But with a user base rapidly growing past 30 million, the platform can no longer be ignored. It may not be right for all brands, but for those that are entering or are already on the channel, measuring success is the next step.
Make no mistake: Snapchat’s lack of a legitimate analytics suite or API means that measurement will be a challenge at best. But with that said, there are metrics to be gleamed from the existing statistics Snapchat provides.
- What is measurable?
- What does each measurement mean in the context of the platform?
- What are the takeaways?
Until further notice, a user’s Snapchat score is too arbitrary to be relevant, and only concerns interpersonal/private Snaps, as opposed to Stories.
In its current form, Stories are the primary distribution point for brands, and thus the most important place to measure success. For Stories, Snapchat provides the following relevant measurements:
- Audience size (A)
- Views on each Snap in a Story (V)
- Screenshots on each Snap in a Story (S)
Additional variables to consider when measuring success on the channel include:
- Production speed (P)
- Total number of Snaps per Story (N)
- Story length in seconds (L)
The only official measureable stats in-app are views and screenshots. According to Snapchat, each measured “view” on a Story is unique. Since users must opt-in and press the screen to watch a Story, it’s safe to say it’s similar to a video view – but not identical.
Audience size (i.e. number of friends) can only be measured via contacting a Snapchat representative.
It’s also important to consider production speed, or the time it takes to complete a piecemeal Story. Stories created over a 12-hour span, for example, will likely see a wide range of Snap view numbers compared to one created in under an hour. A finished Story has no limit on length or total number of Snaps.
There is currently no way to measure just how many private Snaps/replies are sent to an account without manually counting each and every one. A user’s inbox can only hold roughly 50 unopened messages as well, so if a community team isn’t punctual opening Snaps, they are gone forever
The viable composite metrics that should be considered based on what’s available include average views per Story (), engagement rate (E) and drop-off (D). These are measured using:
- Audience size (A)
- Views on the first Snap ()
- Views on the final Snap ()
- Total number of Snaps (N)
Engagement rate for single Snaps is easy to measure:
As is average views per Story:
But outside of knowing how much of a brand’s audience was logged in, saw the Story, and clicked on it, this doesn’t tell us much. We still don’t know what a view on a Story really means for the time being. Users could just as easily be clicking a Story to dismiss it from the top of their feed as they could be to actively watch. Screenshots can imply that content is compelling, but not with certainty. It’s always important to see if users are screenshotting and tweeting a brand’s Snapchat content – Twitter, along with Tumblr, is where most organic social conversation around Snapchat ends up.
Drop-off rate, however, reveals more, and only concerns stories with multiple snaps. First, however, it’s important to see the difference between raw drop-off () and drop-off percentage ():
Raw drop-off shows how many users chose not to finish a story, but doesn’t give enough context. Drop-off percentage, however, provides what proportion of the initial audience chose not to finish, and can be used for the lifetime of an account – it removes audience size as a variable and shows just how engaged an active audience is with a story. The best drop-off rates we’ve seen are under 10% for stories up to 60 seconds in length. Unsurprisingly, the longer a snap story is, the larger the drop-off.
It will be interesting to see what Snapchat’s new ‘Discover’ feature will offer brands, and just how far down the advertising rabbit hole it will choose to go. Paid placement - both for accounts and potentially just for stand-alone content as well - stands to natively increase brand reach, and creates an in-app method to build an audience. Along with age and geo-targeting, these are big firsts for the platform, and take a big step toward measuring success.