The Future of Digital Marketing, Pt 1: Snapchat


Snapchat is the next big thing in the world of communication, and the opportunities couldn’t be more exciting.


The concept for Snapchat is not an isolated event; rather it is the next step in solving an age-old dilemma.


From the very first attempts of trade with faraway lands, innovators have been trying to artificially replicate natural face-to-face communication without the luxury of being face-to-face.


Writing letters got your point across, but at the cost of lengthy, sometimes doomed, travels. Nowadays, a letter takes less than a second to be delivered. To put that into perspective, the average person has hundreds of conversations begin and end in the time it would take to deliver a ‘text’ across the Atlantic 250 years ago.


250 years and several groundbreaking innovations later, we have closed the gap even further. In fact, there’s hardly any gap at all. We have come to the point where a dialogue’s clarity from Miami to New York has no qualitative difference than a conversation across your kitchen table.


The next step in this evolution is Snapchat, the digital mouthpiece of the millennial.


Snapchat’s goal is to relieve you of the stress that comes with maintaining a presence on social media. It gives users the ability to wipe away the past. The message you send your friend over Snapchat will last only for a few moments, before *POOF* it’s gone forever.


It was created as a safe space. Users can share quirky, funny and embarrassing pictures with friends without having to worry about a future employer or University recruiter getting the wrong idea. Snapchat founder and CEO Evan Spiegel, put it best:


“Snapchat isn’t about capturing the traditional Kodak moment. It’s about communicating with the full range of human emotion—not just what appears to be pretty or perfect.”



In an effort to monetize their growing business, Snapchat began charging users to re-watch snaps in 2015. They quickly shifted their focus to advertisements, which have become a huge success.


Here are a few examples of their efforts:


  • Snapchat Discover was created so that companies such as CNN, ESPN, Buzzfeed, and People Magazine would be able to share articles and videos with users. Snapchat receives a flat fee plus 30% of ad revenue.



  • Snapchat has a Live feature in which users share snaps of a certain event. Snapchat has established million dollar deals with sports organizations such as Wimbledon and the NFL to feature their events live.


  • Snapchat Geofilter is an optional filter for snaps, where companies can sponsor a filter for users in a specific area or day. Nationwide-sponsored geofilters reached 40%-60% of domestic Snapchat users.




  • Sponsored lenses make advertising a fun experience rather than a mandatory chore.




  • Implementing vertical video advertisements, requiring users to swipe up rather than click.


  • Vertical ads are watched to their completion 9X more than horizontal advertisements.


By the numbers: Snapchat’s remarkable goal


Just how much has Snapchat grown over the years as a result of these efforts? Check it out:



  • Snapchat has 46 million users in the United States and is projected to have 58.6 million by the end of 2016. To put that in perspective, imagine a company that somehow got the entire population of California and Florida to log into their app every day to send and receive pictures…Oh wait.


  • Of the 46 million American users, over 20 million are in the 18-24 age bracket. Think of it like this: There are more 18-24-year-olds on Snapchat than 18-24-year-olds enrolled in college!



Use Snapchat to promote your brand:


  • Let your customers get access behind the scenes. The NBA, UFC, and NFL have popularly used it on game day to pump up fans.



  • Comedians, actors, and celebrities can give their fans a behind the scenes look into their lives by utilizing the Story feature.


  • Attract people to your brand with entertaining stories. Sour Patch Kid’s Snapchat paid a famous YouTube prankster Logan Paul to take control of their account. Consider the platform’s main demographics before you hire someone to take control.


  • Use lenses to spread word about your business. Check out Gatorade’s campaign during the Super Bowl to give the fans the experience of a virtual “Gatorade shower”:





  • Sponsor a filter to bring attention to your brand. Marvel, for example, paid for exclusivity on filters for one day leading up to the release of X-Men Apocalypse.


  • Generate a buzz within your audience by staging contests. For example, a photography company would give away free classes for the best photo of a sunset submitted by one of their fans.


  • Have a back-and-forth with customers and get feedback on new and innovative products.


Snapchat for the future:


Because technology is advancing at an exponential rate, it’s become a lot of fun to make predictions. Here are some of mine:


  • Live features restricted to a neighborhood or city to spread the word of a local promotion or event.


  • Geotags will notify you of a sale or limited-time offer going on nearby.


  • Stores will have different brand products (hats, shirts, outfits, etc.) as filters in their respective stores to digitize your shopping experience.


  • Obtain proof of a small-scale advertisement. For example: Wear a brand shirt in a public place, Snapchat it to the brand’s Snapchat and get rewarded for sharing the brand to the public.


  • Products will have barcodes to scan on Snapchat, which will give you a digital version of it as a filter.


By Joshua Gilinski


This is part 1 of our 4-part series on the Future of Digital Marketing. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our 4-part series: Virtual + Augmented Reality

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