snapchat_ui_hero Snapchat is the new social/mobile darling at the moment. Gary Vaynerchuk wrote an excellent opinion piece over on LinkedIn about the future of Snapchat that's worth checking out when you have an opportunity. It's not a brand heavy space to play in at the moment but a few brands have tested the waters. Most recently, Acura sent out a picture of a new supercar to 100 followers while Taco Bell tried something new on Snapchat back in May.

According to this not-so-new New York Times article, Snapchat was the arena for over 60 million messages per day. That was in February. I would venture to guess that it has only grown since then.

Personally, I think Snapchat is dumb. I'll throw that out there. I can't really get into yet on a personal basis. However, it doesn't matter if I like it or not. My opinion weighs very little when it comes to how successful a platform is. People will either use a new communication space or not. In Snapchat's case, it looks like more people are using it - so it's worth paying attention to and learning more about it. Especially for people whose occupation lies in capturing a person's attention in a crowded space on behalf of a brand (like me and many of this blog's readership).

Where brands could win on Snapchat

If the Internet at large is guilty of one thing (yes, it's guilty of a lot but...) it would be a compulsive fear of missing out. Since marketers love acronyms, it's more commonly known as FOMO.

One reason we most likely check our phones compulsively or switch over to our Facebook feed every 10 minutes while working on an expense report is because of this inherent need to know everything as soon as it happens. Nobody wants to be that person out of the loop. We have this compulsion to be super connected to friends and high school connections we're friends with online that we haven't spoken to in years because we don't want to miss out.

How does Snapchat play into this mindset?

Snapchat messages are all only temporary. Outside of taking a screenshot, there is no archiving mechanism like with a Twitter, Facebook or email inbox. Those video and photo messages only last for ten seconds or less after opening. You have to give the message your full attention otherwise it's gone. There isn't any do-overs.

To me, Snapchat is one of mobile's better shots at having a captive audience. As a brand, if you deliver great content, you could deliver an exclusive announcement, surprise or even a clue in a contest that will have a much more captive, I-have-to-see-this-now audience than a mobile ad, YouTube pre-roll or even a Vine could offer. Depending on how you scale messaging, people would make sure they watch whatever you sent so they don't feel left out of any potential "water cooler" conversations (online or IRL). They've only got one shot to be "in on it."

Snapchat has its challenges

There are several challenges with brands using Snapchat that I see as it stands now from my very limited exposure to it:

  • Measurement: how do you report on a "campaign" or message?
  • Have to add friends individually. No "subscription" option that I can see yet
  • Despite massive growth, adoption is still low in comparison to other platforms at the moment

I'm going to pay attention to Snapchat for a while. We're in the business of capturing people's attention. It'd be a miss to overlook this.

What do you all think? What are your thoughts about the marketing angles of Snapchat?

If you are on there, I'm drewhawkins on there.