Our attention is minimal. In fact, over the course of the last ten years, the average attention span has fallen from 12 minutes to a shockingly short 8 seconds. In a world where the average consumer has a shorter attention span than a goldfish, (FYI, the average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds) marketers have to be more innovative than ever to capture and hold our attention. Couple our shrinking attention spans with the fact that humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than text and you can start to see why an app based on images and brief increments of time makes perfect sense.
Enter Snapchat, the photo messaging app that allows users to take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and share them with a controlled list of recipients. Snapchat is the virtual equivalent of attempting to read a note that’s been thrown into a furnace – one second it’s there, and the next it’s gone.
In the early days of Snapchat, the brand focused heavily on technical aspects rather than attempting to tell their story and market the app. All we knew was that the app’s mascot was called “Ghostface Chillah”, named after Ghostface Killah of the infamous hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan. (Note: the image featured here isn’t the real Ghostface Chillah, but we wish it was.)
But since then, the app has grown to be one of the most talked about social networks and the greatest threat yet to the Facebook juggernaut. With an estimated user base of more than 30 million and about 400 million snaps sent each day, Snapchat is continuing to grow and develop its brand and product, adding new features and updates that make it seem like a modern marketers dream come true.
However, because Snapchat is such a personal platform, where content is shared with a select list of recipients and is not broadcasted publicly in a feed, and because Snapchat content literally disappears after seconds, it’s a difficult platform for brands to figure out.
In the post, we’re going to look at a few reasons why brands should consider adding Snapchat to their mobile marketing mix and some strategies you can use to take your Snapchat game to the next level.
What Makes Snapchat Different
What sets Snapchat apart from other social sites? Simple. Snaps are ephemeral, or in other words they last a markedly short period of time. The Founder of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel, delivered an eye-opening keynote where he discussed the concept of ephemerality and Snapchat stating that, “Snapchat discards content to focus on the feeling that content brings to you, not the way that content looks. This is a conservative idea, the natural response to radical transparency that restores integrity and context to conversation.”
Snaps provide an instantaneous feeling that lasts only for a moment and then becomes a memory. This ephemerality creates a sense of urgency that forces people to give 1-10 seconds of their undivided attention, allowing brands the opportunity to captivate their emotions and communicate a clear message. The emphemerality of Snapchat is what drives users to open their snaps in the first place.
Why Snapchat Makes Sense for Marketers
- Shortened (and Shrinking) Attention Spans. According to an infographic entitled “How Social Media is Ruining Our Minds,” our excessive multitasking and tiny attention spans has led to 25% of us forgetting the names or details of close friends and relatives and 7% of us forgetting our own birthdays from time to time. However, the urgency created by a fleeting snap has the ability to cut through the attention crisis, even if only for a few seconds.
- Human Interaction Breeds Brand Loyalty. Human interaction is key to building a loyal base of consumers. If you can connect with a small group of brand advocates and inspire them to tell your story, they will become your marketers. Snapchat allows for two-way conversations between the individual and the brand and this one-on-one experience has the power to yield very high engagement.
- Visual Marketing is Here to Stay. Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA, conducted research in the 1960s indicating that 93% of communication is nonverbal. Combine that with the research conducted by 3M corporation finding that we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and it’s clear to see that visual marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Adding Snapchat to Your Marketing Mix
The following strategies are examples of how brands are currently leveraging the power of Snapchat by adding it to their mobile marketing mix.
- Make it rain coupons. Sending coupon snaps to customers not only rewards their loyalty but provides them with incentive to come back for more. Coupon snaps also give people a reason to open your snaps on a regular basis. If you’re sending solid discounts and deals to people who follow you on Snapchat, you have a chance to really start driving sales. Make sure your snaps provide a prominent call to action that will create excitement. Take 16 Handles for example. The frozen yogurt chain deployed this strategy in their first Snapchat campaign and within days of the campaign launch had exchanged more than 1,400 images with users and built a user list to which they could send future deals and coupons.
- Reel ’em in with giveaways. Giveaways can put you in touch with new customers and generate leads. Asking your followers to do something that will be rewarded with free products benefits both the brand and the individual. Look at GrubHub’s week-long “SnapHunt” (Snapchat scavenger hunt). This online food delivery company invited consumers to take part in a daily challenge for a chance at winning $50 of free food.
- Offer inside intelligence. Secrets, secrets are no fun. Wait a minute…yes, they are. Everyone wants the inside scoop and nobody likes feeling left out. Use Snapchat to give your followers a preview of your latest products. This can generate buzz about a new product release and build customer loyalty by making followers feel like you trust them enough to share your secrets with them. This strategy has been used by brands on Snapchat including Taco Bell and Acura. Taco Bell used it to unveil their new Beefy Crunch Burrito, while Acura introduced their new NSX Prototype with a six-second snap sent to the first 100 people who added the brand on Snapchat.
- Party like it’s 1999 all the time. Snaps of a holiday greeting with a promo code attached is a great way to keep your brand top of mind with customers during any holiday season. But you don’t have to wait for major holidays to send out these festive snaps. We’re all looking for a reason to celebrate anyway. So, engage with your fans in a new and interesting way by looking for lesser-known holidays like National Siblings Day or Talk Like a Pirate Day and use Snapchat to extend the celebration to your customers.
- Take advantage of Snapchat stories. In October 2013, Snapchat launched a new feature called Stories that allows users to combine photo and video snaps to create a narrative. These Stories live for 24 hours before disappearing. Stories are a huge untapped opportunity for brands, allowing them the ability to share a deeper more immersive experience with fans. Intel recently leveraged the power of Snapchat Stories by giving fans a quick tour of the Intel Museum through a series of snaps. Another way to take advantage of Stories is to record a short teaser video that sends traffic to your YouTube channel by adding a final snap to your Story that includes your channel URL.
Mobile apps are turning traditional marketing upside down and challenging brands in increasingly new ways. Snapchat may not be the holy grail of mobile marketing but it does give you inexpensive access to customers, and if done right, Snapchat can fit seamlessly into your mobile marketing strategy and provide a high ROI. Remember: If you’re considering adding Snapchat to your mobile marketing mix, please (PLEASE) let your fans know. Use your other social sites to announce that you’re going to be on Snapchat. This seems easy, but it could easily fall through the cracks.
Have you received any cool snaps from your favorite brands? Would you be willing to open a snap for a brand you don’t follow? Let us know, we’d love to hear!