Thursday, July 23rd, 2015 | 9 min read
Snapchat has over 200 million monthly active users who share 8,796 photos every second. It would take you ten years to view all the photos shared on Snapchat in the last hour. But Snapchatters aren’t just taking Snaps; they’re consuming branded content, too – a lot of it.
The messaging app’s Sponsored Live Stories can generate up to 40 million views, which is more than any U.S. primetime TV show (America’s Got Talent tops that list with around 10 million viewers). And Discover channels by ESPN and Daily Mail regularly pull in millions of views for their daily bulletins.
Snapchat knows it’s one of the hottest properties in digital advertising right now, and it’s quickly building a range of advertising options to meet demand. Since we reviewed the launch of Discover back in April and took a deep dive into how brands advertise on Discover, the app has laid out a new ads strategy, revealed results from advertising on the platform, and released new ad features.
Let’s take a closer look at Snapchat’s new ad products (and who’s using them).
Snapchat ads now have a name: 3V advertising, which stands for Vertical Video Views. The platform also has an ads page on its website, which is effectively a sales presentation that tells potential advertisers everything they need to know about Snapchat ads.
In outlining a roadmap for its ad strategy, Snapchat finally clarified a few things that, until now, marketers have only been able to speculate about.
It positions itself as “the best way to reach 13 to 34 year olds,” with some compelling stats: 37% of its users are over 25, while just 26% are between ages 13 and 17. This puts to bed the idea that Snapchat is simply an app for teenagers without much money to spend.
Snapchat also made campaign results public for the first time on its ads page; users who saw the ad for the Universal movie Furious 7 were three times more likely to eventually see the movie compared to users who had not seen the ad.
Snapchat sees vertical video as its key differentiator in the social ad space. On Snapchat, all user content is created and displayed in portrait mode, which means that users don’t need to rotate their screen to view videos. To demonstrate that the convenience of vertical video translates to branded content and improves performance, Snapchat ran a test. The example below shows two video ads for Ritz: one horizontal, and one vertical. During the test, the vertical ad was viewed to the end nine times more than the horizontal ad.
Snapchat also clears up its targeting options on its ads page, stating that ads can be targeted by Discover channels, Live Stories, location, and/or gender.
Geofilters are collections of Snapchat, brand, or user-created art that enhance Snaps sent from specific locations. For instance, when a user sends a Snap to friends from Las Vegas, they can access the Vegas Geofilter graphics and add them to their Snap.
Sponsored Geofilters allow brands to create brand-themed Geofilters, which can then be used from specific locations defined by the advertiser. McDonald’s is the first company to buy Sponsored Geofilters, which it’s currently testing ahead of Snapchat’s planned full release of the feature later this year (no details on pricing are available at this point in time). When Snapchatters send Snaps from a McDonald’s restaurant, they now have the chance to add something like this:
Snapchat’s targeting options don’t include age ranges, but it has developed an age-gate specifically for alcohol brands. The first brand to test the feature is Bud Light.
The beer brand sponsored a Snapchat Live Story, which is a curated stream of user-generated Snaps from a specific location or live event, during the Whatever USA festival.
It works like this: when Snapchatters at the festival take a Snap, they have the option to add it to the event’s Live Story. Then, Snapchat picks the best Snaps from the event to feature in the Whatever USA Live Story, which is available for everyone to watch. Depending on campaign objectives, the curated Live Stories can be shown just to people attending the event, nationally, or globally.
Here, the Bud Light Sponsored Live Story was restricted to users who are above the legal drinking age. (Snapchat users enter their age when they register).
The 10-second Bud Light ads were shown between the curated user-generated snaps. This example draws on the dreaded fear of missing out – otherwise known as “FOMO” – with the line “Wish you were here.”
Discover is Snapchat’s content discovery section where users can find curated news, articles, and video from media outlets like CNN, MTV, and Cosmopolitan. In this Wall Street Journal report, Jon Steinberg, the North American CEO of Daily Mail, said reader adoption of Discover has exceeded his expectations, so much so that the service has become his number-two priority after the publication’s own site.
Snapchat recently tweaked the way Discover content is displayed and added a sharing option to encourage user interaction. The list of Discover channels now appears in the redesigned Stories section of the app.
There’s also a new feature that allows users to quickly share Discover content with friends within Snapchat; simply hold down a finger on the story, personalize it with a caption or a doodle, and send it to friends.
Here are three recent big-brand campaigns from Universal, Pepsi, and Kraft:
After the success of the earlier Furious 7 campaign, which was liked or loved by 93% of users who saw it, Universal stepped up its Snapchat advertising strategy. The films Pitch Perfect 2, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Jurassic World have all been heavily promoted within Discover.
A trailer for Jurassic World was featured on the Daily Mail Channel, and similar spots ran on nearly all of the 11 networks, each featuring different clips from the dinosaur movie, selected to appeal to each channel’s viewers.
Pepsi has been running a series of short ads developed specifically for Snapchat on the Sky Sports channel. The ads poke fun at Snapchat, selfies, and overuse of emojis. It’s part of Pepsi Max’s first global campaign, dubbed “Genius.”
Kraft turned to Snapchat to launch new flavors for its Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Although many brands choose to edit existing horizontal video, these spots were created specifically for Snapchat in the vertical format. The 10-second spots appeared on the CNN channel. Kraft’s target audience for the campaign was 16-23 year old females (70% of Snapchatters are women).
Advertising on Snapchat is maturing quickly. Brands like Universal, McDonald’s, and Pepsi are throwing their weight behind the platform, and results prove that Snapchat ads have a measurable effect on sales.
The platform has come a long way in a short time. Just a year ago, commentators speculated that Snapchat would struggle to attract large brands, especially ones with a more wholesome image, because of the salacious nature of some of the content that users share on the platform. Now, armed with concrete results, a rapidly growing audience of engaged consumers, competitive pricing, and its 3V strategy (a clear differentiator), wise brand marketers are taking Snapchat seriously as a viable digital marketing channel.
About the Author: Jamie O’Brien is part of the Sprinklr content team and is based in Singapore. In a previous life, he was a digital art director in London. He likes to get away from the city as often as is humanly possible to snowboard, dive, or hike.