Snapchat is deliberately distancing itself from the social platforms that have come before it. With a shift from a creation to consumption model, the roadmap on how best to leverage Snapchat is clear.
Here are eight truths that marketers need to understand about how Snapchat views itself — and the ideal approach to maximizing the value of the platform.
1 – Snapchat is Not a Social Network. The Snapchat team has made it clear that it does not consider itself a social network. Instead, Snapchat is positioning itself as an ephemeral communication and consumption platform. This is a key point to consider when defining an approach to maximizing the platform.
2 – Attentive Audience. Snapchat boasts 50 million users in the US with a primary demographic of 14-28 years old. The average user frequents the app 14-22 times per day. It’s clear that Snapchat considers its platform as the “new TV” for this demo. From an attention and eyeballs perspective, driving views with this demographic is a key benefit of the platform.
3 – Consumption vs. Creation. Initially, Snapchat was a 1:1 content creation platform. Snapchat viewed the native phone camera as a competitor. With the recent shift with the Our Story offering and the new editorially-led Discover Channels, consumption will be the dominant behavior on the platform. The focus on more forms of original content will further support the position of driving views at scale.
4 – Organic Reach. The decline in organic reach on social networks such as Facebook has been a big topic over the past year and half. Snapchat has been direct that the platform is not optimized to support brands organically. Instead, they recommend that brands align their advertising around contextual topics and events vs. personification of the brand narrative with the hope of organic reach.
5 – Targeted Advertising. Snapchat’s advertising model is an opt-in model that is contextual and relevant vs. highly targeted. This is a similar approach to Buzzfeed and is the antithesis to Facebook’s highly targeted approach. This also means that alcohol brands are limited on the platform as targeting and age-gating are not currently an option.
6 – Physical to Digital. One of the other benefits and opportunities for brands on the platform is to connect physical events to an expanded digital audience is through Snapchat’s Our Story offering. With the ability to geo-fence and filter content, and align contextual brand advertising, Snapchat is creating more content for consumption that’s built on peer-to-peer audience sharing.
7 – Direct Response vs. Views. Snapchat’s value to brands is as an awareness driver vs. direct response platform. Snapchat views its platform as THE engagement platform of the 14-28-year-old demographic and it’s comparing its ad pricing to traditional GRP’s.
8 – Editorial Integrity. With the launch of Discover, Snapchat now provides daily editorial content to expand the scale of content on the platform. Each publishing partner is committed to a daily edition of content. This edition is also aligned with contextual advertising. The ad pricing is set by Snapchat and the publisher partner.
Snapchat is currently in the spotlight and there’s significant interest in leveraging the platform. Snapchat should be viewed as a contextual media platform vs. a social network that creates organic equity. The size of the audience and frequency of engagement cannot be ignored. If a program’s objective is to drive reach and create awareness, then Snapchat can play a key role.
Tom Edwards is EVP for Strategy & Innovation/Digital at The Marketing Arm.
Follow Tom @BlackFin360