Marketing With SnapChat – Challenges & Opportunities

Snapchat_logoIf you’ve already heard of SnapChat, odds are you already know why advertisers have been so skeptical about how viable the platform can be for marketing purposes. And if you haven’t, it only takes a few seconds to understand their concern.


Unlike other social media platforms, once a picture or video on SnapChat has been viewed, the content is deleted from your phone, the app, and even the SnapChat servers, all in fewer than 10 seconds. Marketers are used to using social networks to create lasting impressions, and SnapChat is by its very nature too elusive to do that.

Of course that doesn’t mean that SnapChat can’t be used for great effect by just about any business. With hundreds of millions of photos sent every day across over 30 million active users, there’s no doubt that SnapChat is a rising star in the world of social media.

But how can you use SnapChat to help craft a brand identity or boost your sales?


1- Discounts

One of the most prominent examples of SnapChat marketing excellence belongs to 16 Handles, an American self-serve frozen yogurt chain with more than two dozen locations nationwide. It was only a few weeks after SnapChat had gained a significant following that 16 Handles began to offer discount coupons to consumers who sent in a SnapChat photo of their yogurt. And because the coupon reply was also returned sent in the form of a SnapChat message, then quantity of the discount was completely unknown to the customer until they had entered the store, crafted a yogurt to their liking, and presented the SnapChat message to the cashier.

Apart from the element of surprise that made using these coupons fun to do, receiving a SnapChat coupon also provided 16 Handles consumers with a consistent reminder for use in their SnapChat inbox. The added touch of sending a personal message also helps to build your brand and reputation because the recipient will feel like part of your brand’s in-group. SnapChat excels where other social media platforms fall short precisely for its ability to create personal connection between you and the recipient, unlike the public messages of Facebook and Twitter.

2- Contests and Events

Of course not everyone runs a brick and mortar store, but just because you’re not offering a tangible product doesn’t mean you’re unable to use SnapChat to help market your business. Apart from discounts, SnapChat is also an excellent platform for contest promotion. This is largely because it enables you to reach specific customers, get feedback almost instantly, and integrates with your existing social media profiles in a way that makes it easy to use.

You can also encourage your following to snap photos or videos for an event you’ve hosted. To begin with, you obviously have to be at an event to take a picture of it, which can provide a strong incentive for attendance. Participation aside, this approach also encourages your fan base to share their experiences and provide what amounts to free word of mouth marketing.

The Bottom Line

The most important thing to keep in mind about SnapChat is that it’s almost entirely unlike other social media marketing tools. Unfortunately, this also means that collecting metrics to describe tangible results is all but impossible. Where you can easily count increases in your Twitter following or how many Facebook likes your next post receives, SnapChat messages are far more ethereal. But don’t let this difficulty prevent you from keeping track of your progress. After all, if you can’t measure something, it’s almost impossible to try and improve upon it. While you’ll have to glean most of your data by looking for the SnapChat hashtag or measuring activity based on other social media platforms used in unison with SnapChat, the extra trouble of sorting out that data will almost certainly be worth your while in the long run.

Over to you…

Have you marketed with SnapChat? ¬†Share your experience and thoughts…

About Omar Kattan
Omar is MD & Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Digital. His experience includes 10 years in traditional marketing and advertising in the Middle East and a further 10 years at two of the largest media agencies in the UK. Follow Omar on Twitter for updates on the latest in digital, branding, advertising and marketing.
Omar Kattan
Omar Kattan

Thanks Nils, glad you found it useful. I agree with you about its potential during sporting events, my bet would be on one of the NBA teams adopting it first; they've always done interesting stuff around this space of advertising. Thanks for your input.


Good insight and thoughts here Omar - I think you answer the questions you pose well. I'm really hoping to see sports brands some how embrace SnapChat - particularly around match days. Excited fans' on the day of events are among the best ambassadors for a club or brand and the whole 'magical moment' people long for at games ties in well with the way SnapChat operates. Very exciting times lie ahead...

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