Snapchat now has 100 million active monthly users of which around 70% are female with 400 million photos and videos sent every single day, matching the daily uploads to Facebook and Instagram combined. But, as a private and closed network, how can brands make the most of this platform to reach out to this vast potential customer base?

Initially launched as Picaboo in 2011, with lawsuits, name changes, and minimal downloads, success didn’t come straight off the bat for Snapchat. Despite a 3 billion dollar offer from Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s equivalent app ‘Poke’ reaching number 1 on the iTunes app store, co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy held out hope for their much-loved app. And, with the Wall Street Journal recently valuing the app at around $10 billion we’re pretty sure they’ll be pleased with their decision to do so!

New product previews

Snapchat is an excellent way for businesses to generate awareness and create a buzz around a new product launch. As Snapchat is hugely popular amongst the younger generation - 71% of the user base is under 25 - this could prove an excellent marketing tool for reaching this audience by making the most of the ‘interruption factor’. In recent months, Snapchat has been used by premium cosmetic company Nars to send preview snaps of new designer collections, whilst Acura - the luxury division of Honda - introduced its NSX prototype in a six-second Snapchat exclusive teaser.

Exclusive offers

Following a Snapchat product launch, businesses could use exclusive offers to encourage purchase and continued engagement/loyalty. Snaps containing vouchers could be used to not only capture attention, but to encourage the recipient to act on impulse. In doing so, this acts as an incentive for new customers to try the products and as a reward to those who are already loyal customers.

Behind the scenes

Businesses could also potentially monetise Snapchat by taking the customer ‘behind the scenes’, providing exclusive access to something the average customer could not see. When exclusive offers are given to a small selection of people, this can generate more interest around the business and a sense of excitement. Effective use of behind the scenes snaps have come from fashion label Rebecca Minkoff, debuting the 2014 Spring Collection on Snapchat before it hit the runway of NYFW causing a storm in the fashion world!

Letting our emotions get the better of us

Emotion has long been used as an effective form of marketing; with Snapchat this is no different. For many businesses, marketing budgets are limited however money has to be made and funds have to be raised in order to keep the business afloat. In 2013, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) utilised Snapchat to create an emotional appeal campaign with the aim of driving donations. Fitting with the premise of Snapchat - disappearing images - this emotional appeal featured images of five endangered species with the tagline ‘don’t let this be my #LastSelfie’. Not only did become one of the most talked about campaigns to ever hit Snapchat, there was a surge of donations for WWF making this one of Snapchats most successful campaigns in terms of ROI also.

Still considered a ‘newbie’ to the social/private messaging scene, Snapchat has certainly become popular already amongst users and businesses alike. With a multitude of ways to use this platform to your advantage and with its success exemplified by many businesses in recent months, this could prove an excellent addition to your marketing strategy, especially when targeting a younger audience. Read part one of this blog to find how brands can make the most of WhatsApp here.