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5 Ways to Strategically Think About Snapchat

Mobile communication has completely changed how marketers engage with their audiences. Data collected and summarized by Smart Insights describes how, beginning in 2014, more people have used their mobile devices to engage with internet content than desktops. The searches are faster; the attention spans are shorter, and people expect instantaneous results.

All of these trends perfectly align with Snapchat.

Snapchat was branded as a temporary image messaging application, which allows users to share short-lived pictures with their friends. The idea was to promote a more “natural” form of communication as opposed to other social channels, and the app caught on. A 2015 article on AdWeek described Snapchat as “the fastest growing social network.” Today, Snapchat has over 200 million monthly users and 150 million daily active users.

The secret is out. People spend hours browsing through pictures, posting comments, engaging in discussions, and forming communities. Snapchat has become the perfect environment for marketers to reach customers in a fast-paced, mobile driven world.

But how does a company generate value through Snapchat? Let’s take a look at 5 important questions you should be asking as you incorporate Snapchat into your marketing strategy.


1. What are the biggest reasons why I should be on Snapchat?

This is probably the most important question you should ask yourself; the why of it all. Why is Snapchat important for marketing?

Think about the analysis from SmartInsights. Human beings, on average, have attention spans of approximately 8 seconds thanks to their smartphones and other mobile devices. People want instant access to information that requires only seconds to process. They also want to be entertained by a piece of content, and then move on.

How does that help with marketing, you might ask?

Remember that there are over 200 million active monthly users on Snapchat (and those are 2015 numbers). That’s a massive pool of prospective clients.

Let’s say that you promote your content on Snapchat and impact 2% of total users (for argument’s sake, we’ll leave the more targeted personas out of the equation). 2% of all Snapchat users liked your snap and chose to follow your Snapchat account; congratulations, you’ve effectively engaged with a potential 4 million new clients.

Once you have their attention, you can share new content that expresses your company’s values. Monitor the engagement rates on this content; likes, shares, comments and interactions can tell you a lot about what resonates with your followers, and will help you learn more about how their values relate to yours.

That’s not all. Snapchat recently partnered with a number of firms that specialize in analytics, a big help for marketers analyzing the effectiveness of content. Chief among those firms are Nielson Digital Ad Ratings, Moat Analytics, and Google DoubleClick - all of which help measure the engagement of Snapchat ads and video content. You and your team can use this data to optimize your audience profiles and amplify future engagement.

2. How do I know how many snaps it takes to tell a story?

This is a great question to ask. Unfortunately, as cliché and frustrating as this may seem, the answer essentially boils down to “it depends.”

Attention spans are running shorter; you only have a finite amount of time to impact a Snapchat user. Therefore, a Snapchat user needs to comprehend that your content is educational or entertaining within seconds to justify following your Snapchat account.

HubSpot compiled a list of the top 10 brands that effectively use Snapchat. Companies on the list are as diverse as Sour Patch Kids to General Electric, and even the New York Times. Each company has their own strategy but there are common themes as to how each brand executes that strategy.

  • Their content is raw, unpolished, and most of all fun

  • Posts are highly personal, engaging, and entertaining

  • The tone is humanistic

  • The brand is expressed as ordinary yet multi layered (just like a person)

  • The content connects with people who care about what is being said


3. What are the similarities and differences between Snapchat’s Geofilter and Geofencing?

The rise of Snapchat introduced us to new vocabulary. For people who are often behind on new terminology (myself included), the terms Geofilter and Geofencing don’t necessarily resonate off first brush. What do these terms mean? How do they work? Let’s clear that up.

What is Snapchat’s Geofilter?

Snapchat Geofilters are special overlays applied to Snaps that are only accessible in custom locations. Similar to how geo-targeting delivers custom content to web browsers based on their geographic locations, Snapchat Geofilters are graphics that are unique to specific regions where a Snap is published.

This how-to video is a great walkthrough tutorial of how to apply a geofilter. You’ll learn about the creative process, how to add your own assets to a template (brand logos, for example), and also how Snapchat charges and processes your account when you submit a Geofilter.

What is Geofencing?

Geofencing describes the area where you promote a piece of content. While building your Geofilter, you’ll be asked to draw a custom location on a map where you want to promote your Snap. Your Geofence must be a minimum radius of 20,000 feet around the neighbourhood. This article from Marketing Land describes how to create your geofence.

Once you finalize your Geofence, Snapchat will provide you an estimated cost to promote your Snap. The price is calculated based on the size of your Geofence plus the amount of time that you wish to promote your content.

Two Sides of One Coin

The terms Geofilter and Geofencing are closely related, which may seem a little confusing for newcomers to Snapchat. The main distinction is that Geofencing is a part of the Geofilter.

4. If I have a small team or limited resources, what’s the right frequency when using Snapchat?

Geofilters are actually a great asset for small marketing teams that use Snapchat. If you’ve done your market research, developed your audience personas, and know where to reach your ideal prospects; you’ve done a lot of the required work to create great social content. Get the word out to this niche group of users that you’re on Snapchat.

Experienced Snapchat users have come up with some great tips to help small businesses get up and running on the platform. Many of the best ideas involve showing real life behind the brand, which demonstrates to Snapchat users what type of brand you are and the community you’ll build.

Ask Questions

Some brands even attach questions to Snaps. These questions intrigue followers, and encourage users to learn more about how you will answer those questions.

If one of your goals with Snapchat is to increase product demos, you could post questions related to your product category. You might even post a question with a brief video that serves as a mini-demo to your product. If users feel the video is authentic, they should feel inclined to visit your site and book a full demo.

Shaun McBride is a Snapchat celebrity who believes social media is a way for individuals and businesses to tell their stories. He says Snapchat is a far more personal platform than any other social media network, and that personalized questions can help form strong, long-lasting relationships.

“With Snapchat, it feels less like a creator/viewer relationship and more like a friendship – like a text message between friends.”


5. What engagement analytics on Snapchat are best for reporting?

This is a very important question. Executives and decision makers want to know that the time, money, and resources invested in Snapchat will yield results.

Nick Cicero, Founder and CEO of Delmondo, adopted Snapchat into his marketing campaigns. He identified 4 key analytics to measure the effectiveness of his Snapchat campaigns, which are currently among the best metrics when analyzing the platform.

Total Unique Views

This one is a no-brainer. You want to know how many unique people opened the first frame of your Snapchat story. You can access this information upon logging into your Snapchat account. Simply review activity over the previous 24 hours.

Total Story Completions

The number of people who viewed the last frame of your Snapchat story gives you an idea of how many people viewed the entire story. If you compare the number of people who viewed your last frame with the number of eyes on each of the other frames, you get a sense of how many people followed your entire story.

Completion Rate

Completion rate is another great way to analyze how many people followed your story to the end. Take the percentage of people who viewed the last frame in your story compared to the number of people who saw the first frame. The difference is your engagement ratio; another way of saying people most likely to become loyal to your brand.


The number of times a screenshot was taken of your Snap is another great metric. Log into your account and grab the number from your dashboard. This data tells you how many people really liked your Snaps, which will only help boost future engagement.

Are you ready to get into the mobile-first mindset for Snapchat? Listen to our webinar on how to think about Snapchat for great insights and best practices.