Why more brands AREN’T experimenting with Snapchat

Yeah, I know Snapchat has 100 million daily active users.

I know they have like 46 billion views on their videos (slight exaggeration).

And I know every 17-year-old alive checks Snapchat no fewer than 89 times per day.

I get it–Snapchat is a BFD (you aren’t the only ones who can use cool acronyms, Millennials!).

GE-Tweet Snap

Yet we’re still not seeing even semi-widespread adoption among brands.

Sure, the Taco Bells, Sour Patch Kids, and General Electrics of the world are all over Snapchat–just like they are any other social network that caters to younger audiences.

But, other than big CPG brands and a smattering of other early adopters, not many brands are really using Snapchat at all.

Curious, right?

Not if you know the game. I see four big reasons mid-sized to large brands aren’t jumping on the Snapchat bandwagon just yet.

Visuals aren’t as polished

You know those crayons you use on Snapchat? Yeah, those aren’t “on brand” for most big orgs. As a result, I’m guessing a lot of big brands aren’t too hot to trot with the tool just yet. They’ll come around, but I would bet a lot of money that’s a big reason out of the gate. Marketers and communicators are reframing expectations of management as we speak.

No visual archive

You know what brands love? Recognition. And, an archive of all the visual assets they’ve worked so hard to create over the years (i.e., Facebook, Twitter feeds). You know what they don’t generally like? For visuals they work hard to create to disappear in three seconds (hey, I didn’t say the reasons were rational, did I?).

Entry to Discover tool entry is very, very high

OK, so we know big publisher brands like ESPN, Cosmo and Nat Geo are seeing big impression numbers with the Discover feature. But, you think Snapchat is just going to turn that kind of functionality over to brands right now? Think again. Snapchat seems finely keyed in to the user experience right now–much like Facebook was 4-5 years ago. Advertising and promotion options will come–but right now, they’re either very expensive or just don’t exist for most companies.

Wait, how do I get followers again?

I’m no Snapchat expert, but from what I can gather, it’s tough to build a following/community if you’re a brand. And, it seems like there are few–if any–viable paid options to do that. Don’t you think that’s most brands first question? How do we start a community on Snapchat? Hey, I’m not saying it’s the right question–I’m just betting it is THE question. And, if that’s the question being asked first, it’s a pretty quick conversation at this point, right? I think this is a big part of it right now, too. Brands just aren’t quite there yet.

So, what’s a brand to do?

Two words: Be patient.

Advertising options will come–in time.

Snapchat will get smarter–and more prolific–in how they work with brands.

Just think about where Facebook was with brands 5-6 years ago. They’ll get there. Just be patient.

In the meantime, a lot of the successful brand executions I’ve seen seem to revolve around influencer engagement. Work with (read: pay) an existing Snapchat influencer to help tell your story–and get your Snapchat account off the ground (just look at what Audi and Sour Patch Kids did in these case studies).

Something to consider if you ARE hot on the Snapchat bandwagon right now.

Otherwise–be patient and check back in a few months.





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4 comments on “Why more brands AREN’T experimenting with Snapchat

  1. Great post, Arik. I’m going to add one major reason to your list, because I saw it play out during a 2016 planning meeting with my client earlier this week. I can’t name the company, but they are big and have invested in Snapchat campaigns in the past. Why not in 2016? Because of Snapchat’s lack of analytics and reporting. The client in charge of media basically said, “I am not going to spend seven figures on a campaign to have a Snapchat sales rep tell me, ‘Don’t worry about numbers — it worked!'”

    Until Snapchat builds out a real-time analytics dashboard and sophisticated back-end reporting, they will never consistently tap into major ad dollars. And I realize paid and organic are two different discussions here, but no major brand is creating a social account strictly for organic posts.

    Will be interesting to see how this plays out. Snapchat is far more legitimate than it was last year at this time, but the company needs to increase staffing, get its MBA and listen closer to what brands need from it to really invest.

    Or, Evan Spiegel should start taking calls from suitors.

  2. Kevin Watterson says:

    The announcement yesterday of a profile URL is big. Findability on Snapchat is an obstacle because it doesn’t suggest who to follow, and who has a company’s information loaded into their phone’s address book? That’s why you see brands like American Airlines making their Twitter icon their Snapchat code.

  3. Jessica says:

    @Arik: I’ll add another one to the list. I’d argue it’s both Snapchat’s biggest asset as well as biggest weakness. That’s the fact the site UX isn’t intuitive if you are playing around with the site by yourself. It only starts to make sense once you are sitting in the same room with a friend who is on the site. There are so many Easter eggs (including lenses, hidden filters, etc), that you won’t find until you see a friend use them.

    Now, as you can imagine, this is an amazing asset as it lures every teen and college student to the site. But for anyone say older than 25, the site is much less relevant and harder to pick up.

    @Andrew: Check out this company (no affiliation whatsoever). They claim to have custom analytics for Snapchat. http://delmondo.co/

  4. Malik Shuler says:

    How do we find advertising sales contact?