Case Study: Snapchat Real Friends Campaign Leverages Instagram Influencer Marketing To Boost User Growth


The Snapchat Real Friends campaign has taken to the spotlight, exposing part of Snapchat’s plan to win back social media users and refocus users’ interests on “real” life. Below, we explore Snapchat’s global campaign and the immediate results of its influencer marketing efforts.

Snapchat Global Campaign Showcases #RealFriends With Instagram Influencers

It’s no secret that the flagship product of Snap Inc., Snapchat, has been having a tough time over the last few years. With Instagram’s Stories swallowing up much of the market share, top influencers have migrated in large numbers to Snapchat’s more lucrative rival.

Snapchat has, however, somewhat steadied the ship in 2019. Overall growth has been underwhelming but consistent, maintaining a solid user base of 200 million. It’s also still wildly popular among younger audiences and gaining traction among those over 25-years-old, too.


Snap has historically been fairly reluctant to conduct large marketing campaigns. Last year the company launched its first TV ad campaign, which took direct aim at Instagram in a bid to mark itself out and revitalize Snapchat in the short-form video social media scene.

This is a key strategy for Snap for 2019 after hiring two new executives in late 2018 and its first Chief Marketing Officer in April 2019 to improve its fortune in its battle with Facebook. The appointments have so far proved very successful for Snap.

Instagram Influencer Marketing Case Study: How Snapchat #RealFriends Campaign Snubs Instagram To Regenerate User Growth

Snapcaht’s global campaign, #RealFriends, seeks to take advantage of Instagram’s increasingly negative perception by users—principally, that the platform landscape is dominated by aesthetic-focused, photoshopped, posed, or otherwise inauthentic content.

This campaign push is an attempt to position Snapchat as the go-to platform for sharing real moments, and not “trying to look pretty or perfect”—as their campaign press release notes in a clear jab at Instagram.


This plays into Snapchat’s hands as the pre-eminent “feel good” app. Respondents indicate that 95% of users feel happy while using the app, more than any other social media platform.

Snap is known for having no presence on Instagram, but cleverly used the platform for their influencer marketing push. They partnered with “quote influencers” for the campaign in a hashtag takeover that began on July 29, the day before International Friendship Day.


  • Drive awareness of Snapchat as the “happy” app for users in contrast to Instagram
  • Promote engagement among followers of quote influencers and emphasize Snapchat’s “real friends” push
  • Establish a brand voice which resonates with users on other platforms as Snap tests new marketing strategies


  • Channel – Instagram
  • Influencers – Motivational and inspirational quote accounts
    • Sample of 75 influencers
    • 35 mid-tier, 27 micro, 8 nano, 3 mega, 2 macro

Preview of Influencers


  • The hashtags used were consistent among all posts, with #RealFriends and #FriendshipQuotes featured exclusively
  • Influencers uploaded one post each, a simple solid yellow square with a quotation and the Snapchat logo in the bottom-left
  • The aesthetic remained constant, though there were a wide variety of quotations
  • The post captions all used the same template, simply saying “Brought to you by Snapchat.”

Results (75 posts)

Social Reach

  • Instagram followers targeted: 13,837,430


  • Likes: 121,864
  • Comments: 1,900
  • Engagement rate (overall average): 1.25%

Poems Porn

Poems Porn is the largest account that was involved in the campaign. With 2.6 million followers, it is well within the realms of mega-influencer territory. The post features a quotation from Jim Morrison with the caption: “Brought to you by Snapchat. #RealFriends #FriendshipQuotes.” This caption format is followed by all the influencers in this case study.

The post received 23,174 likes and 239 comments for an engagement rate of 0.90%—slightly below the overall average for the campaign.

Positivity Embraced

Positivity Embraced is a micro-influencer boasting 24,000 followers. The account posts quotes almost exclusively on yellow backgrounds, meaning Snapchat’s campaign format fits nicely with the influencer’s established aesthetic style.

The post featured the campaign caption and tags with a quotation from musician Joan Jett, “You don’t lose when you lose fake friends.” The post achieved 1,021 likes and 10 comments for an engagement rate of 4.31%, the highest performer of any post in the campaign.

So She Slays

So She Slays is a mid-tier influencer with 327,000 followers. This account differs from others in that it regularly features personalities who share their stories on their affiliate website. Their post for the campaign notably also featured the same Joan Jett quotation that Positivity Embraced used, suggesting that influencers were given a choice of what to use.

In contrast to Positivity Embraced, the Snapchat promotional upload stands out strikingly on their feed—bright yellow on a mostly white, pink, and pale orange page. With 6,808 likes and 120 comments, the engagement rate was 2.17%, among the more impressive of performers.

Spiritual Awakening

Spiritual Awakening is another mid-tier influencer, with 180,000 followers. The majority of content on the account deals with positive affirmation. The sponsored post for Snapchat displays a quotation from Gandhi, with the consistent caption and tags that feature across the campaign.

With 208 likes and 2 comments, this post was the worst performer of the entire campaign, earning an engagement rate of 0.12%. By the standards of typical engagement rates found with this tier of influencers, it’s a low rate and well below the average of the campaign.


  • Snapchat is keen to raise awareness of the brand as a feel-good platform in a period when leading social media giants are receiving a lot of flack.
  • Marketing on Instagram could be the first step of more prominent campaigns that the company has shied away from in the past—it’s no coincidence this is after hiring its first CMO in April.
  • Snap Inc. is looking to build upon a recent upturn in success and differentiate itself from Instagram Stories as much as possible.
  • They want to build on the app’s popularity with younger audiences and consolidate gains among the Millennial and Gen Z demographics.

4 Ways That Brands Market With Influencers


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The Top 4 Methods Brands Use To Market With Influencers

There are dozens of different ways that brands partner with influencers. Every influencer marketing campaign is different, tailored to meet the nuanced needs of different industries, goals, platforms, content, creators, products, and more. That said, there are some key types of influencer partnerships that brands use to promote brand recognition, products, and initiatives.

By now, much of the world is familiar with the #sponsored content phenomenon. We often use “sponsored content” as a general term to describe content that has some degree of brand involvement, but not all sponsored content is the same, nor does it achieve the same types of results. To learn more about how influencer marketing campaigns take shape and how different types of campaigns accomplish different goals, here are four ways that brands market with influencers.

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Behind Facebook's Video First Growth Strategy


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The Secret Behind Facebook Stories’ Growth Strategy & Snapchat’s Demise

In roughly one year (2016 to 2017), Stories content grew 15x faster than news feed content. Stories (currently available on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Messenger) is a new type of social media and short-form photo and video content easily digestible and captured from one’s mobile phone.

Snapchat pioneered Stories in 2013 and it helped Snapchat grow incredibly fast during this period until 2016 when Facebook-owned Instagram rolled out its own version. Facebook launched Stories first on Instagram in 2016 – next came Stories for Messenger followed by Facebook’s own version of Stories and finally WhatsApp (dubbed “Status”) in 2017 (all of which are Facebook-owned social media properties)

To continue fueling its user growth (now upwards of two billion monthly active users) and attracting mobile-first younger demographics, Facebook in recent years has staked its growth strategy on a “video-first future” tied strongly to in-app camera use and activity à la Stories. See how Facebook leveraged Stories and a global user base to shut out competition (i.e. Snapchat), adapt to a changing social and digital landscape, and grow to new heights.

Continue reading “Behind Facebook’s Video First Growth Strategy”

Snapchat Earning's Performance Is Plummeting: Q1 2018 Results


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Making Sense of Snapchat’s Earnings Call

On May 1, 2018, Snap Inc. announced its Q1 2018 results. In a violent turn from its impressive Q4 2017 performance, the Snapchat parent company recorded one of its worst quarters in company history. User growth has stalled and revenue has dipped, leaving many wondering: Is Snapchat on its way to the grave?

Immediately following the announcement, Snap Inc. share prices plummeted by roughly 15%. Amidst rumors that Snapchat is dying, the disappointing quarter creates additional challenges for the app to overcome.

Here we’ll delve into Snap Inc.’s disappointing Q1 2018 results, offer insight into what factors may have contributed to its rocky start to the year, and speculate its implications for the wider influencer industry.

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Snapchat's New Insights Tool: Too Little, Too Late For Top Influencers?

snapchat insights influencers

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Top Influencers Weigh In On Snapchat’s Insights Tool & Its Support (Or Lack Thereof) For The Creator Community

Snapchat’s relationship with influencers can be boiled down into two words: it’s complicated.

Unlike competing platform YouTube, which fosters positive creator relationships through initiatives like Play Buttons, Super Chat, its annual Rewind video, and YouTube Red, Snapchat has been repeatedly criticized for failing to support influencers. As a result, many have left the platform.

However, recent events indicate that Snapchat is turning the tide with influencers. Following an extremely successful Q4 2017, Snapchat just announced a new analytics tool called Insights. The tool will provide data to influencers, giving them the information they need to grow and thrive on the platform.

Here we’ll take a closer look at Insights, examine Snapchat’s complicated history with influencers, and discuss why influencers are central to the app’s success.

Continue reading “Snapchat’s New Insights Tool: Too Little, Too Late For Top Influencers?”

More Than 1.3 Million Have Signed The Petition Against Snapchat's Redesign

snapchat redesign user growth q4

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Will Snapchat’s Redesign Stifle Its Impressive Q4 2017 Results?

Though Snapchat began as a simple app for sending disappearing images, the popular social media platform has evolved substantially over the past seven years. Since its launch in 2011, Snapchat has added a plethora of notable features in an effort to improve and monetize the service, namely Stories, Chat, and Snapchat Discover.

Despite its efforts to stay relevant, Snapchat has undeniably struggled to keep up with its competitors. In 2016, Instagram hijacked its Stories feature, drawing influencers and users alike away from Snapchat. Snapchat has also struggled to successfully integrate advertising measures, generating 6x less revenue per user than Facebook in Q3 2017.

Many have speculated that Snapchat may be dying. However, its Q4 2017 results indicate that the app still has a heartbeat. Here we’ll breakdown Snap Inc.’s recent earnings release, unpack its plan to win back users with a redesign, and examine its potential comeback in the context of influencer marketing.

Related Post: The 8 Statistics Illustrating Snapchat’s Decline

Continue reading “More Than 1.3 Million Have Signed The Petition Against Snapchat’s Redesign”