Snapchat is a tool used for expression and community building. It has 150 million active daily users worldwide and is currently valued at $20 billion with an IPO in sight. Despite it targeting a younger demographic initially, half of all new users signing up are over 25. As their audience widens, it may be time to explore if Snapchat could be a useful tool for your business.


What is Snapchat really?

It’s a mobile multimedia sharing app (best conceptualized as a messaging app). Essentially, a company or individual is able to share photos or videos with their friends or followers. Unlike Facebook or Instagram, where excessive time and effort can be spent editing photos or videos, Snapchat is used in real time. Jessica Maslin, directing partner at DayDreamCinema, describes it as “a glimpse into the lifestyle of your company”. It represents an innovative way to humanize your brand and your company. It’s all about how you make your audience feel about what they saw, and therefore how they will feel about your company. Snapchat is a channel to connect with your customers in a very personal and human way. One of the key aspects, which also made the app a bit controversial in the beginning, is that the “Snaps” (photo or video) disappear after only 10 seconds. This is good and bad. Good because it is much more casual than other social messaging platforms, and ban because the disappearing quality can create passive viewers. The key is to keep the content short, sweet, and engaging.


Who uses Snapchat?

The median age for Snapchat users is around 18 years. This is a HIGHLY coveted demographic for brands. You can compare this to the average age of Facebook users, which is around 40. It reflects superior engagement with a hard to reach demographic. In fact, 41% of 18-34 year olds every day! Millennials represent a fourth of the entire population, with over $200 billion in annual buying power. This makes them a coveted consumer segment, whose influence is growing quickly. Snapchat itself is similarly growing at an exciting rate, being named the fastest growing social network for 2 years in a row. As it gains popularity, now is a great time to explore how Snapchat can work for your company.

Why are people using Snapchat?

One of the reasons Snapchat is popular among the younger generation is the authenticity and personal nature of the platform. In a world where photos are edited beyond recognition and celebrities feel manufactured, people are looking for something more authentic and low-key. They enjoy sharing the little details of everyday life with friends, and connecting with others if only for a few seconds. It provides people with fun and random insights into the lives of everyone from their next door neighbor to favorite celebrity. Snapchat also seemingly offers more privacy – giving users strict control on who can see their content, how long others can view the content, and even notifies users if someone takes a screenshot. They provide their users with a fun, fast and easy form of secure communication.

Why should your business use Snapchat?

If you are targeting the younger generation, Snapchat is the place to be. Not only is it a low competition platform, but it has incredible reach. It also can be used on an extremely low budget, compared to other social media platforms, because of its casual and frequent nature. Some companies simply delegate different employees to take over every day. It is not meant to be as official and thought out as Facebook or Instagram. Similar to how Twitter is casual in nature, Snapchat takes it one step further and is a low risk platform.


How do you measure engagement?

As seen in articles about using Facebook for business, many social media platforms help you to monitor engagement through views, likes, or shares. Snapchat is a lot simpler – it is all about “opens” and “views”. You want people to open what you send them, as well as to view your Snap Story. It’s really as simple as that!

What is your Snap Story anyways?

Your snap story is a compilation of photos and/or videos that are strung together throughout the day. Any user can view your story at will, and you can see how many (and exactly who) has viewed your story at any given time. The videos can be up to 10 seconds in length, but it is important to remember the context in which your users are watching your videos. They are normally seen in bursts while people are busy multitasking or waiting for something – Snapchat makes it pretty easy to skip out of them if you are not interested or entertained.

Ready to get started? Snapchat provides instructions on setting up your own account. This is the social media platform to take risks and have fun! There is not as much accountability as Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. It’s all about making a lasting impact in a small amount of time and leaving your users with the right feeling.

Special thanks to Sofia DeMay for her help on this piece.