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Pros and cons of Snapchat in a digital strategy

28 Mar 2017, Posted by Glen Gibson in Digital Strategy, Social Media

It’s no secret, every man and his dog is on Snapchat these days. With celebrities around the world using it as the main platform to grow their profile, communicate with fans and give a glimpse into their day-to-day lives, does it have a place in a brand’s digital strategy?

If you’re going to do it, now is the time. 2017 has the feel of make or break for getting your business on Snapchat. Leave it any longer, and you risk being very late to the party.

Here we take a look at the pros and cons of the social media phenomenon that attracts over 10 billion daily video views and has over 300 million monthly active users.

Pros

Exclusive access – The word ‘access’ is absolutely key and the first thing I think of when it comes to Snapchat. People and brands have the ability to provide viewers with content they can’t get anywhere else, live and instantly from a mobile device.

Lots of brands do incredibly cool things that fans don’t traditionally get to see, so why let that go to waste?! Football clubs are particularly strong in this area, transporting fans to the heart of the dressing room before a game and out on the pitch during and after it. Fans may not physically be there, but they feel like they are getting a unique insight into the inner sanctum at their beloved club.

 It’s so simple! – We are in the age where content is king and there are more innovative ways than ever to convey a brand’s message. This often creates an uneven playing field, however, and smaller brands can often lag behind larger ones that have sizeable in-house video and graphic resources to create their content.

Well… Snapchat takes all that away.

A phone is the only resource needed to get going on Snapchat and it’s the unique content you give viewers, rather than the quality of content production, that is most important.

You can repurpose your content – Before 2016, the only way to keep your Snapchat content would be to screenshot what you’ve done, or it would simply disappear in 24 hours. However, since the introduction of ‘Memories’ and the ability to save everything to your phone’s camera roll, your photos and videos that you spent time and effort to capture can last forever. More importantly, this can then be shared on other social platforms.

With our work with the PlayStation Schools’ Cup, we save all of the photos and videos on our Snapchat story on the evening of one of our events with a Premier League footballer. The following morning, we then produce an edit of the best bits which we repost on the campaign’s other social media channels. Again, this doesn’t have to be a well-polished professional edit, it’s simply engaging video content offering great access (there’s that word again) and showcasing what we do and driving traffic back to Snapchat.

It’s fun! – Who doesn’t want to see a sports star with dog ears or a halo?! The numerous visual and voice lenses available on Snapchat allow viewers to see people in a light they never have before. Although it got him in a bit of trouble, Lewis Hamilton’s Snapchat exploits at the Japanese GP last year are a perfect example!

Cons

User demographic – While Snapchat has now overtaken Twitter in terms of active users, only 14% of its users are over the age of 35. So if your key target market is a young audience, you couldn’t be more in the right place! However, if it’s the older generation you’re after, it may be best to look elsewhere…

Lack of free analytics – There are several measurements you can see in the app such as unique views, screenshots and working out your story completion/fall-off rate to see how engaged people were with your content. However, beyond that, the free analytics available to brands are limited. There are companies like Snaplytics, which take this a step further and offer more detailed analytics, as well as saving you the time of doing it yourself. It will be interesting to see as Snapchat evolves, will its proposition and analytics to marketers?

Instagram Stories – The launch of Instagram Stories in the second half of 2016 has created the first real competitor for Snapchat, and brands have been quick to utilise it. Instead of having to build a brand new audience on a new channel, similar content can be produced on an existing platform in Instagram, also with the ability to add links to external websites – a big boost for marketers. However, it is much more simplistic in its approach and many are using it as a way to direct traffic back to their Snapchat – it’s a tough conundrum! Also, keep an eye out for Facebook Stories which is being rolled out in more countries and could have a big impact on marketers.

Advertising isn’t quite for everyone yet – Snapchat advertising is very much a growing market and is forecast to earn Snapchat close to $1 billion in revenue in 2017. However, while it’s accessible for everyone, not all of the advertising opportunities are affordable. Sponsored lenses are a fantastic way to reach Snapchat’s masses, with Gatorade’s Super Bowl lens (which superimposed users being drenched in a huge bucket of Gatorade, locker room celebration-style) reaching over 165 million views. Undoubtedly impressive, but at a cost of upwards of a cool $700,000.

But there is another positive…

Geofilters (geographically specific image overlays) are accessible and affordable, allowing brands/sports teams and organisations to give event attendees the chance to share photos with their branding on it. In fact, people have even started using them for their weddings!

Cost is dependent on the size of the area and the duration that the filter is active for, but brands are now able to implement this for well under £1,000.