New thoughts on Snapchat (an open letter)

Boelter + Lincoln, blog, Snapchat, marketing

Dear skeptical, grizzled, Boomer marketing professional,

Does the mere mention of “Snapchat” make the hair on the back of your neck stand up? Yeah, well…me too. I’m afraid we’re both going to have to get over it.   

I know what you are thinking…how can you trust a company that is synonymous with sexting and has never actually turned a profit? I’ve also seen those articles. But I’ve read some other stuff too. Like Snapchat has 100 million daily users, a whopping 65% of whom regularly create content. Like Snapchat has a higher proportion of Millennials than any other social network. Like Snapchat has a market valuation of $16 billion.  

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Taking a page out of the Mark Zuckerberg playbook, Snapchat is quickly monetizing itself by developing advertising opportunities. For starters, marketers can now pay for branded videos and ads to appear on Snapchat’s Discover platform and in users’ “Our Story” section. That’s a huge development — and indicative of the dramatic evolution Snapchat is undergoing. The Discover platform, which the company unveiled a few months back, also allows publishers like CNN, ESPN and the Food Network to infuse their content into the user experience.

Additionally, Snapchat has jumped into the news business itself. Not only have they just hired longtime CNN political reporter Peter Hamby, they are recruiting wannabe politicos to help cover the 2016 elections and edit crowd-sourced snaps from breaking events (submitted through “Our Story.”)

Kind of like Twitter-meets-Instagram-meets-cable news, eh? Well, there’s location-based marketing element, too. Snapchat is testing sponsored geofilters, which enable advertisers to buy custom “stickers,” images users can overlay on their photo and video snaps. The idea is that users can use them when they are within a specific location. (McDonald’s became to the first to jump on this bandwagon last month, and Summerfest has now smartly jumped on the bandwagon, as well.) Snapchat users now have a whole new batch of images to play with if they want – and I’m betting they will look at ‘em like new toys under the Christmas tree.  

You’re probably going to point out the lack of analytics for Snapchat, right? Well, table it. While that has been a conspicuous absence in the eyes of many skeptical marketers, it shouldn’t be any more; a new app called Snaplytics can now deliver a wealth of highly detailed data on the performance of snaps. 

So, anyway, I’m thinking that maybe there is more for our clients here than we both thought. And maybe these guys weren’t so crazy to turn down Zuckerberg’s $3 billion buyout offer.  And – heaven forbid – maybe we should start using Snapchat. (Like, totally.)