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A Snappy Look at SnapChat

By Corrie Oberdin   •   25 March, 2014



A Snappy Look at SnapChat

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or have no contact with anyone under the age of 25), you’ve probably heard of Snapchat. Snapchat is a mobile app that lets users take photos, record videos, append them with messages or drawings and send to a select group of users.  Messages are only available for between 1 and 10 seconds, and then supposedly are deleted (though there are ways to save pictures, from taking a screenshot of the photo).

Probably best known for its lack of user security, and the prevailing sentiment that people use it for sending pictures to others that you probably don’t want your mom to see, Snapchat has gotten a bad rap over the last year. However, did you know that it has a small, but fledging, base of marketers trying to tap the elusive teen market?

Over the past year, larger companies with a teen target base, including Taco Bell, Wet Seal, Juicy Couture, HBO’s Girls and McDonalds have jumped on the Snapchat bandwagon. However, these companies aren’t (for the most part) using Snapchat’s “private” messaging feature. Instead, they are using “Stories” – a new feature introduced that lets users string together multiple snaps to tell a story, which is then featured for 24 hours.  Stories can go to everyone who follows you, which is attractive to brands who may not want to engage in one-on-one message with followers.

Below are a sample of how some of the brands using Snapchat are engaging with customers.  However, at present, there are no Snapchat metrics and few ways to measure impact, so marketers using the channel have to be creative in determining whether or not their time is well spent.

A Taco Bell Snap from Stories, promoting breakfast products
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A Snap from a recent WetSeal story, driving user engagement


Whether or not Snapchat is something that more brands will engage with, or whether it will overcome some of the challenges relating to user privacy, remains to be seen. However, for brands looking to reach the elusive 18-25 demo, there’s another channel.

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