For the past ten years, social media has been a marketer’s dream. Until Snapchat came around.
People have been wondering how Snapchat could be used for marketing since it was originally introduced in 2011, and for good reason. As of September 2013, Snapchat’s users send over 300 million pictures a day, which ranks second to only Facebook in terms of photos sent over social media. It is now valued at over $800 million, even though it has yet to make any money from revenue whatsoever—it doesn’t charge for app purchases and has yet to start advertising.
As a result, Snapchat has left marketers scratching their heads. Until recently, there were many caveats in the App’s infrastructure that held back marketers from using the popular tool—Snapchats only last for 10 seconds until they disappear, you have to click on “friends” one-by-one in order to send a message (not particularly ideal for companies with hundreds of thousands of fans). In addition, you have to be friends with someone in order to interact with them. Still, the possibility has remained for innovative marketers trying to explore virgin territory.
There have been successful cases of companies using Snapchat, though. One of the first examples was in May of 2012, when Taco Bell announced via Snapchat that they were reintroducing the Beefy Crunch Burrito. In order to gain more friends, they encouraged their followers on Twitter to friend them on Snapchat by Tweeting that they were telling a secret the next day via Snapchat.
Needless to say, the response was huge, and it marked a turning point in the evolution of Snapchat. For the first time, large companies were using the tool for promotional purposes.
As a result, it came as little surprise when companies jumped all over the new feature. Within a day, Taco Bell, the company known for its marketing innovation, began sending out regular Stories to its friends. So far, most of the ideas have been simple—friends going to get a taco, people enjoying their Taco Bell experience and funny videos.Still, the company still had a long way to go before it could be as successful as social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Until recently. On October 3rd, Snapchat unveiled their newest feature, “Stories,” which allows people to send minute-long videos to their entire friends list with the click of a button. Instead of painstakingly go through each and every friend to send a Snapchat that will disappear in 10 seconds, you can easily send a minute long video to everyone you know without any hassle.
Other companies have also been experimenting with the new platform. The Saints recently joined Snapchat, making them the first NFL franchise to have an account. According to Alex Restrepo, they plan on using the service to give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the daily lives of Saints players and the organization as a whole. They also plan to unveil the jerseys for the week, interviews with players and photos of new Saints products.
For Snapchat, this just marks the beginning. The brand is only growing in popularity, and if they keep unveiling new features like Stories, the sky is the limit for marketers creative enough to take advantage of it.