell a story, Snapchat offers options. You can share a long narrative, like snapping your entire night at the Super Bowl, or just add one snap at a time. Snapchat has enormous creative potential if you understand context.


Written by James DeFelice

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We help companies build better digital products.