Snapchat is Growing: Should Brand Advertising Grow with It?

Despite weak forecasts ahead of the release of its most updated user numbers and revenue reports, Snap Inc. has come out ahead in its latest report, adding 7 million daily active users and showing growth for the third straight quarter.

The social networking platform is immensely popular among younger millennials and Gen Z and has become a dark horse favorite among advertisers, who seek to reach users in their native habitats. Publishers have begun creating content specifically designed to be consumed on Snapchat in short, bite-sized video format.

Using the Discover tab within the app, users can view stories published by brands designed to entice the viewer to click through the video and visit an external website. Other brands have pushed advertising through to the platform, inserting short ads between stories.

Snapchat is a strongly performing platform when it comes to active users, making it attractive to advertisers who seek reach in strong numbers. With Gen Z alone contributing to over $800 million of retail sales in the United States, it’s imperative that brands find creative ways to reach this young demographic with plenty of spending power.

So is Snapchat advertising the way to go for every brand looking to reach younger users? Not necessarily, but it’s worth factoring in to find out whether or not the content created can actually convert. Some brands may find it easier to connect with users on the platform than others.

One consideration to make when creating content for video-centric platforms such as Snapchat or TikTok is the marketability of the product or service featured. For example, a healthcare brand may have a more difficult time reaching younger users using short video — the topic isn’t “trendy” enough to entice users to spend time interacting with an advertisement. Therefore, entering into a collaborative, native advertising type of agreement with another platform or brand may be a better way to go rather than relying on standalone ad performance.

Another consideration to factor in is the attention span of users viewing content on these platforms. TikTok and Snapchat were created from the idea that short “snaps” of video would be more interesting than a longer-length video on the same topic. The idea caters to the desire for instant gratification and “live looks” into the lives of users. When creating content around this idea, it’s important to understand user behavior and find ways to connect in a short span of time.

Content that looks like it belongs on that platform is more likely to convert than content that seems out of place or overly advertorial. Think of this from a consumer’s point of view: an interesting video or an engaging piece of content is engaging not because it is an advertisement but because the content grabs attention and fits well into the normal pattern of using a specific app. Users are more likely to swipe past an ad if it doesn’t grab their attention in the first second or two. With a limited span of time already available for brands to attempt to reach a potential customer, it’s imperative that the content is powerful enough to grab attention right off the bat.

Of course, not every brand will find advertising success on platforms such as Snapchat. However, the platform is worth a look, particularly for brands looking to make headway with younger users. Hitting on the right content mix can be challenging, but approaching the challenge by thinking like a consumer and by testing content options can shed light on whether or not pursuing the channel will be a worthwhile venture.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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