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Should Your Brand Care About Snapchat?

With the announcement about 3V advertising, Facebook’s unsurprisingly similar brand new photo uploader feature and a number of major brands (like Toyota) and the Presidential candidates putting some serious time, effort and money into Snapchat, a lot of clients have been asking (again) if the mobile app is right for them. With a growing user base and concerted effort to prove they’re about more than just smut and teenage sexuality, Snapchat is truly becoming a legitimate marketing channel.

Even still, it’s not right for everyone. So how do you determine if Snapchat is right for your brand. Ask yourself these simple questions

Is my target audience women, between 13 and 34 making less than $50K a year?

If you answered yes, then Snapchat may be right for you. Of Snapchat’s 200 million users, 70% of them are female, 71% are younger than 25 and 62% make less than $50,000 per year. Trendy women’s apparel brands are a great fit. High-end furniture companies, probably not. Fast and inexpensive restaurants make sense. Manufacturers of precious metals, not so much.

Snapchat Demographics

Image source: AdWeek

Do I host live events?

If yes, then Snapchat might be a good fit. It’s great for broadcasting live events and providing a sneak peek into the scenes that might not make it on prime time television. And for some audiences, it’s even a replacement for that TV. According to stats from Snapchat, up to eight times as many 13 to 34 year olds in the United States opt to view Snapchat's live stories rather than TV for similar events.

Am I able to tell stories through high-quality and compelling video content?

If you want to use Snapchat, the answer has to be “yes.” A second part to this question (or maybe the underlying question) is, “Am I willing to spend money to create these videos?” And again, the answer has to be “yes.” Producing high-quality videos that are interesting and/or provide some type of value for viewers is of the utmost importance. You have to have the right resources and the right budget to put together creative videos.

The good news for those that answered yes to this two-part question is that Snapchat videos are effective. Because Snapchat doesn’t use targeting (well, that’s kinda true, they will offer some geo and demotargeting with 3V), users are willingly viewing the content, not being forced to like on some other social media platforms. In fact, Re/code reported that Snapchat’s Live Stories can get in front of 20 million eyeballs in just 24 hours.

When users view some types of Snapchat content, they’re more likely to take action. For example, consumers who saw an ad for a movie on Snapchat were three times as likely to have seen the movie as opposed to non-Shapchatters in same demographic, according to Snapchat data.

Additionally, Snapchat states that videos are viewed more often on their platform (up to 9x the completion rate) than other channels because videos are show in a vertical format, as opposed to horizontal. Other channels and apps don’t offer vertical videos, and users rarely turn their phones horizontally to view, so they aren’t experiencing the full-screen viewing power.

Do I care about privacy for my brand and customers?

If the answer is yes (and I hope it is), you should think long and hard about using Snapchat. While they have made several claims that they’ve improved on user privacy, there are still several concerns. A recent report revealed that Snapchat does not warn users when the government requests information on them. That information may include address book contacts, usernames, phone numbers, and up to 30 days of content that hasn't yet been read by the intended recipients. To protect your own information and show customers you respect their privacy, you may want to forego using Snapchat.

Do I have a way to track performance?

Snapchat provides some basic analytics on private and public (i.e., Stories) snaps. But if you want to see more than simply views, screenshots or responses, you’re going to have to come up with your own way to measure. (Unless, potentially, you’re using 3V. I imagine they will provide more in-depth analytics reporting; however, I have not been able to find details on this yet.)

Using a vanity URL or unique discount code are two ways you could track performance of Snapchat specific actions. A unique hashtag would also help you to understand cross-channel awareness and engagement, but this still won’t show much by way of actions or conversions. Your best bet is start with your objective, then narrow down the metrics from there. If awareness or reach is your main goal, then a hashtag may do the trick. But if you’re looking to drive sales, then the vanity URL or discount code are better options.

Certainly there are a number of other criterion that should be weighed before you start snapping away. But asking yourself these five questions is a good way to begin understanding the opportunities and limitations of Snapchat to market your brand.