Using Snapchat for Business

January 27, 2015

Your immediate thought might sound something like, “Isn’t Snapchat for tech-savvy teens?” or even worse, “I thought Snapchat was for sexting.” Both thoughts would be far from true. Initially Snapchat got a lot of bad publicity as a tool for sending nude photos, due to the short time period a photo or video is active.

Like with any social tool, it took some trial and error to become useful for the general population, and then businesses. Snapchat is no longer in the beginning stages; thus, it can’t be ignored. Marketing agencies are looking for creative ways of advertising on Snapchat to target and reach their audience. It is important to note that Snapchat puts limits on how long videos and photos are available which forces marketers to make the most out of the time they are given. Presently there are a few ways that Snapchat can be used by marketers:


McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and several other big corporations have used Snapchat to gain the attention of their millennial audience. Of course as with any other marketing media, before you advertise you should make sure that it makes sense for your brand. With 25.3 million users in 2014, it is likely that you could find your target audience using Snapchat. Advertising on Snapchat “my story” ads could have a hefty price tag, one which might be well worth it. In order for users to digest a brand’s “stories” they must actively hold down your ad to see it.

There is a higher level of engagement than on other social media platforms which offer more passive advertising. By clicking on an ad the user is indicating their interest in a certain brand. The downside of advertising on Snapchat is that you only get 24 hours, but this is no different that running an ad in a daily newspaper. The other downside, there is a lack of analytics. Right now Snapchat does not have the ability to segment users, making it almost exactly like advertising on TV.

While Snapchat claims to have more than 100 million active users, not all the users would be exposed to a brand’s advertising. Again, this makes it similar to TV ads, with the exception that users must be actively engaged with any ads they choose to see, and television ads can be ignored completely. With the lack of analytics and audience targeting, the high price tag might make it a hard sell. The good news is that Snapchat like all other platforms will continue to evolve.


Not ready to spend countless dollars for paid advertising on Snapchat? Don’t worry. You can still build an active community of followers and actively engage with them. Brands can easily send secret announcement coupons directly to their followers, or send them anything at all. With Snapchat you can get pretty creative with advertising, since photos can only be shown for a max of 10 seconds.

Similarly, videos can only be seen once, so make them memorable. The key to success on Snapchat is making photos and videos memorable. Another way to advertise on Snapchat is to use the “stories” feature. Stories can be added to for an entire day, and will be available to be viewed for 24 hours, giving your photos or videos a longer run time.

As photos and videos are taken during the course of the day they can easily be added to a story. To be viewed stories must be held down requiring a greater level of engagement. While Snapchat hasn’t perfected paid advertising, for larger corporations it might make sense. For those with smaller budgets, using it to communicate with followers could prove to be beneficial. It allows brands to engage more thoroughly with their audience.

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