Since the launch of 3V Advertising back in June 2015, marketers have been trying to figure out just how to leverage Snapchat.
The leap from traditional advertising to the narrow parameters required for this app-based social network has been much more difficult than it ever was for social media or content marketing. There are several ways Snapchat is still tripping up marketers across the board.
Snapchat Video Is A Whole Different Medium
Snapchat’s marketing for its video ads (dubbed 3V for “video, vertical [orientation] and views”) claims that over 60 percent of 13- to 34-year-old Smartphone users are Snapchatters and that eight billion videos are viewed every day on their service. Although analytics can show that 37 percent of users are 18- to 24-years-old and 26 percent are 25- to 34-years-old, until recently, the audience Snapchat had to offer marketers was far from specific.
Originally, the 3V videos could be targeted by a particular live story using the “Live Story” feed, through branded “Discover” channels or filtered by location or gender. However, in February 2016, Snapchat partnered with Nielsen to provide more detailed analytics for marketers — and although it has yet to claim this data will also help marketers better tune into tailored audiences, that may be the next step. If so, Snapchat could quickly become as valuable a tool as Facebook and Instagram for reaching a targeted audience.
Even if targeting is improved, a massively unsettling problem for marketers remains: the lifespan of their videos on the Snapchat platform. Materials there are designed to be a one and done, or at most, surviving for a mere 24 hours before they’re erased forever. Traditional brand marketing may find these short-lived videos expensive and problematic, which is why so many marketing experts are already dismissing Snapchat as a viable marketing vehicle.
Snapchat and Direct Response
Where Snapchat may fail brand marketers is the very area where may find itself at a huge advantage.
Unlike marketing that relies on repetition and message recognition for success, direct response marketing can elicit an action right away, even in the limited time frame Snapchat allows. For those difficult to reach millennials and even the under-18 crowd, Snapchat might be an excellent vehicle to generate sales and sign-ups.
However, you’ll have to find some other way to move your viewers from Snapchat to your website or social selling platform because as of now, these marketing pieces do not support outgoing links. It’s not going to be as simple as a “click here” or “sign up now.” You’ll have to actively direct Snapchatters to an off-system sales funnel, which may be tricky.
The Data Caveat
Even teamed with Nielsen, the data you’re able to mine from Snapchat may be relatively useless.
Why is this? Well, as of now, it disappears when your ad does. There’s no long-term archive for analytics, they’re simply there and then gone. If you’re not actively watching your Snapchat account, a lot of good data may get away. Hopefully, Snapchat will do something about this as more marketers balk at the idea of losing all that valuable information because they happened to be sleeping or in a meeting when a promotion ended.
Testing Out New Formats
The original 10 second 3V ad isn’t the only way to reach the Snapchat audience.
The company is currently testing ads that allow text, images and GIFs, as well as spots as long as 90 seconds. There’s also an option for brands to purchase geofilters, images that can be overlaid on user-generated photos to indicate their participation at an event or visit to a particular area. These tools are definitely more brand-oriented, but a mixed brand and direct response campaign may be able to leverage them together to make Snapchat marketing really snap.
Although Snapchat isn’t in most marketers top five social media outlets, as it matures as an advertising medium, it should be. Snapchat might not be ready for your marketing campaign today, but watch this space because they’re making the right moves to create a marketing platform that’s going to be a very big deal.