Eine Kreuzung in einer Großstadt mit dem Blick auf einen Wolkenkratzer, denn Fassade mit großen gelebn Flächen und dem Snapchatlogo versehen ist

Oh, snap!

10. October 2016, Editorial

More users than Facebook, faster than Twitter and even more colourful than Instagram. It makes sense for companies to be seen on Snapchat


Social Media

There are ten billion reasons to rethink things with Snapchat. Users view so many videos with the instant messaging app every day. To compare: There are eight billion Facebook users – and Facebook is used by everyone, from supermarket chains to fashion brands. So why not Snapchat as well? Disregarding user numbers for the moment, the app is seen as particularly cool, a place where it’s okay to be cheeky, and a source of completely new possibilities for spreading your own news.


Snapchat is not a trend. It is advancing to a social media classic. For all age groups!


We thought that with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on we had enough choice to fittingly present our every day life. But since Snapchat was founded almost five years ago exactly, the app continues to expand rapidly – while the relevant numbers continue to rise. Today, the company has more than 150 million users. On an average day, the app reaches almost half of all US citizens between the ages of 18 and 34! In German-speaking regions, the number of users is rising as well. Germany is one of the countries with the fastest Snapchat growth. About six percent – or, not quite five million Germans – are already using the app. And the trend: strongly rising.



Snapchat makes advertising easy. And having others do the advertising for you is fun. Once in a while.

But anyways: People think Snapchat is something for the youthful. For digital natives who can’t stay away from internet trends to save their DNA. Part of this group is the millennials (born between 1981 and 2000) who prefer to send selfies and tell 10 second stories. This group shows the strongest growth, followed by the over-35 year olds. That gives companies that want to use Snapchat free access to a particularly communicative target group. And they can allow their image to be a little looser on Snapchat. After 24 hours, any photos and videos are deleted from the app – time enough to try something new.

Naturally, no one needs a selfie where your own face has been copied into a taco. (Exactly as little as one needs seven pairs of shoes in the same colour. You just have them.) But it’s funny. Which is how 224 million Snapchat users ended up trying this special effect during a single day and connected with the food chain Taco Bell. Taco Bell developed the filter for the May 5th Mexican holiday, “Cinco de Mayo”, with Snapchat – and bought a huge advertising area and a pile of potential customers. “The content needs to be easy and funny, the platform allows sophisticated and efficient creations”, says Ryan Rimsnider, the Senior Manager for Social Strategy at Taco Bell. But that doesn’t mean that his team – including two people who are solely responsible for Snapchat – are not occupied with design ideas day and night, week after week. They are. And: Taco Bell reached 224 million people with the taco face. Within 24 hours.




In addition, the app has so-called geofilters for sale. Whoever is at a certain place can use very specific filters in addition to the regular ones. Which reminds us of a development in stationary retail where customers use the store’s app on their smartphones when shopping to receive in-store discounts. Men’s Wearhouse (an American chain for men’s clothing) created a Snapchat picture template that allows users to invite a prom date – the date of all dates – to the graduation ball. With yes/no response boxes to tick, of course. Just in time for “Promposal Day” on 11 March, the geofilter was released at 18,000 high schools. Men’s Wearhouse showed an engagement rate of 48 percent. And then, of course, companies can also run classic ads on Snapchat. A full-screen video in vertical format, ten seconds long, that – depending on the direction in which the screen is swiped – delivers more information on the product and brand. The positive numbers for Snapchat are above average, five times higher than the normal click rate to be exact, than for similar apps and websites.


It’s hard to say exactly why this is. Perhaps it’s the fascination with the moment that makes Snapchat come closer than competing platforms. One thing is clear: the usual advertising on Snapchat doesn’t work. Companies have to adapt to the format. On other channels, one can often do the same thing as always: Simply pack the poster from the analogue ad onto the digital pin wall. With Snapchat, everyone needs to reflect on how they can make their brand work in ten short seconds. Even traditional brands suddenly move away from the tried-and-true.


Snapchat has an exclusive character. Even though it basically is not an exclusive app.


Up until now it has always been: Keep new fashion collections under wraps until the models stride down the runway. Only then was it possible for the public to see what the new season would bring. At Burberry it’s been done in exactly the reverse way since 2015: A new collection emerges by first being shown to the fans on Snapchat. Bit by bit, the English fashion company reveals what it has designed. Only at the end does it present on the big stage. CEO Christopher Bailey says: “Digital is a fundamental and integral component of our company. It is simply part of the way we think.” And the way Burberry really makes use of the Snapchat platform. Snapchat becomes an exclusive club of the initiated because of the non-users who don’t even get to see the videos. And naturally, also because in 24 hours, as already mentioned, it’s gone.


The clothing line Free People does a similar thing by preparing a short preview for its fans and giving them a, so they say, unique peek into the company. “We don’t always reveal everything at once”, says marketing manager Kathryn O’Connor. “That way we have our fans’ full attention who first have to open Snapchat to find out everything.” Like basically all social media channels, it’s about strengthening the relationship between seller and customer. In a way that fits the brand. Because, no matter how cool Snapchat might be and how different the approach is on the platform, even the nestling of social networks can’t get around the generally valid rules of (internet) marketing.




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