With over 7 billion video views per day and a user base of close to 200 million, Snapchat is becoming the go-to platform for companies and organizations looking for new ways to increase brand awareness and target younger, engaged audiences. As Snapchat’s popularity increases with brands (see our aggregate list of brands marketing on Snapchat here) and competition for Snapchat’s audience becomes more fierce, savvy marketers hoping to capitalize on Snapchat’s extensive reach must find new and innovative ways to connect with Millennials leery of traditional advertising.
For inventive brands, the solution to these obstacles may come in the form of an effective new strategy called a Snapchat Takeover.
A Piper Jaffray survey via WSJ shows Snapchat is more popular among teens than Facebook
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A Snapchat Takeover is when a brand allows a social media influencer to “take over” the brand’s Snapchat account and create a story from the YouTuber, Instagrammer, Viner, or Snapchat star’s unique perspective. Takeovers typically last a few hours or an entire day, and the digital influencer enlisted to commandeer the brand channel prefaces the takeover by asking fans across all their social media channels to watch his or her story on the sponsoring brand’s Snapchat account.
By leveraging the attention of their audiences (oftentimes in the millions of fans, followers, and subscribers) and, in many cases, capturing new audiences and exposing them to an exclusive experience or behind-the-scenes look, social media stars can increase brand exposure and grow a brand’s Snapchat followers exponentially.
Step 1: Establish Goals. Before developing the campaign or approaching a popular Snapchatter, brands should determine what they want to accomplish from their Snapchat takeover. Goals, objectives, and key performance indicators (KPIs) such as “increase Snapchat followers” or “drive awareness for a product launch” should be delineated and measurable.
Step 2: Find the Right Influencer. Finding the right social media star to host the Snapchat Takeover is more complex than simply reviewing vanity metrics (e.g. number of followers, impressions), though these baseline metrics are useful in forecasting a campaign’s reach. To determine if a Snapchatter is a good fit for your brand, we recommend watching their stories, assessing their existing audience engagement across other social channels, and reviewing the demographics of their audience as well.
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Step 3: Coordinate with Selected Influencer(s). Prior to the Snapchat Takeover, develop a campaign outline and review your brand messaging with the social media star. If you have something specific you want to promote, like an event or new product, be sure the “host” has access to any copy points that must be mentioned at some point in the story. Remember: authenticity is key to a successful Snapchat takeover, so overly scripted material should be avoided whenever possible.
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Step 4: Plan The Date and Time. Schedule the Takeover to occur when the Snapchatter’s engagement is highest, and be sure to allow enough time (1-2 weeks) to promote the campaign. Pro tip: Planning your brand’s takeover around exclusive events, product launches, or unique experiences is a great way to generate buzz and increase user engagement.
Step 5: Promote The Takeover. Both the social media influencer and the brand should promote the Takeover extensively across all social channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and on the brand’s website) in the weeks and days leading up to the campaign.
Step 6: The Takeover. Give the Snapchatter access to your brand’s Snapchat channel so they can create their story. Watch the campaign as it unfolds to make sure the message is consistent with your brand. Record any engagement that occurs.
Step 7: Document. Screenshot “snaps” and download the story within 24 hours of the beginning of the Takeover. Snapchat erases all stories within 24 hours, so don’t forget to document your campaign.
For Snapchat users—many of whom are younger and have no patience for overtly branded content or Snapchat’s native advertising—Snapchat Takeovers offer brands a way to authentically connect with audiences and increase brand awareness in a way that feels like entertainment, not marketing.
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Because Snapchat doesn’t currently have a way for users to find new channels, Snapchat Takeovers are also an efficacious way for brands to grow their followers and gain exposure to the host’s (e.g. YouTuber, Viner, Instagrammer, or Snapchat star) engaged audience.
Lastly, Snapchat’s storytelling format lends itself exceptionally well to covering events and other exciting brand developments. As such, many companies are now using the platform’s short, compelling videos to give audiences an intimate experience that would otherwise be impossible to create.
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As Snapchat’s reach continues to expand, brands like AT&T, Chobani, Bud Light, and others are developing Snapchat Takeovers to target the platform’s young, engaged audiences. Brands that have effectively executed a Snapchat Takeover include:
The popular women’s clothing retailers let their famed “Angels” take control of their Snapchat. The resulting campaign gave Victoria’s Secret’s audience a behind-the-scenes look at models’ lives and treated fans to an exclusive look at Victoria’s Secret’s new bra.
Popular cosmetics and fragrance producer Shiseido partnered with lifestyle and beauty blogger Jen Chea (@frmheadtotoe) to promote their products to Jen’s engaged followers. The Takeover campaign was an overwhelming success, garnering over 100,000 impressions on Shiseido’s Snapchat brand channel.
When Viner Logan Paul was put in charge of Sour Patch Kids’ Snapchat brand channel for the day, the social media star used the Takeover to document a day with a life-sized Sour Patch Kid. As expected, the content was hilarious and engaging.