All Aboard the Snapchat Bandwagon! 5 Hacks to Unleash Your Communication Potential On Snapchat

Not too long ago, there was a new kid on the block. Students of Stanford University brainstormed on the idea of launching an application based on the concept of capturing the little moments of life. This led them to develop “Picaboo” in July 2011. The app worked on the principles that a message or a photograph will only be accessible for a short period of time.  Initially launched as an iOS-only app from Spiegel’s living room, Picaboo was relaunched 2 months later as  Snapchat. Over time it added several attractive features to its app – Geo Filters that detect your location and offer you a filter related to your city, Discover Timelines that update you on what various brands are doing everywhere, and Lenses that let users have fun with Augmented Reality.

Snapchat currently  appeals to customers between 18 and 25, and is seen as the perfect way for brands to reach out to them. The Discover feature has evolved as a curated news platform and hosts a variety channels like CNN, Buzzfeed and Vogue. Brands are leveraging this by creating  10 second ads  and putting them up on the channel most relevant to them. A sports shoe brand would probably get its video up on the ESPN channel. Recently Snapchat has also introduced “Snap Ads” that appear between Stories. This feature further validates the fact that Snapchat is moving towards becoming an important advertising platform.

Here are 5  ways to take complete advantage of these cool features and leave your mark in the Snapchat world:

1. Choose Your Channel Wisely

A study conducted by Nielsen Media Lab establishes that brands that are linked to channels and content that are of more relevance to them have 30% higher chances of creating the desired impression than those surrounded by content of no interest to their audience. One of the best examples of companies getting their placement right is BMW. It pulled a smart move by sponsoring CNN when it went live on Snapchat, and users were welcomed by BMW’s logo CNN’s introduction animation. CNN appeals to millennials through a brash and conversational tone. Most of its stories give users a glimpse into what interests them like automobiles, travel and different cuisines. Thus, it made sense for BMW to advertise its i3 model, an all-electric comparatively lesser priced car that would appeal to the millennials willing to splurge, on CNN.

2. Be Interactive- Time for some Gamification!

One of the most effective ways to leave your mark in the social media world is to meet your users half way. Giving them cues to interact with you is the best to way to grab their attention and Gatorade got that right! Gatorade has been a sponsor for the US Open for quite some time now. It took advantage of its association (in the right way) and launched an 8-bit 22 level game called “Serena Match Point” on the app, that got users hooked. a study by AdAge claimed that the average time spent playing the game was more than 3 minutes per user. Now that’s what you call some next level marketing!

3. Talk About What Your Snapchat Users Really WANT to Hear

A Snapchat user would most typically be a easy going 22-year old, who would check his snaps to have a good laugh. Thus, the tone of the brand advertising on this platform should be in line with what users would expect to see. T-Mobile perfectly understood the user’s psyche and based its “Don’t lose what you don’t use” campaign on this very premise.  The brand reached out to Snapchat users through jokes that they could relate to, and its entire campaign about losing things was also in line with the ephemeral nature of the app.

4.  Keep a Look Out for Special Events

It helps to take advantage of any major event around the corner as users will be scouting their social media profiles to get a glimpse of what is happening around them. Sony Pictures saw a major opportunity during the Summer Olympic Games of 2016 and became an official advertising partner on Snapchat. They ran a 360-degree marketing campaign on social, television and digital platforms to promote the release of “The Angry Birds Movie” for the whole of the 2 weeks. The company ran several Snap Ads to engage the users.

5. Update and Re-Purpose Your Content

Starting any sort of campaign from scratch can be an expensive proposition, and it might just defeat the purpose of going digital to save on costs. Brands can carry previously created content forward on Snapchat and extend their campaigns. Athletic wear company Under Armour smartly extended its “It Comes from Below” to Snapchat and launched 10 second Snap Ads and a game. They launched the Ads on sport related channels like ESPN and viewers just had to swipe up to play it. The game revolved around making Cam Newton, the face of the campaign, complete his fitness regime instead of just watching him.

Today Snapchat faces a major threat from one of its arch rivals- Instagram! In June 2016 Instagram launched a near clone of the ephemeral feature offered by Snapchat. Yes, Instagram DOES seem to have a larger reach as compared to Snapchat. However, both these platforms cater to different demographic segments. Snapchat most typically would have your 18 to 25 year old millennials and Instagram appeals to a wider audience. Thus, brands need to keep the distinction in mind and zero down on their medium based on their objectives. By the looks of it, Snapchat differs from other platforms in terms of interface, demographic target groups etc. Whether this could mean the end of the innocent app that pioneered the idea of living in the moment, only time will tell!

Further Reads:

6 Ways Brands Can Advertise On Snapchat


The Ultimate Guide to Snapchat Marketing

The Snap Generation: A Guide to Snapchat’s History




3 thoughts on “All Aboard the Snapchat Bandwagon! 5 Hacks to Unleash Your Communication Potential On Snapchat

  1. A great reminder for marketers about the importance of keeping up with the changing preferences and behaviors of customers

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