The Marketer’s Guide to Snapchat

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It seems like every day there’s a new platform that marketers “should” be focusing on.

And Snapchat is one of the most recent platforms that has popped up on that list — with good reason.

According to a Financial Times report, Snapchat’s video traffic nearly tripled between June and November of 2015. As of early 2016, Snapchat users view a total of 7 billion videos per day. In fact, when it comes to monthly usage, it has already surged past Twitter and Tumblr and is quickly gaining on Instagram.

Snapchat also has the sixth highest concentration of Millennials among all major apps.

Marketer's Guide to Snapchat

Source: Comscore

According to AdEspresso, 76% of those Millennials are online shoppers. That means there's a better chance of converting them to a sale, depending on the product you’re promoting, of course.

Marketer's Guide to Snapchat

And even though Snapchat is growing quickly, it’s still much less competitive in terms of advertising compared to Facebook because only 1% of advertisers are using Snapchat for marketing.

But the main reason that Snapchat is so effective right now is the context of the platform: Snapchat allows brands to interact with their audience in a way other platforms don’t.

For example, businesses can use it to create urgency to buy because each snap has a limited lifespan before it expires forever. Or you can display a more authentic side of your brand because you’ll be taking videos on your phone without fancy production equipment.

Most marketers completely dismiss up-and-coming platforms because they don’t know how to track ROI, or because they assume that no one in their target audience will ever start using it. But those who jump on a new platform early in the game are the ones who get better results.

Back in 1999, Gary Vaynerchuk had a 99% email open rate with an list size of 300,000 — that was before everyone jumped on e-mail marketing, of course.

Read More: 7 Emails to Add to Your Conversion Funnel (Templates Included)

Similarly, today with Snapchat, if you have 1,000 followers, 900 of them will consume your content. That number will go down as more and more brands and advertisers get on Snapchat — just like it did with e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.

In this post, I’ll cover some proven marketing strategies you can use for your business on Snapchat — strategies that have been successfully used by companies like Grubhub, Gatorade, Vans, Kraft, and more. 

But first, let’s cover some basics.

Getting Started with Snapchat

In this section, we’ll dive into the different features of Snapchat and define some of the terms before we get into the marketing strategies.

Snapchat Stories

Each individual snap can be either a picture or a video that lasts from 1 – 10 seconds. Snaps can be sent individually or added to your Snap Story as a collection.

To record a video, just press and hold the button at the bottom of the main screen.

Marketer's Guide to Snapchat

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To take a picture, just tap the button instead.

Snap stories can be viewed by all your followers and you can view stories from everyone you follow.

Some metrics you can track here are:

  1. number of people who viewed your story
  2. number of screenshots
  3. which individual users viewed your story

The Chat Feature

To chat with an individual user, you can swipe right on their name after viewing their story. Then you can send them a message that will disappear after they’ve read it.

You can also message followers directly from the “chat” page, which can be accessed by swiping right from the main screen after opening the app.

Here’s a short video from Snapchat that explains how the chat feature works:


Snapchat launched the lenses feature to let users overlay fun animations on their selfies on the app.

To activate lenses, open the main screen of the app then and press and hold on your face until a series of options show up near the bottom of the screen.

Marketer's Guide to Snapchat

Source: PC Advisor

Users can make rainbow vomit flow out of their mouths, add an animated mustache to their lip, “face swap” with a friend, or choose from a variety of other animations.

For larger brands, Snapchat sells custom sponsored lenses. Gatorade developed a lens that allowed users to experience a virtual Gatorade dunk like the NFL pros do after a Super Bowl win, and it was viewed over 165 million times — more than the Super Bowl itself!

Kraft also partnered with Snapchat for a sponsored lens campaign in which users were able to virtually catch macaroni in their mouth and score points for each catch. According to the case study, the lens reached nearly 20 million users with an average engagement time of 20 seconds.

The campaign also gave Kraft a 5-point increase in brand favorability and a 13% boost in purchase intent.

Marketer's Guide to Snapchat

Empire, a show on Fox, also partnered up with Snapchat to create a sponsored lens campaign. The main goal was to drive more viewers to an upcoming season premier, as well as growing their Snapchat following. Once users unlocked the lens, they could record audio vocals (which fit the theme of the show) and share them with friends.

According to the case study, they were able to reach 27 million users with an average engagement time of 20 seconds. They also saw a 16-point boost in brand awareness and an 8-point increase in intent to watch.

Ultimately, the results speak for themselves — after the sponsored lens campaign Empire’s season premier  was the top rated and most watched show on TV.

Marketer's Guide to Snapchat


Applying filters is another way to enhance your Snapchat content. After taking a photo or a video, swipe right over it to choose a filter.

One specific type of filter that’s only available in specific locations is called the “geofilter.” Here are some examples from Beverly Hills, Brooklyn, and Paris:

The Marketer’s Guide to Snapchat

Source: 248am

For businesses, Snapchat has “on-demand” geofilters available. For a small charge, you can design your very own geofilter for a location of your choosing (minimum 5,000 square feet, maximum 5,000,000 square feet).

You can learn more about these On-Demand Geofilters in this video:

If you’re hosting a local event or meetup at an office, an on-demand geofilter could help you spread the word more effectively.

Gary Vaynerchuk used on-demand geofilters to “brand” his book launch event as well as a keynote presentation.   

Marketer's Guide to Snapchat


Vans partnered up with Snapchat to add a custom, on-demand geofilter in various locations throughout the U.S. to highlight spaces that represent Vans’ history. The geofilters featured eye-catching art to accurately represent the Vans brand.

According to the case study, 20% of people who unlocked the geofilter chose to send it to their friends. Vans saw a 34-point boost in purchase intent — which is 2.5x greater than standard benchmarks for mobile retail. They also saw a 20-point boost in brand favorability, which is 3x greater than standard benchmarks for mobile retail.

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