We live in an age where rainbow puke and live streaming videos of Chewbacca masks can be the talk of the day. Something to be proud of? I’m not sure, but it’s the way things are. Many marketeers see the large volumes of content and people’s ever-shortening attention spans as a threat – a shame if you’ve just spent an hour brainstorming for a Facebook post that the average user might read for, say, one and a half seconds. On the other hand, it could also be viewed as an opportunity.
I know it feels like a long time ago, but in the year 2000 we had an attention span of no less than 12 seconds (source: Microsoft Insights). In 2013, our attention span was found to have decreased to eight seconds, which is less than that of a goldfish (nine seconds)! As marketeers, we’re often reluctant to acknowledge this; instead, we prefer to write long texts and make long videos. We have to face the fact that this applies to our target audiences as well. This demands a change of approach – one whereby you truly put yourself in the user’s shoes.
The solution is so-called ‘snackable content‘. Twitter was the first to grasp this, by forcing users to convey their message succinctly, in no more than 140 characters. ‘But wait a minute’, Twitter users thought. ‘We‘re smarter than that! We‘ll just post a whole load of links to our website, where people can read the whole thing in full.’ Over time, Twitter has increasingly become a listing of links – a type of news homepage. Consequently, the channel is serving its original purpose less and less. More characters, images, characters of long URLs no longer fully counted… These things raise a question mark as to the channel’s added value today.
Enterrrr…. Snapchat. Snapchat understands exactly how the average internet user consumes content. It needs to be visual, quick and – above all – fun! The initial idea was to allow users to post a photo or a video with a maximum duration of 10 seconds, and for it to be available for no longer than 24 hours. They’d witnessed the power of Twitter (quick and concise), Instagram (visual, with user-friendly filters) and the hype surrounding selfies and combined these three great elements to create a fantastic medium. And very cleverly, they prevented the use of links! Everything happens on the platform itself and, of course, mobile only.
With some 150 million active users, Snapchat has overtaken Twitter! And it’s still growing fast. What’s more, in excess of 10 billion videos are watched on Snapchat every day, which is more than both Facebook and YouTube, making it an interesting prospect for marketeers.
Create a Snapchat profile for your business today, because:
• It’s the place to be for visual storytelling
o There’s no better place to tell a story. Over the course of the day, for instance, you can take snaps of your daily activities and present them in various ways. Behind-the-scenes photos and videos are extremely popular – it really feels as though the viewer is a part of the activities.
• You have 100% organic reach
o Compare that to Facebook.
• Content creation is easier than ever
o No need for a fancy video editor or camera team. Just pick up your phone and start filming. When you’ve finished, you just take your raw, unedited video, add a filter, and post it!
There are disadvantages too, but let’s view them as challenges:
• You can only be logged in on one device at the same time
o Quite a challenge if there are several of you maintaining the account.
• No stats
o Being a data nerd, this is probably my biggest gripe. You can see how many people have viewed your Snapchat (and who they are!), but that’s about it.
• You can only get followers through cross-channel promotion of your channel
o If you go the trouble of taking snaps, it’s only logical that you want people to look at them. When it comes to attracting followers, you’re best off promoting your Snapchat account via other channels.
Okay, so you’ve created your Snapchat account. What’s next?
• Learn from others
o As you’ve no doubt understood, Snapchat has a huge number of users. Take some time observing other users, both high- and low-profile, to see how they do things. Here are a few good examples:
• Definitely use Snapchat if one of the following applies to you:
o You have a young target audience.
o Your brand is centred around action, sports, entertainment or outdoor activities.
o You work at large-scale events and in attractive locations.
• Get to grips with it straight away
o Snapchat is constantly developing, and there are new features and changes on a daily basis. The quicker you get used to using the platform, the better. Be there or be square.
o If there’s something you don’t understand, just ask your intern, the girl next door, your nephew or the child you’re babysitting. Trust me, they know.
• People first
o Make sure you appeal to people on a personal level, as this is an area where companies’ Facebook pages are often lacking. For marketeers, this represents an important opportunity. Use a single, permanent ‘snapper’ or change your protagonist / point of view on a monthly basis.
• Offer variety and diversity
o This can be difficult if you’re stuck in the office on your own, but if there’s anyone outside the office who’s enthusiastic about Snapchat, ask them to ‘snap’ for you.
• Use the features
o Geofilters: filters based on your current location. (See examples of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, below.)
o Augmented reality: when using selfie mode, press your face to apply different filters that move with your face. Seriously awesome (rainbow puke)!
o Follow stories live: snaps of users all over the world about a single event, such as King’s Day in the Netherlands, mud races or an award ceremony. Your snap may also be among them.
• Using influencers
o A familiar concept, but on Snapchat. If you have a young target audience and a good branding budget, go for it!
(Source: image from Techcrunch.com)
o Because everything posted on Snapchat is only there for a very short time, you have no way of keeping track of what you have and haven’t responded to. The fact that you can only be logged in on one device also makes it difficult.
• Displaying static products
o A complete misfit with the way people use Snapchat; it’s too impersonal.
Naturally, I’m massively excited about the prospect of advertising on Snapchat, but we’re not quite there yet. During the Facebook Marketing Congress on June 9th at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht, the Netherlands, Elja Daae predicted that it will be possible to advertise on Snapchat as from Q4 of this year. Fingers crossed!
A little sneak preview?
Sponsored filters, like these two from Nike:
Vertical, full-screen ads can also be used.
These vertical ads are shown in the following:
• Discovery: your advertisement will be positioned between the rich media content of partners/publishers, like it would be if it were published in a magazine. You could, for instance, opt for the Cosmopolitan Discovery Channel.
• Live stories: between the user-generated content. Target the live story about Father’s Day, for example.
Other variables you can incorporate in your targeting include age and location.
So far, the main disadvantage has been the fact that nothing is measurable. Furthermore, there’s no traffic possible to your website and there’s no API. We have watched Snapchat grow very quickly in a very short space of time and develop significantly. My hopes are up for them to learn and improve in these areas.
And as for this blog… I know, it’s not very ‘snackable’. Waaaaaay too long. The sentences are short, though. And you made it to the end 😉