Should Your Business Be Using Snapchat?

A few years ago, some marketers and businesses may have written Snapchat off as too immature and unfocused to be considered a viable platform. When it launched in 2011, many viewed it as a passing fad. Yet, six years later, it’s still here and going strong.

In the past year alone, it grew by 27% with more than one in five Americans using the app. It has even generated some interest from our 10twelve client base.

If you are one of the few that haven’t jumped on the Snapchat bandwagon, here’s the gist:

Snapchat is a mobile social app in which people and businesses can record and send photos and videos, which are called “Snaps” to their followers. The Snaps are temporary and can only be viewed up to 10 seconds─or 24 hours, if you upload them to your “Stories” section. It has made a name for itself as a highly visual and creative platform with its fun lenses, filters and photo effects.

Last year, Snapchat made some big changes and announcements that show it has every intention of sticking around. It rolled out more options for advertisers, rebranded from Snapchat Inc. to Snap Inc, and announced its plan to go public in 2017.

Now, as the mobile app prepares for its IPO─with the latest reports valuing it at around 22.2 billion─it is time to get serious about using it for your business.

Still aren’t sure if it’s right for you? Here are some more reasons you should consider it:

It has a large and daily user base.

In the last quarter of 2016, Snapchat reported 158 million daily active users. In early 2016, it grew 17% from Q1 to Q2. Even though the recent report showed it steadying─mainly due to heated competition from Instagram and Facebook─it still has a huge user base and unique content offerings.

It’s where all the young people hang out.

According to Snapchat’s latest numbers, the app reaches over 41% of Millennials (18 to 34 year olds) in the United States. If you want to reach out to younger audiences or show that you are at the cutting-edge of trends and technology, Snapchat could be an important part of your marketing strategy.

Users are highly active.

In terms of daily active users, Snapchat surpassed Twitter in 2016, according to Bloomberg analysts. Those users also check the app an average of 18 times a day. Snapchatters consume a ton of content too. Per day, users watch over 10 billion videos on the app, an increase of over 350% from the previous year.

Another upside is that although Snapchat is growing in popularity, it still isn’t as brand saturated as Facebook or Instagram - yet. Depending on your industry, there may be an opportunity to enter the Snapchat market before too many of your competitors crowd in.

Getting Started

To get started with Snapchat, you need a mobile device. Once you download the app and create your username, you can start taking photos, recording videos and sending them to your followers. How do you get followers? Here are some tactics:

●      Share your “Snapcode” everywhere. A Snapcode is like a QR code that anyone can scan with their mobile device to follow you.

●      Get your personalized Snapchat URL. Snapcodes can be tedious, especially for sharing on the web. Instead, share your Snapchat URL

●      Provide incentive. Social media users love contests, giveaways and coupons. Create an exclusive perk or contest for your Snapchat followers to generate interest and engagement. It can be as simple as snapping a coupon code.  

●      Create curiosity. Share a video clip on your other social media channels and direct them to Snapchat to see the full version.

●      Work with Influencers. Partnering with well-known thought leaders in your space may require some initial investment, but it may be worth the boost in followers.

Gaining a follower base is important, but you also need to think about your content strategy. Snapchat content is highly visual and users are more people-focused, so it is crucial to cater your content.

How can businesses use Snapchat?

Because of the short life span and visual aspects of Snapchat, your content should be different from what you would post on Facebook, LinkedIn and other channels. Here are a few examples of branded content that tend to perform well on Snapchat:

●      Give an inside look. Reveal a “behind-the-scenes” clip of your business. This can anything from how you prepare a special dish in your restaurant to short insights from employees.

●      Record a short product demo. Video clips are a great way to show your followers how to use your product or service.

●      Cover events. If you host events or even if your team goes to a conference or workshop, share the experience with your followers.

●      Flash deals and limited-time offers. The temporary nature of Snapchat makes it the perfect channel to share special, limited-time coupons, sales and other offers.

●      Promote content. Tease a new blog post or company news and direct users to it.

All of those content options are easy to create at little to no cost, but if you want to take it up another level, you may want to consider Snapchat Ads.

Snap Advertising Options

Snapchat’s advertising has four primary offerings: mobile video ads, geofilters and sponsored lenses.

Mobile Video Ads

The basic video ads are 10-second long clips. Advertisers can give users the option to view more or get additional information by swiping up. This can also direct Snapchatters to a landing page, mobile website or blog content. Snap video ads are on the pricey side, are heavily vetted before they go live, and brands must work with Creative Partners or Ad Partners to set them up.

Sponsored Lenses

Sponsored Lenses are a customized photo effect that Snapchat creatives design specifically for a brand. It is best for reaching a wide-scale national audience, because all Snapchat users will be able to view and use it. It has mostly attracted large brands like Taco Bell, Michael Kors and Universal, because they are insanely expensive. According to Fast Company, it can cost anywhere from $450,000 to $750,000 or more if it is a holiday.


These are filters available to Snapchat users when they are in a certain location at a specified time range. The On-Demand Geofilters are the most cost-effective and suitable option for small and local businesses, with prices starting as little as $5.00.

Is Snapchat Right for You?

Snapchat has become so popular that businesses that ignore it, might be losing out on millions of opportunities to connect with potential customers. However, like other social media channels, you should determine if it is right for your audience and business goals. Not all brands should be on Snapchat. For example, you aren’t likely to reach older generations or business executives on the platform. Some other points to consider are:

Advertising costs can be high.

Snapchat is free. However, you may have noticed that it can be extremely expensive if you plan on advertising. Although, many brands have found it to be a worthy investment, shelling out $700K for an ad simply isn’t realistic for small businesses and startups. For small businesses, the On-Demand Geofilters can be a viable ad option.

Tracking can be tricky.

Because of the temporary nature of the content, Snapchat is unlike other social media channel. If you are used to the analytics of other channels, you might also find it a challenge to track results.

Snapchat doesn’t have its own analytics for businesses yet, so it means a lot of manual effort to analyze campaign effectiveness. However, there are some third-party automated analytics solutions available like Snaplytics.

Over the past few years, Snapchat has proven that it is a major contender in the social space. It continues to entertain users with its wacky filters and features, and has managed to attract a user base that rivals Twitter and other social media platforms. Now, as the mobile app is on the cusp of going public, it could be the perfect time to experiment with it in your marketing efforts. Still have questions about Snapchat or marketing and growing your business? Reach out to us at 10twelve  to learn more.