Marketing in Ten Seconds or Less? …Oh Snap.


The millennial generation has become accustomed to a touch-screen-world at their fingertips and they needed something more. But what can you offer consumers that have everything? It’s simple. Give them what they want, but change the terms of how it’s given.

Enter Snapchat. Snapchat frames its peer-to-peer photo messaging with a sense of urgency- meaning photos users share and exchange won’t last forever. We can imagine that an app of this nature is not always used for the most innocent purposes.  For example, a photo message with a finite lifespan provides a level of excitement only comparable to a secret agent’s next mission plan; set to self-destruct within five seconds of being read.

The new messaging app enables users to “snap” pictures or videos, add captions and finger doodles, set a time limit for how long the message can be viewed, and then send it away. Once the recipient opens the message, the countdown begins, eventually vanishing, never to be viewed again.

We know what you’re asking, “Photo sharing without the consequences of image immortality?” Yes. The lack of consequences seems to be the main point of attraction for users so accustomed to having their content and privacy violated.

Although this app is ideal for sharing ridiculous selfies or other NSFW content, advertisers have been hard at work trying to leverage a marketing advantage. In terms of its potential, 8 million active users indicate a clear opportunity to reach a market segment otherwise moving too quickly to catch up with.

A recent Adweek article (Adweek) discusses interesting ideas for marketing campaigns using Snapchat, many of which embrace the humorous or adult nature of the app.

Possibilities included Victoria’s Secret; sending risqué snaps featuring images of their models with easy to remember coupon codes that disappear after a matter of seconds. These coupons would be sent to men in order to encourage gift purchases for their ladies during the holidays.

Another potential campaign idea was for the Las Vegas tourism board, embracing the slogan “What Happens in Vegas,” to offer prizes to the Snapchat user who sent the best video of their personal Vegas experience. Yowza.

There are many hypothetical Snapchat campaigns that have potential, but there are also several examples of companies that have already used the app with great success.

One such example is 16 Handles, a chain of frozen yogurt establishments in New York. The chain’s Snapchat campaign prompted existing Facebook fans to send pictures of their frozen yogurt in return for coupons giving them 16%, 50% or 100% off.

The campaign carried an element of surprise as the fleeting nature of the coupons ensured that participants weren’t able to see what they had received until they were at the cash register. This campaign made excellent use of all aspects of the platform and resulted in more than 1,400 customer interactions.

Millions use Snapchat around the world and if marketing agencies can create unique and engaging ways to utilize the channel’s exciting sense of urgency, leveraging a hard-to-reach millennial demographic may be worth it. We find it interesting to observe the evolution of user behavior across all social media marketing channels and how big competitors rise to the competition.