Snapchat: an instruction manual for brands

How does it work for brands?

Originally used by teenagers and young adults to send more-or-less compromising pictures that are erased right after they’ve been viewed, Snapchat was a resounding success. Following the addition of new functions, the app has become the perfect channel for brands to reach this particular target group (15-20 year-olds), which is less susceptible to traditional channels.

There’s no instruction manual for this app. You have to use it yourself to really understand how it works. So, in three newsletters, we’d like to explain the rudiments of Snapchat and how brands can use it.

The basics of the app

Brands post a photo or video (a “snap”) or two at the same time (a “story”). Adopting a deliberately quirky and uninhibited tone (thanks to emoticons, funny texts and drawings superimposed on the image, filters, etc.). Users of the app can follow the brand’s account and choose to view its messages. One of the particularities of Snapchat is precisely that it allows users to decide whether or not to view this content – unlike social media networks like Facebook or Instagram, which force users to see messages directly in their newsfeeds.

Since the brand content proposed by Snapchat is also combined with personal messages, the challenge for brands is to create a snap that stands out and makes users want to view it, ideally by piggybacking on popular current events (the Super Bowl, Academy Awards, etc.). The fact that this content is temporary makes it exclusive; users have to be there at the right moment to see it (making it ideal for very limited-time special offers).

Could you tell me more?

Snapchat is a contraction of the words “snap” and “chat,” and this second function is also essential to the app. It makes it possible to communicate directly with users, naturally creating a closer relationship.

In the next newsletter, we’ll look at Snapchat’s functions in greater detail. The difference between a snap and a story, types of filters and effects… In the meantime, download the app if you haven’t already done so!