As marketers, we are always in search for new and innovative ways to get our brand message out in front of our target audience. Snapchat has been the obsession of social media marketers for the past few years and for good reason. Its functionality, ease of use and easy to digest content presentation has generated a huge userbase that sends over 700 million Snaps daily. Snapchat grew more in one year than Twitter did in 4 years total! Obviously Snapchat is a great medium for marketing right? Well, it depends on a few different things. If you have the luxury of only being responsible for branding, then Snapchat might be a good addition. However, if you (like most people) have to justify your work through tangible business value, Snapchat might not be the best place to focus your time. Here are 5 reasons why you should be careful with Snapchat!
1. “Successful” Accounts Already Have Brand Equity
Lets set something straight. We are all MARKETING on social media to MAKE MONEY. There are many “thought leaders” that will urge you to become a mystical storyteller chocked full of emotions that can entrance anyone with their content. This is crap. You need to look at your overall strategy, find out what your goals are and execute tactics against those goals that will impact your bottom line. Most of the brands that are “doing it right” on Snapchat already have such huge brand equity that it would be impossible to not do good. DJ Khaled already has a huge fanbase, Gatorade has been around for forever and Gucci is one of the most iconic brands in the world. You are being extremely foolish if you think your business can operate like they do on Snapchat and see business value. Don’t be fooled by people preaching all theory and no practice. If you really want to add Snapchat to your brand bundle, do so knowing that you will not have anywhere near the visibility or success that these brands have. In fact, they have said success not because of Snapchat, but because of their already established brand equity.
2. Impactful Advertising is Very Expensive
Snapchat users are digitally savvy and 76% of them are online shoppers. However, exponentially reaching more of these users in a targeted way is very expensive on Snapchat. Your entry into a Snapchat Ad campaign will run you about $10,000 a month in ad spend. If you are hoping to run an ad in Snapchat’s Discover section, you are looking at a minimum spend of $40,000. Want to run a Sponsored Lens Campaign? Be ready to cough up at least $450,000. It’s not all bad though! There are self-service Geofilters that can be yours for as little as $5 per day. However, users need to be made aware of them and actively go use them for there to be any kind of value. Even if you have the budget to advertise on Snapchat, you should be aware that 80% of 18-24-year-olds on the platform skip ads "always" or "often". Additionally, 73% of users said they never interact with Snapchat Ads by swiping up to access more content. If you have that kind of budget to use on impressions, fantastic! However, I would recommend investing in a platform that can connect the dots between impression, click and conversion.
Did you know that it would take 793 years to watch every Snap made in a single day? The blessing and the curse of being a super popular social platform is the immense amount of clutter that is created by users. Facebook has dealt with this by implementing highly sophisticate algorithms. However, with Snapchat you are stuck with who you choose to follow. Speaking of followings, did you know that 61% of users don’t follow any news organizations, 50% don’t follow sports ( like ESPN) and 57% don’t follow popular entertainment brands like E! or Daily Mail. If these historically popular brands are having challenges building communities on Snapchat, how do you think your small to mid-sized business would perform? Snapchat has so much going on all the time that users tend to focus in on other users that they know. The silver lining here is that a recent study showed that 69% of college students would be more receptive to opening a Snap from a brand opposed to an individual they don’t know. There is some hope there, however you better have exquisite content that you promote heavily on OTHER SOCIAL CHANNELS if you are going to cut through the snapchat clutter.
4. Lack of Analytics
This is my biggest pet peeve with Snapchat. We get no actionable data that we can lead into business results. Sure, you can get impression data, completion rates and even see the number of screenshots. However, if you were to plop that information in front of your CMO or client, would they give a damn? Probably not. Snapchat is a great branding tool, however the reality of the world of marketing is that we must constantly prove our value and Snapchat doesn’t help in the same way that other social platforms do from the analytics point of view. Be careful!
Don’t get me wrong. Snapchat is a great branding tool that can fit into the marketing mix for certain brands. However, the other 90% of brands out there trying to build and make a living could do more harm than good by treating Snapchat like the savior of social engagement. If your organization is comfortable with measuring impressions and are going a pure brand exposure, definitely consider Snapchat. However, if you need to prove to a stakeholder that you are driving website visits, conversions, repeat customers or even assisted sales, then you should be very careful with adding Snapchat to your social media strategy.
My best advice is to test Snapchat, but move forward with your goals, budgets and limitations in mind. For every breakout brand that goes out there and kills it on the new shiny toy, there are hundreds who lost a ton of business by using the wrong tactic.