This is a full repost of my recent iMedia Connection Cover Story.
Each year I like to dive into a specific platform that will make an impact for brands in the coming year. 2014 was the year of Tumblr. This prediction came true as TechCrunch recently released data that shows that Tumblr just overtook Instagram as the fastest-growing social platform.
Heading into 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 they unveiled takes the platform to the next level for brands interested in reaching the 14-28 year old demo in 2015.
Snapchat is already the fastest growing social app heading into 2015
According to Business Insider, Nearly Half of Americans aged 12 to 24 have used Snapchat
OVERVIEW & STATS
Snapchat launched in 2011 with a heavy emphasis on teen and 20-something users and has quickly gained traction over the past few years. Snapchat’s sweet spot is between 14-28 with a slight female lean. The numbers are impressive, including the fact that almost 50% of US users aged 12-24 have tried Snapchat. They now sit at 100 million active users with 50 million in the US.
When it comes to frequency of use, the platform is even more impressive as 60% of the active users are on the app daily with frequency numbers as high as 22x 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 the content.
Users can set a timer for when their content will vanish
Users can doodle, add filters and comment on top of content
Here is a Snapchat infographic that our team developed in 2013. You can see the explosive growth since then.
If that was not enough, there are over 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.
HOW CAN BRANDS USE 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 they can 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 their 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 over 1 billion views a day and has become the go to for brands emphasizing a 1 to many strategy on the platform vs. 1:1 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. They focus on contextual relevance of the content to drive impressions vs. a highly targeted approach. Both have their pros and cons, but Snapchat recommends relevance and authenticity are the keys to success when it comes to advertising within their platform. They have recently introduced the ability to position sponsored content in the friend feed. From a viewability standpoint, they count a view as 2 seconds of consumption.
Here is an example of sponsored content from the recent Ouija movie.
WHAT’S NEW HEADING INTO 2015?
Our Story | 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 the event and allows others not attending to directly experience the event. A user attending the event has 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 and is next to friend content.
There is also an opportunity for brands to “sponsor” Our Story events. This comes to life in the form of interstitial content that wraps 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 vs. pre-produced content. This better aligns the message and makes it more contextually relevant.
Here is an example from Samsung tied to the recent American Music Awards Show
Peer-to-Peer Payments | Recently, Snapchat partnered with Square to release a prototype that allowed users to store their debit card via square and the users could quickly process a payment and send cash to a friend’s bank account simply through the chat feature. Users could type the dollar sign, an amount and hit the green button. It is available in the US to those with a debit care and are 18 or older.
Snapchat Discover | 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.
With it’s diversity of use cases, easy of use, sense of urgency and focus on enabling brands and partnerships, Snapchat is primed to have a very big 2015.
Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360