Snapchat has increasingly become a topic of discussion among brands in terms of driving business value and ROI. It has evolved since our initial evaluation of it in 2014, citing it’s lack of data tracking and its ephemeral nature, but it still has some gaps to fill. Our team has some strategic ideas around optimizing the platform currently and some that could hopefully come to life in the near future. You can view the complete list of insights here and below:
#1 If Snapchat can provide full transparency on users of their service, advertising can be done in an appropriate and highly focused manner. The data can be anonymized to respect privacy, while still achieving targeting goals. This data must be accessible to the brands advertising. It cannot be held only by Snapchat, since it is critical for planning.
- IDEA — Open up a limited API, ala Facebook’s 30 days of data – brands must be able to access anonymized data to plan. Facebook has shown the way on how to do this and still preserve the integrity of the data.
#2 – Work with brands to develop relationships with Snapchat Stars – we all know the power of influencers. The stories feature of Snapchat is where influencers are emerging that have major impact for a brand. These stars are similar to what is occurring on YouTube, Vine, Instagram and other channels. For example, if BRAND X focused on beauty brands and emerging influencers for make-up tips, how- to’s for skin care and other related topics, this increases authenticity, supports the drivers of Snapchat traffic and helps your brand understand who has influence in Snapchat vs. other channels.
- IDEA– Enable a brand to work directly with influencers in a category – this leads to more targeted earned and paid media; it helps the influencers gain additional influence; and it adds much needed authenticity for any advertiser. It is widely believed that advertising alone will not be accepted by the Snapchat audience, so new models of partnership are key to success.
#3 – Create a “Snap to Buy” feature – we need ROI. If Snapchat creates a “snap to buy” feature where users can purchase products or download important buying information for later use, we can better track funnel activity. This can work for a brand by partnering with emerging stars, “map” them discussing a topic, provide the option to buy direct (within the chat), and deliver directly or to a local outlet. For consumables, this scenario could generate simple couponing or co-marking opportunities.
#4 – Develop new content partnerships between talent, media networks and brands – a traditional ad won’t work in Snapchat. However, new models can open up opportunities. In other words, brands will sponsor other brands. Snapchat’s new media service called Discover, which will host branded propertieis for Yahoo, People, Cosmopolitan, the Food Network, Daily Mail, Vice, CNN and others.
- IDEA – an example can be given for a TV show and a BRAND X brand. BRAND X works with the talent on a TV show. The talent on this show then Snapchats on a key topic that also includes the BRAND X brand. This would be a powerful way to integrate great content, keep the topic aligned with Snapchat user’s interests and work in a brand appropriately.
#5 – Innovate in geo-location – Snapchat is already innovating with picture filters automatically uploaded from your location. Since interaction with geo-location based content is already accepted by Snapchat users, we think of new ways to build value.
- IDEA 1– this is purely a matter of creativity. We could create a contest based on geo-location use of certain backgrounds. Once a certain level of use is reached, prizes are made available. New filters that are highly topical could be provided by BRAND X brands, e.g. Olympics and any sports-related shots for certain sports, however the backgrounds feature the local athletes for that user to make it more personal. Or BRAND X sponsors Movember with idea that men are all shaving in the near future. And on and on.
- IDEA 2 – align Snapchat content from brands down to the store level. If the retail networks of a country are aligned to geo-location, BRAND X can offer unique content and coupons/offers at the zip code level and you can snap to buy and it goes right to your closest store.
#6—Improve how “Stories” is handled within Snapchat – the “Stories” experience does not appear integrated with how users typically use the app, which is to interact with friends.
- Stories are essentially paid content from brands in the Snapchat app
- Most of the time, people use Snapchat to interact with friends
- Stories do not appear “inline” when you interact with friends, but rather only if you go to Explore —> Discover in the app, which is a couple clicks off the beaten path
- This is like moving paid content on cnn.com off the front page and into a section called “Paid Content”
- If brands are having success, that’s what matters — but it’s an odd way to integrate paid
#7 – Partner with users to create a “brand studio” – populate the studio within Snapchat with brand content (images, video, quotes and other content) that can be used by anyone. And encourage users to add their own ideas, make requests and participate in making each brand studio as cool as it can be.
- IDEA – co-create content with communities directly.
Innovative ways brands are using Snapchat:
- Call of Duty executed a Snapchat stunt that teased the next Call of Duty 3 game and encouraged customers to follow their account by placing the Snapchat ghost through the maps.
- Taco Bell has been one of the most followed brands since April 2014. The brand launched the Doritos Locos Taco by uploading a 10 second Snapchat video during the MTV Movie Awards. Their profile garnered 70,000 right after that.
- Snapchat recently launched filters specific to employee dissatisfaction in an attempt to poach new tech talent. These filters displayed for users in or around the Uber, Pinterest and Twitter Headquarters, which showcased extensibility beyond marketing and into the human resources function.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
All the best,