Each year I like to dive into a specific platform that can make an impact for brands in the coming year. In February of 2014, I published "2014 is the year of Tumblr." This prediction was recently validated, as TechCrunch released data that show that Tumblr just overtook Instagram as the fastest-growing social platform.
In 2015, Snapchat is the fastest growing social app. I have received numerous client requests for POV's on the platform, and I was recently briefed by the Snapchat team. What the team unveiled takes the platform to the next level for brands interested in reaching the 14-to-28-year-old demo in 2015.
(Snapchat is already the fastest growing social app heading into 2015)
Here are the five reasons to consider Snapchat in 2015.
Heavy usage by younger audiences
(According to Business Insider, nearly half of Americans aged 12 to 24 have used Snapchat)
A majority of campaign briefs called out some form of Millennial as the target, and Generation Z began to regularly appear toward the end of the year as well. Combine the penetration and rate of growth with new offerings that are designed to further enable brands on the platform and Snapchat is important to consider for the right brand.
Snapchat launched in 2011 with a heavy emphasis on teen and 20-something users, and it has quickly gained traction over the past few years. Snapchat's sweet spot is between 14 and 28 with a slight female lean. The numbers are impressive, including the fact that almost 50 percent of U.S. users aged 12 to 24 have tried Snapchat. The company now sits at 100 million active users with 50 million in the U.S.
When it comes to frequency of use, the platform is even more impressive, as 60 percent of the active users are on the app daily with frequency numbers as high as 22 times per day.
For those not familiar with Snapchat, one of the unique elements of the platform is that content "disappears" after a short period of time that is set by the content creator.
Users also have the ability to "doodle" directly on the content to quickly personalize it, as well as add filters and comment on top of content.
To give you further perspective, check out this Snapchat infographic that our team developed in 2013. You can see the explosive growth since then.
If that's not enough, there are more than 700 million snaps sent everyday. One of the key behavioral factors is tied to the fact that there is a sense of urgency with the content, as it will eventually disappear.
Brands are active on Snapchat?
When it comes to the various use cases of Snapchat, users can chat with one-to-one messaging and live video chat, they can consume a feed of directly sent snaps and messages from friends, capture photo and video (filter, doodle, caption), and interact with the story feed.
While some brands go the route of directly sending and feeding snaps and messages, one of the key areas of focus recently has been tied to the "story" feed.
Here is an example from Taco Bell showcasing new products directly to its followers:
The "My Stories" feature was introduced in 2013 and has become one of the most popular features within the app. "My Stories" allows users to link multiple snaps together over a 24-hour period. This feature alone is driving more than 1 billion views a day and has become the "go-to" for brands emphasizing a one-to-many strategy on the platform versus one-to-one messaging.
Here is an example of McDonald's using multiple snaps to reveal a new product:
Snapchat and advertising
When it comes to an approach to advertising, Snapchat is more like BuzzFeed than Facebook. It focuses on contextual relevance of the content to drive impressions versus a highly targeted approach. Both have their pros and cons, but Snapchat recommends that relevance and authenticity are the keys to success when it comes to advertising within its platform. Furthermore, it has recently introduced the ability to position sponsored content in the friend feed.
A sponsored post is for a period of 24 hours and can be up to 20 seconds of premium content. From a viewability standpoint, Snapchat counts a view as two seconds of consumption, and it states that the biggest difference is its model is built around the idea of connected engagement versus reach and frequency.
Here is an example of sponsored content from the recent "Ouija" movie:
Snapchat is opening up opportunities for brands and event sponsorship
One of the latest additions and one of the bigger brand opportunities is tied to the new "Our Story" offering. "Our Story" is a location-based collaborative story that leverages content from events and allows others not attending to directly experience the events. A user at an event has the ability to upload a photo or video snap, and Snapchat drops a Wi-Fi geofence around the event. Content is then aggregated and the "Our Story" content prompt is located in the story feed next to friend content. The video below helps to clarify this new offering:
There is also an opportunity for brands to "sponsor" the "Our Story" events. This comes to life in the form of 10-second interstitial title snaps. The sponsored content is then interlaced through the user generated content and clearly identifies the sponsor. One key point to consider with this type of offering is to leverage authentic event content versus pre-produced content. This better aligns the message and makes it more contextually relevant.
Check out this example from Samsung tied to the recent "American Music Awards" show:
It was recently reported by multiple media outlets that Snapchat is in negotiations with Comedy Central, Spotify, Vice, and other media publishers for the upcoming launch of "Discover." "Discover" will most likely serve users articles, music, and videos produced by media companies. This will create an additional avenue to drive contextually relevant native advertising to further monetize the platform.
In addition, Snapchat recently partnered with Square to release a peer-to-peer payment prototype. The prototype allowed users to store their debit card via Square to quickly process a payment or send cash to a friend's bank account through the chat feature. Users could type the dollar sign, an amount, and hit the green button. It is available in the U.S. to those 18 or older with a debit card.
With its diversity of use cases, ease of use, sense of urgency tied to the consumption of content, and focus on enabling brands and partnerships, Snapchat is primed to have a very big 2015.