snapchatAccording to a recent study of the investment bank Piper Jaffray, the mobile app Snapchat has overtaken Instagram as the most popular platform among US teenagers. In the trade press it is therefore already compared as the "young Facebook”, since it was also once a youth phenomenon, while today a lot of the older generation maintains profiles and posts thoughts, too.

Let’s be careful with forecasts and find out first how advertisers can present themselves there. Some case studies from the United States already show that especially with the 13- to 34-year-olds the mobile app claims to be very popular. The peculiarity is that posted videos are at most ten seconds and disappear after viewing. Thus, the appeal lies in the momentariness of the contents. Even typical chatting is possible, videos and photos can be overlaid with text and filters, so that Snapchat can be considered to be an ephemeral mixture of Whatsapp and Youtube.

Apparently, already 200 million people worldwide are using the platform, resulting in seven billion views per day. Therefore, it could already be worthwhile to place brands with matching influencers at Snapchat - like the Kardashians show us again.

Analysis instead of zest for action

Some brands use the platform as a playground to start an active dialogue with their target audience by staging scavenger hunts or allow to paint on photos. However, Snapchat provides advertisers especially with an opportunity to present themselves unadorned, which means no tenfold approved designs or perfectly taken photos, rather content should be as intuitive as the user interface of the app itself – especially since the target audience wouldn’t value the effort anyway. Hence, a brand can present itself on Snapchat more unconventional, but that alone still brings no benefit to the users.

Reasons why the Snapchat app is worthwhile for marketing are its high popularity among the young target group, besides the fact that the current situation is a great opportunity, since the competition is still asleep.  Although the global trend of Snapchat loomed for quite some time, the majority of businesses is still largely ignoring the service. While almost every social media active company has a Facebook page, just two percent use Snapchat, according to the Brandwatch blog.

Another good reason is that the audience is quite uncritical, which means that the atmosphere is casual and relaxed, leaving room for experimentation. The audience isn’t condemning anything quickly and mainly wants to be entertained. Snapchat is perfect for sharing content immediately and allow the followers to participate in real-time.

Entertain, don’t advertise

All in all that’s what marketing professionals need to keep in mind when testing Snapchat, as they will find out anyway that pure advertising is not appropriate here. Besides, since the contents are only available for a limited time, users can be animated to always check new content on the platform. Last but not least, brands that get in touch with the users directly, should present themselves personally and place no advertising. Important is that they have really something to tell. Far too many brands jump at the channel due to the hype without thinking.

According to digiday Snapchat is developing an algorithm that will act as a gatekeeper between publishers and brands and their audiences and be a curator of content like Facebook: Everybody can share content for free, but an algorithm would penalize some people and boost others. But when this will happen we will see, but publishers are typically in a better position than brands when it comes to how platforms value their contributions.

By Daniela La Marca