In the ongoing race between social media platforms, the focus has included the triumphs of Facebook (and its offshoot site, Instagram), the teetering fortunes of Twitter, the decline of Google+ and the novelty of Pinterest. There is one other social site that (until recently), has not received as much press. That site is Snapchat. And if online video is part of your marketing plan, pay special attention.
Over the last couple of years, there has been a steady increase in questions asked and conclusions drawn as to how viable Snapchat is as a marketing tool. One distinguishing feature of Snapchat is that content eventually disappears from the mobile device (accounting for ghost icon as a logo). How then, can a brand’s image be effective if it is not even going to remain once downloaded? Isn’t the risk of “out of sight, out of mind” a possibility, which would make advertising on Snapchat futile? Not necessarily.
As was discussed in Insights , over one year ago:
Snapchat is an app that is downloadable on Android and iOS 7, allowing “friends” to share “Snaps,” or pieces of content in video or image form that they can manipulate. Once the recipient retrieves the snap and that piece of content is viewed, it will be deleted and no longer accessible. A user (or a brand) can, however, create a “Snapchat Story” that allows all followers to access this snap or piece of content for 24 hours.
So, this progression is similar to any online advertising formula: if a person notices an ad, finds it interesting, and wants to find out more about the brand being promoted, they will click on the ad. If they find the ad message memorable, and they first saw it on Snapchat, they will search online in another site to learn more.
If Snapchat’s presence in relation to advertising has been somewhat eclipsed or in the background, it recently came to the forefront, and is now very visible. Yes, very visible.
Tiernan Ray, writing for the ‘Tech Trader Daily’ section of BARRON’s, covered the views of Robert Peck, managing director of leading corporate and investment bank SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, who compiled a 39-page report that emphasized how marketers must sit up and take notice of Snapchat, as it is emerging as a genuine competitor to other social media sites.
Snapchat currently has “…150 million daily active users, $350 million in revenue projected for this year, and has a $16 billion valuation, bigger than that of Twitter.” (Yes, as if Twitter did not have enough competitors, it must now contend with Snapchat.) The report goes on to state that Snapchat’s mobile app is more popular than those of other social media sites, and that it is stealing advertisers: “As we discuss later, Snapchat commands a significant amount of time spend of younger users as well as high engagement levels.”
The “young users” that Mr. Peck refers to are Snapchat’s biggest audience. They are also members of the millennial generation, which has become the largest sector of consumers. Brands and businesses with an advertising budget should therefore give strong consideration to moving some dollars into investing in a Snapchat presence. Think of the future – especially video.
In a recent Business 2 Community (B2C) article, Brian Honigman details how Snapchat has been a key contributor in video with an article, appropriately titled “The Big Flip: How Snapchat Reoriented Video Advertising.” The argument over creating video in portrait mode – while most people preferred viewing it in landscape mode – was literally and figuratively ‘flipped’ (to quote Mr. Honigman). In a world where watching movies on television in widescreen format (i.e., landscape), it seemed natural this would carry over to mobile for viewing brief video content.
One strong reason cited by Mr. Honigman as to why portrait mode is becoming the preference is that the smartphone industry is outpacing personal computers. Another reason relates back to the millennial generation: “For the desktop-first generation that was viewing on early video-sharing platforms, vertical video was a nuisance. But the younger, mobile-first set saw things differently. They viewed the world through their phones, and the idea of flipping that screen every time they wanted to watch a video was more of a nuisance than a narrow aspect ratio ever could be.” Once again, the younger consumer has made their choice known. And, for brands to stay relevant, adapting to these new forms is necessary.
To sum it up, Snapchat is making its presence known. In time, the little ghost icon may join those of Facebook’s lowercase ‘f’, Twitter’s little bird, and Intstagram’s small camera at the bottom of any number of webpages. It may be time to consider a Snapchat presence. (If not, you may be haunted whenever you see that little ghost.)