Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vine have all amassed enormous audiences over the last decade (Facebook alone claims 1.59 billion users worldwide), but in recent years, the disappearing photo and video app Snapchat has been making big waves in the social media scene. Since is was launched in 2011, Snapchat has grown to approximately 200 million active users and now boasts 8 billion video views a day, making it an ideal platform for marketers looking reach young, attentive consumers through influencer marketing partnerships or the app’s native advertising services (see more remarkable Snapchat statistics here).
In a wildly successful marketing effort, Coachella took to Snapchat, the millennial platform of choice, to showcase their event to millions of targeted, future festival goers worldwide. With Coachella, Snapchat demonstrated its intense appeal to Millennials and flexed its social media marketing muscle in one of the largest user-generated live broadcasting displays.
Though Coachella’s attendance was just over 300,000 per weekend (the music festival takes place over two consecutive weekends), over 40 million people from around the world were able to experience the sights and sound of one of the U.S.’s most popular music events thanks to images and movies captured by festival-going Snapchatters and compiled to create a “Story”—Snapchat’s term for a collection of user-generated content from a single event, game, concert, or party (LA Times).
According to Snapchat exec Ben Schwerin, Stories draw average audiences of 20 million during their 24-hour lifespan—that’s more than most network television shows. By interspersing 10-second ads (which go for about $.02 per view, according to Re/code) throughout the Stories of events like Coachella, Snapchat is able to give brands access to millions of young users and practically guarantee 100% visibility.
To encourage Coachella Snapchatters to document their experience (and thus provide Snapchat with the user-generated content needed to stitch together the Coachella Story), the app created special Coachella filters that could only be used by those attending the festival. Not only did these unique overlays help communicate where each user was or what band they were watching, the filters also created a sense of exclusivity that fueled engagement and helped Snapchat’s Coachella Story become one of the most exciting social events of the year (TechCrunch).
Snapchat’s ability to showcase a genuine, user-generated experience is one of the reasons why the app has exploded in popularity, especially with younger users who now distrust traditional advertising and take their social cues from today’s most popular (and seemingly authentic) social media personalities. For brands, finding a way to emulate this authenticity, either by purchasing ads during a popular Snapchat Story or collaborating with Snapchatters and other social media influencers to create engaging content, is crucial for reaching and developing a report with millennial and post-millennial consumers.
Snapchat’s success (in terms of both reach and engagement) with the Coachella Story is opening up new doors for marketers who now see endless advertising and influencer marketing partnership opportunities on the fast-growing social platform. To make sure that both brands and users remain interested, Snapchat has implemented several new features (such as “Snapchat Discover” which allowed users to find new related content) and is currently looking for ways to optimize and better measure Snapchat marketing campaigns.
For companies, Snapchat advertising and influencer marketing partnerships provide an effective way to reach the elusive under-35 demographic, a market that rarely watches television and spends hours a day on social media.
The large audience that Snapchat’s Coachella content attracted proved Snapchat’s viability as a marketing powerhouse in the eyes of big brands like Coca-Cola and Samsung, both of which have signed advertising deals with the company. For this year’s NFL Championship, big-name brands like Marriott, Budweiser, Pepsi and Amazon all partnered with Snapchat to create video ads from these sponsors that ran during the incredibly successful Super Bowl 50 Story.
From both a user and marketing standpoint, the future of Snapchat is bright. The company is enhancing the user experience by creating ways to increase engagement through Stories and features like Discover, and as more users join, share, and engage, Snapchat marketing and advertising campaigns have the potential to reach millions.
Collaborating with Snapchat influencers to create branded or sponsored content is another effective way that companies can reach thousands or millions of users; many of the world’s biggest brands have already leveraged the fanbase of popular Snapchatters to increase brand awareness or grow their own brand channels through Snapchat Takeovers.
For more information on top Snapchat influencers, read our article here.
Though many marketers discounted Snapchat’s potential in the beginning, it now looks like the platform is here to stay. With international reactions like the recent one toward the Coachella Story and new ways to implement and measure Snapchat advertising campaigns, the fledgling social media platform could one day dominate the digital marketing sphere.