It seems almost everyone is talking about Snapchat these days. Your best friend’s teenage daughter. The millennials at your office. The guy next to you in line at the grocery store. Even Amy Poehler joked about this mobile-first application at last year's Golden Globes, which left marketers scrambling to determine whether or not this new tool had brand value. Hunter Digital is here to help with that very question. Presenting: five things you need to know about digital marketing on Snapchat.


Know how many Snaps are sent each second? Click to see how it stacks up against photo shares on Facebook and Instagram.

No, it’s not a fad. Yes, it offers tremendous social marketing power. 

When buzz for Snapchat began, many thought it would disappear as quickly as the expiration-enabled, user-generated content it creates. But it’s been four years since the iOS/Android application was released, and ’Snap’ has officially entered the social vernacular.  Before you fall too far down the rabbit hole of vocabulary confusion, we’re here to shed some light. A ‘Snap’ is a photo or video that can only be viewed by the recipient for a limited amount of time, and a ‘Story’ is a string of Snaps that creates a narrative lasting for 24 hours. Imagine a Snap as a disappearing text message and a Story as a Facebook status update, albeit one you can’t directly comment on, like or share. This new language is spoken by many—and often. There are 100 million daily active users, sending a whopping 400 million ‘Snaps’ and viewing one billion ‘Stories’ every day, making it the top photo app downloaded by iPhone users in the U.S.

‘Early adoption’ isn’t just for consumers.

Many consumers, especially millennials, wear early adoption as a badge of honor. Becoming an early listener to a new band or being among the first to sign up for the latest social platform (and even snagging your own name)—these are sought after status symbols. As brands marketing to these consumers, there is equal motivation and potential reward in joining early Snapchat conversations in an organic way. These early adoptions also earn media coverage from both trade and consumer press. The later the adoption, the lower the news value.

For example, Marriott International partnered with Snapchat last winter to develop travel programming within the app, enabling consumers to send quick travel photos and videos to their friends. With the millennial traveler relying so heavily on big-brand competition and crowd-sourced accommodations (a la Airbnb), Marriott is making a play for relevance through Snapchat to stay competitive with its younger, grassroots-enabled rivals.   

A new playground for digital influence.

As Snapchat continues to grow, so do the amount of influencers active on the platform. Whether a brand is launching a Snapchat campaign or using it to promote other social channels, the unusual perspective of viewing content for a limited time is a big reason why Snaps are popular among its users. Take it from Snapchat influencer and user @Shonduras, who uses his drawing skills to create unique experiences for users.

But influencers aren’t the only ones finding success on Snapchat. With the launch of its Discover platform earlier this year, Snapchat is giving publishers a chance to tell their own Stories to this captive audience. From CNN to BuzzFeed to Mashable, the 15 channels now available on Discover are paving the way for Snapchat to go beyond a mere photo/video sharing app to a bonafide content portal.


The millennials-are-leaving-Facebook theory is an oft-discussed one. And there are just as many articles proclaiming Snapchat as the digital destination where these longed-for consumers are heading. Among those 100+ million daily active users, nearly 71% are between 18 and 34 years old. A number that, Snapchat says, continues to grow, as millennials rank Snapchat among the most ’important social media sites.’ According to a study by investment bank and asset management firm Piper Jaffray, loyalty to Facebook has seen a significant decrease among teens over the past two years. When surveyed in Spring 2013, nearly 33% of teenagers ranked Facebook as the ‘most important’ social app in their lives. Two years later, only 14% of teens called out the platform as a priority in their digital lives.

Paid media Drives brand awareness and platform engagement. (These social truths play out here, too.)  

Like most social media platforms today, Snapchat has organic roots but is branching out into paid advertising. Notable for entering early in the paid space on Snapchat, the Ouija movie made headlines as the first sponsored Snap with a trailer for the movie hitting Snap-enabled smartphones on opening weekend.

Samsung was the first to combine sponsored content with the collaborative live stream feature at the AMAs. The 'Our Story' feature aggregates consumer content around a certain topic or event (recent Live Stories include Electric Daisy Carnival, the PGA Championship, and Budweiser’s Whatever, USA) and pushes the aggregated content to all Snapchat users.

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