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Snapchat 101 and How to Use it in Digital Marketing

Snapchat 101 and How to Use it in Digital Marketing

Snapchat 101 and How to Use it in Digital Marketing

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The popularity of Snapchat with the Millennial Generation (Gen Y), has a lot of businesses wondering how they can be using this social media platform to boost their marketing efforts.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a social media messaging app with a twist. What makes it unique from its predecessors is that users can send images and video messages (Snaps) that will only exist for a set period of time and then disappear, once it is seen. When the user sends the message, they can decide how long it will ‘live’ for, then it ‘disappears’. It is a way for the user to share a moment with someone in a less permanent way. The app is available for both iOS and Android.

How does Snapchat work?

The entire process of creating a snap is very simple and is all done within the app itself. The sender takes a photo or video, adds text, image filters, or can even sketch on the message. The sender will set a time limit and can then send it to as many people in their Snapchat contacts as they’d like.

The receiver can only view the snap once and has the ability to replay any snap once per day. As a way to monetize this social network, Snapchat offers the ability to purchase additional ‘Replays’, allowing users to replay more than one snap a day or to replay the same snap multiple times. As an additional security measure, if a user takes a screenshot of a snap, the sender is notified. This is really done to encourage the temporary nature of Snapchat and also as a way to position the app as more secure and private than other social networks.

In 2013, Snapchat introduced Snapchat Stories. The new feature allows users to compile a collection of their snaps to create a narrative of memories. Each story can be up to 360 seconds long and is stored for 24 hours. Your contacts are able to view it anytime within that 24 hour period.


Who is using it?

  • Business Insider reports that Snapchat is actually bigger than most realize. It has been reported that it currently has more than 100 million users, but the numbers may be closer to 200 million based on what has been written by the company’s executives.
  • According to a study by ComScore, 71% of users are between 18-34 years old.
  • A Civic Science Insight Report states that 69% of Snapchat users are female.

How can it be used for marketing?

Snapchat is a powerful social networking tool for businesses looking to attract a younger demographic. There are a couple of different ways to engage with the targeted consumer:

Take advantage of the Stories feature

Since these are stored for 24 hours and are shared across your contacts, your Snapchat Story can get much more viewership than just sending snaps to specific contacts. The greatest benefit of the stories feature, is that you can keep adding to it and really take advantage of the 24 hour time limit.

Ideas for Snapchat Stories can include daily themes, a live event your company is a part of, or providing commentary on a live event, as well as sharing insight into who your company is (ie. a tour of your office or snippets of what your staff is doing throughout the day).

Take advantage of the temporariness

If you’re thinking about offering users a sneak peek of your product or launch, consider using Snapchat. Let your target market know that you’ll be offering an exclusive sneak peek preview only to your Snapchat contacts. The users that have added your brand as a friend will feel like members of an elite club that got early access to something special.

Take advantage of the extras

Since Snapchat offers filters, text and drawing abilities all within the app, think about how you can encourage your users to get creative and engage with your company. This could mean running a contest around a specific theme, (ie, ‘Find creative ways to incorporate our product into your daily life’) or taking screen captures to share across your other social media.

Snapchat’s newest feature introduced in early 2015, called ‘Discover’, offers branded media to all users of the app. Snapchat teamed up with various news and content creators, like Food Network, People and CNN, to offer users daily updated content through their ‘Discover page’. New content creators are also added regularly. The content is very graphical and can incorporate both video and articles, which users can save. The Discover section of the app is one of Snapchat’s first forays into advertising, with the content creators also being allowed to seek out third party advertisers. The ads are usually incorporated into the brand stories, as a video or graphic article. Currently, the number of ads on the Discover section is limited, as Snapchat is trying to maintain a balance between the user experience and promotion. Once it becomes available for all businesses to use, it will be a very powerful marketing tool.

Although Snapchat may not be the right fit for every business, those looking to capture the attention of a younger audience should definitely consider incorporating this social media channel into their digital marketing plan.

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