Snapchat debuted as an app with a reputation as a tween/teen alternative to more traditional channels like Facebook and Twitter.

Today, Snapchat has begun to emerge as a legitimate social network that brands and agencies cannot ignore. Consider these stats from Snapchat:

  • 60 percent of 13 to 34-year-old smartphone users in the U.S. are on Snapchat
  • 5 billion-plus daily videos views
  • Over 100 million daily active users

According to these numbers, Snapchat is growing up. And for smart marketers, it presents a key opportunity to reach a coveted demographic.

What is Snapchat?

Founded in 2011 by three Stanford students, Snapchat had a clear goal: Provide a social media platform where posts, pictures and opinions shared “in the moment” would not haunt a user’s online reputation forever. It promised the ability to be spontaneous and honest without those 2 a.m. college posts popping up during future job interviews.

How Does Snapchat Work?

Snapchat is a smartphone app that allows its users to take pictures and video, add filters, text and emojis, and share them directly with friends.

The key to Snapchat’s appeal – and success – is its short window: No post lasts longer than 24 hours, and some disappear in seconds. This is important because it builds an engaged audience. Users keep checking in so they don’t miss posts and because they can only see them once, they make it count.

Snapchat and Marketing: What You Need to Know

Snapchat provides advertising opportunities with their Discover section, which is populated by big name publishers like ESPN, VICE, Wall Street Journal and many more.

  • Targeted advertising opportunities: Recently, Snapchat has announced wider ranging advertising options that will allow digital marketers to target specific groups of people. This type of ad product will allow brands to directly engage with their target audience depending on a number of factors like location, interests, etc.
  • Compelling campaigns through My Story: Brands can use the ‘My Story’ feature to highlight a product or service in little bite size chucks with a reveal at the end and a strong call to action. My Story compiles a series of posts – or snaps – in chronological order to tell a story.
  • Comprehensive social media strategy: Brands can use their existing social media groups in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to add more followers on their Snapchat page via posting the Snapchat user QR code as their profile picture or a straight up image post. (Be bold, make your Snapchat QR code your Facebook profile image and watch your followers jump higher.)

While Snapchat is still in the early stages of growth, I’m seeing more and more 30+, 40 + individuals creating and sending snaps to their friends and colleagues. With every image having a permanent home elsewhere, sharing “of the moment” images/video to friends creates more of an intimacy with your friends. However as the user base of Snapchat moves to an older demographic, having opportunities to deliver your message to where the attention is of your audience will further validate using Snapchat as one of your social media channels.

Interested in learning more in social media trends? Read more from our blog, View from the Charles:

The Rise of Mobile Chat Apps

Facebook & Twitter Unleash New, Exciting Features