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To Snapchat or not to Snapchat. That is not a question.

Friday, April 29, 2016 | Posted by to Online Marketing Tips, Social Media Marketing, Tools & Technology for Non-Techies, Underwire Newsletter, Web Content

#1 Teaching undergrads has taught me about Snapchat

Teaching digital marketing to third- and forth-year business students is rewarding for both the experience of teaching but also of learning.

Out of 62 digital marketing projects, the student groups resoundingly favour using Snapchat to reach 18-34 year olds. Email is not mentioned. Facebook is noted in passing. Instagram is a distant second best. 

I admit it. I was skeptical. I couldn't see how RyanAir, for example, would use Snapchat for customer service queries. And why would they? How would it be tracked and measured? We're talking about messages that are meant to be viewed once and then self destruct. There are no analytics or group login functions.

How would a local pub market its location, and why would anyone care or seek them out on Snapchat? And how would they juggle the added overhead of even more content creation and distribution.

#2 I'm an "old" 

I have a Snapchat login. It's me and Team Snapchat because none of my friends use it. That's not technically true. A few of my friends have logins. They rarely post. I know why. Snapchat is a pain to use. 

Snapchat is my version of the VCR flashing 12:00.

The interface is mindnumbing. After all those student projects were marked I made a concentrated effort to use Snapchat. To figure out the fuss. I wanted to pitch my phone from the balcony every time I struggled with the user interface. I couldn't figure out how to add people, how to share a story, what that even was or why I'd want to do that. Over the course of a week I managed to learn how to take and share photos and video, how to add doodles, how to use snapcodes and how to use stories. I see now why it's cool. 

#3 Snapchat is cinematic

Remember the old vertical hand-held camcorders? That's Snapchat. You take home movies, you hold your phone in its vertical position, and then you can doodle over the photo or video, add text captions and send privately to friends or post publicly to your story.

A story is an ongoing episode. Remember all that time we wasted as teenagers calling each other individually and re-telling the same gossipy bit of our day? A story is just that, but told to the public, and the bits and pieces (individual photos and videos) of that story disappear after 24 hours. 

#4 So, what is Snapchat?

It's a communication tool used by under 25s to share selfies, doodles and stream-of-conscious photo/video stories. 

But it's also a publishing tool for fast-cut, vertical videos with built-in functions for editing, credits and captions, and distribution. 

The vast majority of you reading this will be unmoved. In response, I turn your attention to 2007 when I patiently waited for you to join Facebook. 

#5 Should you snap?

Yes. You should care about Snapchat, even if you have no plans to use it, and especially if your market is 13-34 year olds.

  • Snapchat launched in 2011
  • 100 million daily active users
  • 18% of all US social media users use Snapchat
  • 65% of Snapchat daily users contribute content
  • 30% of US millennial internet users access Snapchat regularly
  • 8 billion daily views

What's important about those numbers? Mar 1 Snapchat hit 8 billion video views per day, according to CEO Evan Spiegel. That puts Snapchat on par with Facebook, which hit 8-billion figure in November 2015.

Now my opinion could be skewed. The top country for Snapchat usage (based on percentage of usage by online adults in each market): Ireland 

But here's why book publishers should use Snapchat now:

  • Learn, experiment, and practice while the stakes are low.
  • Media are on Snapchat. Long-lead mags like People, Vice, National Geographic, Cosmopolitan are featured in Discover, along with Mashable and BuzzFeed, Comedy Central and the Food Network. If you have content they feature in print or on tv then I would be thinking of ways to get into their channel stories. 
  • Advertisers and marketers aren't in there gumming up the works (yet) so it feels like a place for real friends and fans vs bots. 
  • Celebrities, food, fashion and travel all do well so if you are producing visually appealing nonfiction or clever YA then your audience is here.

Next week I'll post some cool examples and accounts to follow along with other tips. 

Are you on Snapchat? Share your handle or snapcode.


Monique Sherrett

Monique geeks out over Amazon's domination of the publishing landscape, SEO, data analysis and masterful marketing plans. See more posts by Monique Sherrett. You can also find her marketing tips on Twitter and YouTube.

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