What’s Your Snapchat Strategy?

Ben Johnson on 26 July 2016

I am going to make a prediction here: Snapchat is going to become the most important marketing platform for the entertainment industry within the next two years. Bigger than Facebook, bigger than Instagram and bigger than any messaging platform. For those of you unfamiliar, Gary Vaynerchuk provides a 101 break down of the service, and a quick read will fill you in on all the features that make this platform brilliant.

All kudos to Gary Vaynerchuk for this animation!

This leap may seem surprisingly sudden but if you examine the company’s strategy, its orientation towards video and mobile, the release of its ads API and understand that Snapchat has based itself in LA (not Silicon Valley) — the media and entertainment capital of the world — you will quickly come to the same the conclusion.

I have worked in tech for the last ten years building and selling digital advertising and marketing services to the entertainment industry. In a lot of ways, that makes me an interesting hybrid. I understand the requirements of my clients when it comes to reaching, communicating and tracking their audiences but my background also lets me understand, shape and test the technologies that drive attention.

This experience is why I find Snapchat so fascinating. There has always been a chasm between Silicon Valley and Hollywood — media and tech are like oil and water. I constantly heard frustration from my clients that Twitter, Facebook and Youtube didn’t offer the creative outlet and capabilities to help tell their stories to their audiences. Change is slowly happening — for example, Facebook’s app Canvas is a good nod towards the importance of proper storytelling in marketing — but I don’t think it is happening fast enough and everyone is now trained to use Facebook ad-technology in a certain way.

In contrast, the ability to use a brand’s creative, its video and storytelling are embedded in Snapchat’s DNA; coupled with a mobile only approach, it makes sticky content like movies, tv shows and games set to win in this fun, creative environment that has been built with entertainment in mind.

Now bolster this with the company releasing the ‘Memories’ feature, which proves that its audiences have already ‘crossed the chasm’ from early adopter. So I am going to double down here and say that Snapchat will have mainstream adoption in the next 12 months.

But, let’s be honest: what really makes a new social network become popular fast? Teenagers. There are two things that are very true when it comes to teens. One, it’s not cool to hang out at the same club as your mom. And two, you want to lock your room.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

It’s normal for us to communicate differently with different groups of people and we will use different tools (Facebook, Viber, WhatsApp, etc.) to host those conversations online. If you read my write up on Donah Boyd’s book, you will understand why Facebook is currently such a huge anomaly in terms of normal human communication patterns. This is why Zuckerberg engaged in a buying spree in order to diversify his company’s reach and the mastery of people’s attention with the acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp. It’s also why he tried to buy Snapchat for 3 billion dollars in late 2013 off the back of reports of declining numbers of teens using his service.

Privacy is at the heart of Snapchat, the settings that govern who will see what and when is central to the ethos of the platform, right down to how content is shared through to the longevity of a snap itself. Like real life, experiences are fleeting and Snapchat’s snaps were the hook that caught the fish of people’s attention. Other smart features are the incorporation of rich media experiences from brands such as VICE, Buzzfeed, CNN, etc. These brands are now focusing on producing short, attention grabbing, interactive video and article experiences within the platform, largely based on the feedback they are getting through this partnership. Which gets back to the DNA of Snapchat and why it is more advanced than any other social network service out there — native content, entertainment and mobile experiences will be key to driving engagement and advertising opportunities within the platform to young and new audiences. If you have attended any conferences on where advertising should be heading, Snapchat has it scarily nailed.

So a very important question is coming soon… What’s your Snapchat strategy?

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