Snapchat - the opportunity for brands

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Information about Snapchat - the opportunity for brands
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Published on February 26, 2014

Author: jamieriddell



Snapchat is one of the hottest social networks. In this white paper from Consultancy Digital Tomorrow Today we look at why people use Snap

Snapchat - is this really the next big thing? Executive Summary Snapchat was one of the ‘hottest’ social networks of 2013. The mobile app based network is purportedly the reason why Facebook is losing its teenage audience. Yet despite the column inches and high valuation, very little fact has been stated about the company. In this Directors Briefing we outline how and why people use Snapchat, the estimated audience size and a look at how brands are currently using the app. 02 / SNAPCHAT - IS THIS REALLY THE NEXT BIG THING?

Snapchat - is this really the next big thing? What is Snapchat How do people use it? Snapchat is a social network centered around the sharing of pictures with brief messages via an app on most major devices. The photo is ‘disposable’ offering the user an element of ‘privacy’. To use Snapchat you must have connected friends. Much like other social networks you can request to add friends or see requests to be added as a friend. On the mobile app you can connect an address book to find existing friends or use a search function to look for usernames. Who Uses it? Anecdotally, the Snapchat audience is teenagers and has been widely mooted as the reason why Facebook is losing its teen audience. Why do people use it? Snapchat combines the act of messaging with the rising trend of ‘Selfies’. The combination of the two allows users to send each other short messages with [usually] a selfie or related shot and a short message laid over the image. The key USP, and reason for teenagers using Snapchat is the ephemeral nature of the message. Once a snap has been sent, the recipient can see it for less than 10 seconds before it is deleted. This ephemeral nature of the network provides teenagers with more confidence about using the network. jamieriddell is my username. The principle method of ‘Snapchatting’ is to take a photo, add some text and send it to one or more of your friends. They get to view it for up to 10 seconds after which the image is deleted. Each account also has a ‘Snapchat Story’ which is effectively a ‘news feed’ of your most recent images. As the user you get to choose what appears in your story which can be visible to your friends for 24 hours. This is an example of a Snapchat story how it appears on your friend list [left] and the actual image or video [right]. 03 / SNAPCHAT - IS THIS REALLY THE NEXT BIG THING?

Snapchat - is this really the next big thing? Snapchat Controversy The social network has not been without its share of controversy that should be highlighted before brands jump in. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. In December Snapchat was hacked with over 4 million user accounts shared. A previously highlighted exploit that connected usernames with mobile numbers was not addressed which lead to the hack. A fix for this ‘bug’ was put in place almost a moth after the hack with no apology forthcoming from the founders. Snapchat has garnered some comparisons with Chat Roulette, a social network that connected you with random users via web cam. It quickly built a reputation for users sharing parts of their anatomy to strangers. The recipient can choose to screenshot the image for prosperity with the ‘phones own camera function. The sender will be notified of the screenshot but has no power to remove the image. This small ‘workaround’ could be seen as a direct route around the disposable nature of Snapchat but it hasn’t phased the userbase so far. Concerns over ‘sexting’ and bullying on the network remain in the public eye but no official examples or legal cases have been brought to the public’s attention. Snapchat is currently valued at $3.5 billion. It has taken c. $112,000,000 in funding so far. The cofounders allegedly turned down multi billion dollar offers from Facebook and Google. What is the audience size? Snapchat has never publicly released any data on its audience composition or size. Leading technology publication, TechCrunch published an estimate of audience size late in 2013. Based on the potential average DAU’s (daily Active Users) the estimated size of the Snapchat audience is between 5.9 m and 249 million. Compare these numbers with the other social networks: Facebook: 1.15 billion Global Users / Twitter: 500+ million Users Google+: 500 million Users / Instagram: 130 Million Users 04 / SNAPCHAT - IS THIS REALLY THE NEXT BIG THING?

Snapchat - is this really the next big thing? How can brands harness it? Snapchat is primarily focused around sending one to one messages, or one to many messages. The disposable nature of the photos provides an opportunity for brands to engage with an audience by sending them relevant pictures as ‘updates’ or adding to their Story to maintain a longer presence. Our previous example of a Story was from upcoming band ‘Goldroom’ who use Snapchat to share pictures of their life and video snippets of their music. At present (January 2013) there are no metrics associated with updates. For each account, Snapchat simply provides a score, which is the total number of snaps sent and received. We’ll keep adding to this list on our blog at www. as we verify more brand accounts. How can Brands try this now? Use of Snapchat is currenty free. Like the early days of Facebook, a user account is the only method of maintaining a presence. Brands can sign up as a user and create a username that is relevant to their brand. With regular updates, and wider social promotion of their presence, Brands can start to experiment with sharing relevant images. Do note, as this is a ‘two way’ street, the brands may start to get plenty of unsolicited chats which can be time consuming to deal with. Final Thoughts With no further metrics available, it is currently hard to directly compare it to an update on other social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest that all have engagement metrics including like, share and comment. Are there any great examples of brands doing it right? With no official audience figures available, and no real engagement metrics for updates, it is hard to define any brand as ‘doing it right’. However, if you want to follow some brands that are active on Snapchat you can try following usernames: TacoBell Rebeccaminkoff MTVGeordieshore Lynx 05 / SNAPCHAT - IS THIS REALLY THE NEXT BIG THING? Snapchat has received substantial press coverage in 2013 with much proclamation about its role in the decline of Facebook. However, there has been very little actual facts shared about the company. We know its high valuation but know little of its official planned opportunities for brands or how it will make money. Add in the lack metrics to define success of a test, we suggest a watching brief on this opportunity/ Brand owners looking to experiment with Snapchat would benefit from spending time with the app, engaging with other users and brands before jumping in with a branded presence.

Snapchat - is this really the next big thing? About DTT We are a digital marketing consultancy helping future proof brands through strategy, insight and training. You can learn more about what we do at Access our Director’s Briefing Archive at 06 / SNAPCHAT - IS THIS REALLY THE NEXT BIG THING?

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