It’s been a whirlwind year for Snapchat, with Instagram Stories (Instagram’s own take on Snapchat’s content model) growing at a rapid pace. But when it comes to holiday advertising, Snapchat remains a crucial platform.
Over 180 million people use the app each day, and they’re already gearing up to plan their holiday purchases. According to Snapchat, users are 64% more likely than non-users to start holiday shopping on Black Friday. In fact, they were 15X more likely to visit Victoria’s Secret and 13X more likely to visit to Target on Black Friday than on non-holidays.
Meanwhile Snapchatters who left their holiday shopping to the last minute were found to have visited beauty, jewelry, discount, and printing stores such as MAC and Staples. Still, they’re not just spending the holiday seasons at stores. They’re also bringing in the New Year at tourist destinations like Disneyland, Universal Orlando, and the Mall of America.
If you want to reach these consumers, it’s time to look into Snapchat’s ad formats. Just remember that Snapchat is a bit of a unicorn. For one, the app’s content is presented vertically. This means brands can’t just take videos from Facebook or YouTube (where audiences favor widescreen formats) and repurpose them. In fact, it almost forces you to create distinct content for its platform.
What’s more, all Snapchat posts disappear after 24 hours, meaning brands can’t rely on a lot of repeat impressions; they need to get their message across quickly, make it memorable, and then get out. This can be particularly suitable for holiday advertising, when marketers are hustling to promote time-sensitive sales and seasonal deals.
Ready to get started? Here’s how you can make the most of advertising on Snapchat this holiday season.
Snap Ads are full-screen vertical videos that last up to 10 seconds and always appear in the context of other Snaps. This means they can pop up between regular Snap Stories (collections of images and videos that users publish for their friends), Live Stories (which revolve around special events), or Stories on Discover (Snapchat’s platform of curated news from major media outlets like CNN, ESPN, and Vogue).
Brands can also customize their Snap Ads with attachments, such as an auto-fill email form, app install button, and long-form video capabilities.
This is a perfect opportunity for brands to launch ads promoting holiday sales and include an option for users to visit their online store or app where they can make purchases.
Sponsored Geofilters are custom-made frames and images that users can lay over their Snaps when they’re in a certain location. For instance, in 2015, Starbucks launched geofilters that popped up whenever people were in or near the company’s stores. Made just for the season, the content featured Starbucks’ iconic red holiday cups clinking together.
These filters provide people with a fun and easy way to show their friends where they are and what they’re doing, while also giving brands an opportunity to reach new audiences. This season, you might consider using geofilters at in-store sales, city landmarks, or holiday events where you know a lot of people will be congregating. You can even try to pinpoint certain places people use your products and launch geofilters for those locations.
For example, General Electric created a filter designed to reach people traveling for the holidays. Spread across 50 US airports and 25 train stations, the filter was customized for each transit stop to look like a boarding pass or train ticket. To let family and friends know where they were and where they were headed, users could plug in their location and future destination.
Where does the GE brand fit into this whole message? As Business Insider reported, the company created the campaign “to spread awareness amongst young people about how much of the travel industry relies on its technology.”
Sponsored Lenses provide an opportunity for brands to embrace their creative and experimental side. Just think of the most popular Lenses on the platform, like the one that lets you vomit rainbows or the one that turns you into a slobbery puppy. By creating their own Lenses, marketers can invite users to interact with their ads through wacky animations and facial triggers.
Vodafone, for example, wanted to help people in the UK connect and celebrate the holiday in a special and unique way. The brand partnered with Snapchat to create a Lens that turned Snapchatters into a Christmas cracker, “an iconic symbol of getting together in a moment of festive joy and surprise.”
Snapchatters could then blow a kiss, which triggered the Lens to burst the cracker into Christmas confetti, don the user with a Santa hat, and show an animated “Love from Vodafone.” As a result, the campaign reached 8.3 million Snapchatters and generated 14 million views.
Maybe your holiday-themed lens will feature a Santa hat, for instance, or a giant Thanksgiving turkey. You might even include an animation of someone opening your product as a holiday gift – so they can drop a not-so-subtle hint about what they want this year.
Snapchat also allows businesses to create Augmented Reality (AR) lenses with its new Lens Studio. Every day, over 70 million people use AR-powered lenses to express themselves in fun and unique ways, and now brands can get in on the action.
For your holiday campaigns, you might be trying to drive website purchases, in-store purchases, email signups for special offers, or other forms of engagement. You just need the right tools to achieve your goal.
Snapchat allows advertisers to choose from over 300 built-in audiences based on criteria such as where they shop, what they’re interested in, and what they watch. Or marketers can target audiences by age, location, device, and household income.
Snapchat also provides tools for marketers to expand their audiences. Through Audience Match, for example, brands can pair their own data with Snapchat’s data to reach people in their databases. And with Lookalike Expansions, brands can reach Snapchat users who are similar to their current customers and email subscribers.
Snap Pixel is a new tool that allows advertisers to more effectively drive ROI from their Snap Ads. The pixel optimizes campaigns to reachers users who are more likely to take certain actions, such as completing a sign-up form, subscribing to emails, or making a purchase on a brand website. It’s another way to track the customer journey and bridge the gap between social engagement and e-commerce.
Snapchat has been cagey about revealing its metrics. But last year, the app added a “Measurement” section to its site for businesses, providing a peek into its analytics offerings.
For example, Snap Ad analytics include impressions, video views, duration watched, completion rates, average screen time, and swipe ups (for attachments). For geofilters, Snapchat tracks paid impressions, earned impressions, shares, and paid reach broken down by gender and location.
The mobile app will also measure brand awareness, brand consideration, brand favorability, intent, and “Snap to Store” – how many people visited a store after seeing an ad.
For those just getting started with the mobile app, Snapchat provides a selection of partner companies that are ready to help. At Sprinklr, for example, we’re proud to be one of Snapchat’s official Licensed Ad Partners. Other partner categories include Audience Match Partners, Creative Partners, Lens Studio Partners and the new Marketing Mix Modeling Partners.
Whatever your Snapchat needs may be, these brands are there to help you every step of the way.
Snapchat’s content is unique in that it’s entirely mobile-based and vertically laid out. This is probably a change for marketers who are used to creating videos for Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. As such, it’s important to get comfortable with vertical video before you figure out how to create your own.
If you’re new to the platform, take some time to browse user content, check out how media outlets are creating videos on Discover, and think about how your brand can take advantage of this format.
Don’t forget that brands can distribute their messages among Discover channels that are most relevant to their content. Say, for instance, you’re marketing a cosmetics brand. Your ads might be placed in the Vogue and Cosmopolitan channels, so you can reach people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to say.
That’s why it’s important to get familiar with the Discover network and get an idea of which types of stories are being told on it. From there, you can better understand the people who might read this content and brainstorm how you might be able to reach them with your holiday ads.
Users are going to be bombarded with ads during holiday time. You might consider getting your message across by partnering with influencers who already have their attention. Because the platform is still new to many advertisers, influencer marketing is a great way to test the waters.
Say you’re a fashion retail brand looking to drive holiday sales. Find Snapchat users who are authorities in the fashion world and work with them to offer special promotions to their viewers. You can even set up a plan to take over their account for an afternoon or a day when you’re having a major sale or event. Then, you can give a behind-the-scenes look at your products, answer questions, and direct people to your online shop and retail stores, all while building valuable new relationships.
Consider Snapchat’s ad tools an early holiday gift for your brand. With Snap Ads, Sponsored Lenses, and Sponsored Geofilters, marketers have their pick of distinct and dynamic formats through which to reach Snapchat’s millennial audience.
‘Tis the season to drive sales, and there’s never been a better time to make your mark on one of the most unique platforms out there.
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