Since its release in September 2011, Snapchat has become a mainstream social networking platform due to its emphasis on mobile dominance, user privacy and appeal to younger audiences. On any given day, according to Nielson Media Impact, Snapchat reaches 41% of all 18 to 34 year-olds in the United States, a demographic big name brands such as Spotify, McDonalds, Taco Bell and Gatorade have been quick to capitalize on.
But recently Snapchat, Inc. has taken steps to make their service more accessible to businesses of all sizes, which has caused individuals who own small and medium-sized businesses to be confronted with the question, “Is now the right time to utilize Snapchat for my business?” The answer: if you are willing to experiment.
How Snapchat Works
Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to send videos and pictures (known as “snaps”) to their contacts. Once contacts view a snap sent to them, the snap only last from one to 10 seconds, a time that is determined by the sender. In addition, Snapchat users can post snaps to their “Snapchat Story” for their contacts to view over the course of 24 hours before they disappear.
In this way, Snapchat capitalizes on the consumer fear of missing out while simultaneously propelling itself to continuously add new features and functions, particularly in the marketing sphere. So far, Snapchat has grown to include five marketing features – SnapAds, Sponsored Geofilters, Sponsored Lens, Discover Channels and Live Channels – one of which is available to small and medium-sized businesses at this time. A brief overview of each feature is given below.
- SnapAds are full-screen, vertical mobile video ads that run up to 10 seconds between Snapchat users stories. Currently, SnapAds are only available to select brands.
- Sponsored Geofilters are tied to geographic locations and are digital stickers that overlay snaps. For example, when a Snapchat user is near or in a McDonalds restaurant, he or she can take a picture and overlay it with illustrations of french fries and hamburgers before sending the image to contacts or posting to their Snapchat Story. Snapchat, Inc. only recently allowed small business and individuals to purchase On-Demand Geofilters, which is a topic covered in more detail below.
- Sponsored Lens utilize facial recognition to change the appearance of a Snapchat user’s face. For example, during the 2016 Super Bowl, Gatorade created a lens that allowed users to record a video of themselves while a virtual cooler of Gatorade was dumped over their heads. Gatorade wanted to encourage everyone to celebrate like the pros and their lens had over 165 million views.
- Discover Channels are open to select publisher and media brands, such as CNN, MTV and Buzzfeed, and feature editorial content that Snapchat users can explore.
- Live Channels are composed of user-generated content from events and locations around the world. The snaps featured on Live Channels are curated by Snapchat, Inc. and can be seen either by event attendees, national Snapchat audiences or global Snapchat audiences.
Snapchat is developing and expanding rapidly and – of the five marketing elements listed above – On-Demand Geofilters is the latest avenue of marketing available to small and medium-sized businesses. But first, you will need to visit https://www.snapchat.com/download to download the Snapchat App and set up an account for your business.
How to Create On-Demand Geofilters for Your Business
After you have set up a Snapchat account, you can visit https://www.snapchat.com/on-demand to design, map and buy an On-Demand Geofilter. The following four steps will get you headed in the right direction as you think about promoting the events, products and services of your business.
- Upload an Asset – You will need to design and upload a 1080 wide x 1920 tall web-optimized .PNG with a transparent background to be used as your On-Demand Geofilter. While creating, be sure to check Snapchat, Inc.’s submission guidelines at https://geofilters.snapchat.com/submission-guidelines to ensure quick approval.
- Choose Your Dates – Next, you will need to decide what dates and how long your On-Demand Geofilter will be active, with options ranging from a few hours to 30 days.
- Choose an Area – To choose where your On-Demand Geofilter will be active, you will select the location on Google maps. This area – known as a “Geofence” – must be between 20 thousand and 5 million square feet.
Once your On-Demand Geofilter has been approved and goes live, Snapchat provides basic reporting metrics for the Uses and Views of your On-Demand Geofilter, allowing you to monitor its success. In sum, On-Demand Geofilters are easy to create and are cost effective while being an extremely engaging and sharable form of marketing.
How to Experiment on Snapchat
Now that you have a Snapchat account for your business and know how to get started utilizing On-Demand Geofilters, here are a few ways you can begin to experiment with this new realm of marketing.
- Promote Your Events – What better way to promote your business’s event than by having event attendees take and send snaps to their contacts while utilizing your On-Demand Geofitler? For example, let’s say you are planning to open a new clothing boutique. In addition to promoting the grand opening of your business with traditional media, you can create an On-Demand Geofilter that is live throughout the day of the grand opening. As customers come to your boutique, you tell them your business is on Snapchat and encourage customers to snap the news to others with your one-of-a-kind On-Demand Geofilter. This enables you to simultaneously spread the word about the grand opening, market new products and services and build Snapchat contacts for future marketing endeavors.
- Offer Coupons and Giveaways – Let’s say after a few months of successful business for your clothing boutique, you decide to promote a buy-one-get-one jewelry sale exclusively through Snapchat. To do so, you create a snap detailing the sale and instructing your contacts to screenshot the image and present it during their next visit to qualify for the deal. This type of marketing strategy works to incentive customers while increasing daily sales.
- Demonstrate New Products & Feature Behind-the-Scene Footage – Another way to promote your business is to post snap videos to your business’s Snapchat Story that detail new products and show exclusive, behind-the-scene footage of daily operations. Doing so can help build the credibility and transparency of your business and encourage customers to snap their feedback to you, which helps humanize your brand and strengthen brand loyalty.
Given the popularity of this social networking platform and the steps Snapchat, Inc. has taken to make their service more accessible to small and medium-sized businesses, it is clear to see that mobile dominance is here to stay. As with any new technology, there is always a learning curve and utilizing Snapchat for your business is no different. However, the sooner you are willing to familiarize yourself with the unknown, the better prepared you will be for future marketing trends.
If you need help getting your business started on Snapchat, please give Absolute a call at 701-478-1111 and ask to speak with a marketing advisor or visit absolutemg.com/contact.