Snapchats are ephemeral videos that expire after 24 hours. These videos last for less than a minute and they meet the millennials’ demand for instant gratification through the consumption of bite-sized information. In fact, Wall Street Journal has called it the new television, with 41% of Snapchat users hailing from the 18 to 34-year-old demographic. It has far surpassed the television, which only reach a mere 6% of this same demographic.
What makes this platform unique is that it enables audiences to take a peek into the lives of influencers they follow. By capturing moments that can be broadcasted live, it presents a new way of reaching out to relevant target groups in real-time, especially since millennials have the habit of constantly checking their phones for updates. Additionally, with increasing digital literacy, Snapchat has become a suitable platform for digital campaigns.
These campaigns can be executed by including brand mentions or showing actual products in the snaps. Influencers can talk about the brand that they are using directly to the viewers or even demonstrate how a product is being used. They can also curate their own Live Stories and engage their audience through their storytelling.
An example of a campaign that has leveraged on Snapchat was #LastSelfie. WWF and Snapchat teamed up to raise awareness for endangered animals, with the hashtag #LastSelfie. Similar to how snaps disappear within 10 seconds, #LastSelfie leverages on Snapchat’s unique ephemeral content format to put across the message that endangered animals can also vanish in an instant. In this campaign, Snapchat users are asked to 'adopt' an animal, and donate to the WWF through SMS. Within a week, the campaign received 40,000 tweets and was seen by roughly 50% of active twitter users and has been praised by the media as "A marketing idea that makes sense on Snapchat".
Periscope, Snapchat, and Instagram stories are some of the live broadcasting media platforms used to share both live video and video clips. They mainly target millennials in their digital campaigns. These platforms utilise the connection between influencers and their followers to develop relationships between potential customers and the product, brand or service.
Currently Facebook, Periscope and Instagram each has a live video feature where users can broadcast live streaming from their phones. Nowadays, users live-stream for various events and happenings; from protests to behind-the-scenes footages of a fashion photo shoot. Facebook even has a feature that enables one to watch the live streams as videos.
This feature has become very popular and is being used as a marketing tactic. Numerous creative campaigns have employed this feature to spread awareness as well as to promote events. Some examples are as follows:
Nestle’s Drumstick Ice-Cream Cones - Nestle and Periscope partnered with influencers to host live periscope sessions where they shared ways of celebrating the first days of summer while eating Drumstick Ice-Cream cones. The activities ranged from sunset rooftop parties to riding the Ferris wheel. This piqued the interest of audiences who watched the campaign and helped forge the connection between the ice-cream brand and summer activities.
Announcement of new Products - Companies are turning to Facebook and their livestreaming feature to reach out to audiences that are not physically present during an event launch. Chevrolet did this for the launch of their electric car, Bolt EV. Chevrolet also responded to comments on Facebook to give information about the car and interact with their audiences online.
The Story unfolds
While Snapchat might have started the trend of short story videos, it may no longer be the most popular platform for this medium, especially following the launch of Instagram Stories. In fact, according to a report by The Verge, Instagram currently takes the lead, with 200 million daily users — 25% more users than Snapchat.
A study from mediakix also showed that even influencers prefer Instagram Stories to Snapchat Stories. This shift can be attributed to a wider variety of features, larger audience size, and a better search feature offered by Instagram. The study also showed that it has earned the attention of top users and they are increasingly posting Instagram stories as opposed to Snapchat.
However, not all is lost with Snapchat. With 161 million daily active users, according to its last count in its IPO announcement, Snapchat remains a plausible platform brands can utilise for influencer marketing. Despite its current competition in the form of Instagram and Facebook, it remains the pioneer of this new genre of social media marketing. How Snapchat’s story will eventually unfold would depend on how they keep up with trends in the tech industry.