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Listen up, brands: the key to reach us is Snapchat.

In case you haven’t heard, Snapchat is hot right now. And I’m not saying that because I’m an avid user. There is statistics that back me up in this post. Despite being in the market for only 5 years, the app is a force to be reckoned in the world of instant messaging (IM) apps.

Snapchat has evolved from being a tool for teenagers to send silly selfies to each other. The platform is increasingly advertising friendly and it appeals to big brands as the mysterious yet powerful platform to target millennials.

However, many companies are still hesitant and think Snapchat is just another fading trend.

They are missing out big time and here are the reasons why they should take Snapchat more seriously.

  1. Wide reach:

Snapchat has over 100 million daily active users who collectively watch 8 billion videos on this platform every day. Sure, the number of Snapchatters is nowhere near 1.04 billion daily active Facebookers but its user base is the fastest rising of any social network in 2014. With the growth rate of 57%, it surpassed other giants like Facebook Messenger (50%) and Pinterest (43%). Now that’s impressive! Moreover, with 45% of American users is aged 18 to 24-year-old, it’s currently the to-go social network site for millennials in the US.

The ability to reach mass audience is a crucial factor of any campaign’s success. This is especially hard for the companies that struggle to target Millennials; they are abandoning traditional media and adopt social media as their main channel for news, entertainment and communication. Snapchat is one of the solutions that marketers should consider thanks to its high number of users.

What is more, users are encouraged to turn on geo-location in order to use town-specific filters or to contribute to local stories. It means the campaign can be exposed to the right people at the right place. As more national brands want regional campaign, geo-location feature translates into cost-effective purchasing.

  1. Ephemerality is here to stay:

The most unique thing about sending a snap (videos or photos) is that it will disappear after 10 seconds or less. Even the chat will be gone if you press the “back” button. Although this feature goes against the norm of IM, it still utilizes the concept of instant gratification. You can read my previous post about instant gratification and why it’s an important part of our modern world, especially in business.

Because of time restriction, the user is prompted to respond immediately. Otherwise, they will forget what they just saw. Moreover, he or she must pay attention to whatever snap their friends sent to them and can’t multitask while doing so. What does it mean for content creators? In the world where people have short attention span (8 seconds at most) and overloaded with information, it’s every brand’s dream to capture the viewer’s full attention. To make the experience even more effortless, Snapchat’s signature vertical orientation means the users don’t have to rotate their phones; as a result, they’re 9 times more likely to watch Snapchat ads in full. Check and check!

  1. Real-time or nothing:

Unlike other social network sites, the first thing that appears when you open Snapchat is the record screen; this patented technology is called “Single mode visual media capture”. The mechanism aligns itself with the app’s core mission: real time sharing of impermanent content. It takes self-expression to the next level of immediacy and triggers millennial users to share their experience while it’s happening.

For brands, immediacy is extremely crucial. Since they have to create new contents every day, the process of keeping their materials up-to-date and trendy has never been more important. At the same time, Snapchat is also the place for everyone, including savvy marketers, to be casual and experiment new things. Therefore, sometimes snaps that seem to be spontaneous (but still calculated to an extent) generate more views than those carefully-formulated ones because it resonates with how normal people use Snapchat. Case in point: some of the hits from People magazine are snaps that read “Moments we can’t stop talking about” from their Grammy coverage and multi-snap titled “7 Celebs who were Literally [Princesses emoji]” for the Oscars.

In other words, when you combine up-to-minute content and casual fun way of expressing it, you have the formula of a million-viewed snap.

  1. Snap back to reality:

The biggest drawback of the app is its limited reporting capabilities. For example, it can’t tell the brand the gender and age breakout of those who saw the. Moreover, the app doesn’t guarantee the minimum number of users who would see that ad. It tends to be the case that advertisers and brands would have harder time assessing return on investment from Snapchat. Other points that concern advertisers are the fact that the promotional materials will disappear after 24 hours and such materials wouldn’t be reusable on any other platforms due to its vertical orientation.

For those reasons, advertisers are hesitant to recommend their clients, for example, paying $250,000 in order to get inside a “Live Story”.

All in all, despite some drawbacks, Snapchat is seen as the “new world of advertising”. Entrepreneur magazine praises the app for creating a platform where brands don’t have to sneak their way around spam filters and pop-up blockers. Instead, the users mindfully click the button to watch the brand in action. The forum is there and so is the audience. The real question is whether a company is willing to be “in the know” and learn as they go? It’s a process of experimenting and taking risks before getting desired results. Well, I hope they do while they still can; otherwise they’re falling behind in this ever-changing media world.

P/S: If you reach the end of this post, CONGRATS! In DJ Khaled’s words, I hope you get “the key to success” soon ;).

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