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SnapAds: Using Snapchat for Business to Engage with the Young Consumer


It has been nearly ten years since Snapchat was first developed in 2011. In this time, it is fair to observe that Snapchat has gained a large following as a messaging app, specifically with millennials and the Gen Z age range.

This demographic undeniably use Snapchat as a tool of communication, in the same way, that others may use Facebook messenger or WhatsApp. I know that for me and my friends (and I can assume for many other users), the joy of Snapchat stems from the fast flow of conversation created by the constant stream of sending photo messages back and forth. What is an interesting development, however, is how businesses can utilise the impulsiveness of the app to appeal to Snapchat's audience. The question is how can SnapAds become part of the user's experience?


Snapchat's numbers of daily average users have steadily grown, skyrocketing in 2020 to 249 million, perhaps with the aid of the global pandemic. Common sense would have people assume that advertising on a platform with this many daily users would be a no-brainer - but, given Snapchat's young demographic, businesses have to think and tailor their marketing models to fit the age range they aspire to engage with. 

At the end of 2019, Snapchat recorded 210 million average daily users; the common denominator of the users is the age bracket of which the majority fall into. According to the BBC, 75% of American teenagers - aged 13-17 - have a Snapchat account. The concentration of the younger generation on Snapchat is unlike any other social media platform; in comparison to the three-quarters of American teens with a Snapchat account, only 51% of the same cohort had a Facebook account in 2019.                     

So, if a business wants to attract an older clientele, creating a SnapAd is probably not the way to move forward. However, if the goal is for teenagers and young consumers to see your product it may be worth the investment in return for the potential engagement. 

Now the statistics have been explained, we can look at the multitude of ways adverts can be broadcast on the Snapchat app. SnapAds have been integrated into the app's features via filters, story ads, commercials, lenses, single images and collection ads. 

Personally, I would say the one I have and used the most would be the adverts integrated into Snapchat stories in the Discover section. Clicking through stories I have subscribed to, namely Cosmopolitan, E! Network and Buzzfeed, I notice SnapAds for Chilly's water bottles, Spotify and WWF - to name a few. A mix of single image ads and commercial videos (some non-skippable, to my dismay) pop up after every few pages, encouraging me to 'swipe up' and be re-directed to a product page for the company. 

I have to say, I don't actually think I have ever bought anything from a direct link on Snapchat, but I do know I own a few products from businesses who do advertise on there. This shows that companies choosing the right platform for their company is key; even though I didn't purchase straight from Snapchat, I had taken enough notice of the advert to remember to look at their site later on. I can also see the impact those ads could instantly have. If somebody is sat there, mindlessly scrolling through Snapchat stories - especially during the coronavirus lockdown, as demonstrated by figures - and an advert catches their eye they might be likely to 'swipe up' and see what the company has to offer. 

But, how do SnapAds enable businesses to become a part of the conversation? 

If a business wants to use Snapchat for advertising and become a part of the conversation simultaneously, they do not necessarily have to spend hundreds of dollars by placing a commercial in the Discover Section. Instead, companies can control how much they spend by creating a Geofilter - unsurprisingly, the bigger and potentially better the filter is, the more expensive the filter is. Geofilters, unlike regular filters, however, allow for companies to share their location with the aim that the more exposure a filter gets, the more people become aware of what a brand is trying to promote. Linking a filter to a location is a clever way for a company to take advantage of other events happening in that place. At a time where coronavirus didn't cancel all major events (it's hard to remember, I know), a company, no matter how big or small, would benefit from all the people who would be in that location who could potentially use their Geofilters and share their images with their friends. Whether a university is promoting in their own city, a McDonald's is allowing users to share when they're in one of their chains, or a local Farmer's Market wants to spread the word about when and where it's happening; Geofilters are an easy and accessible way for all sorts of businesses to promote themselves for an achievable price. 

Arguably, the main part of Snapchat is the messages passed between friends, in private messages or group chats, or when posting updates to personal stories. Admittedly, there will probably always be a slight friction when types of marketing try to invade or intertwine themselves into social arenas. To the average user, the input of adverts (despite being susceptible to the marketing) is perhaps quite annoying, and for companies, this hurdle will be difficult to overcome. However, by enabling adverts to be integrated into these images within the conversations, companies have the potential to utilise this to their advantage when using Snapchat for business purposes. When a 'snapchatter' uses a filter or Snapchat lense, they become a potential consumer. By placing the filter on their image or taking part in an interactive augmented reality they become involved with the SnapAd, in turn becoming engaged with the company.

Of course, as with any advertising opportunity, there are pros and cons to using Snapchat for marketing. However, the big attraction with SnapAds is clear: it is an easy way to engage with a large proportion of a specific (young) audience, perhaps more so than any other social media platform. If a company wants to reach millennials and Gen Z investing in a SnapAd would offer a plethora of opportunities for them to do so. 

Ellie Bancroft

Ellie is a recent BA English Literature graduate and aspiring publisher with a passion for writing. Her favourite pastimes include reading and shopping. 

SnapAds: Using Snapchat for Business to Engage with the Young Consumer Reviewed by Ellie Bancroft on Saturday, November 21, 2020 Rating: 5
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