New kid on the block Snapchat, the disappearing photo and video app, has stealthily been making friends with that most elusive and difficult-to-reach group of cool kids – the lucrative “millennial” market. Facebook has been the biggest kid in the playground for years now but the average Snapchat user is 18 years old. That’s a whopping 22 years younger than Facebook’s average user, age 40.
We’re all well aware of the power of social media marketing on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and we’ve all seen the figures that investment in social media marketing is on a strong upward trajectory as brands worldwide recognise its power. Results of a study carried out by eMarketer released just last week reveal that social networks will soon account for an unprecedented 10.5% of all digital ad spending in the UK. This amounts to £7.25 billion, or €9.2 billion. The vast majority of that money will be directed towards Facebook, the social media stalwart of the modern age.
But Snapchat has seen off acquisition attempts by Facebook and continues to innovate and build its presence in the competitive social media marketing sphere. Snapchat users can send photos and videos to friends that last for a maximum of ten seconds before disappearing, and this summer, Snapchat introduced “Our Story.” Debuted at the Electric Daisy Carnival, a music festival held across the US, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the UK, brands and events disseminate a series of images and video, up to 200 seconds long to everyone who has the app. This is particularly useful for live events like festivals and, most recently London Fashion Week. Snapchatters who are at the same event (as verified by location services on your smartphone) can contribute to the story and thus build the hype surrounding an event.
It’s not just event promoters who are rubbing their hands together in glee at this direct access to consumers. Jerome Jarre, a French comedic social media marketing whizzkid now based in the US, commands up to $25,000 per sponsored six-second Vine and has built a massive audience of 2 million Snapchat followers. His marketing firm GrapeStory were among the first to tap into the massive marketing potential of Snapchat videos, but you can be sure they won’t be the last. He reportedly charges brands $35,000 for sending just one (disappearing) Snapchat message. Channel 4 news has also broken new ground by using Snapchat to send up-to-the-minute updates and analysis as part of its coverage of last weeks’ Scottish independence referendum.
The continued fragmentation of cliques on the social media playground offer brands no end of possibilities for marketing – especially with video. We have yet to see an Irish brand or event pick up on the power of Snapchat video in a big way, but as a platform that can demonstrate that up to 85% of users open sponsored Stories, it can only be a matter of time.