For those of you who do not know what Snapchat is or have heard of it, but have absolutely no idea how to use it, then let me give you the low down. Once upon a time, there was a boy named Evan Spiegel who went to Stanford University where he met Reggie Brown and Bobby Murphy (Snapchat co-founder and programmer behind the app). Brown was sending a girl pictures and thought “hmm I wish these photos would disappear!” Spiegel heard the idea, loved it and the idea for Snapchat was born, but they were calling it “Pictaboo.” In 2011, Brown wanted 30% equity and ended up being booted out of the company – later, Spiegel and Murphy changed the name to Snapchat.
There’s more to the story, but for now, let’s talk about Snapchat and what it is used for today. Snapchat has become a hugely popular instant messaging app that has become extremely popular with people between the ages of 13-34. Pictures and videos only last for a matter of seconds, and you can edit the photos like you would with Instagram. Within Snapchat, there are four different ways to view and create content: Stories, a compilation of your videos and pictures; Discover, a list of the world’s best publishers content that is hand crafted; Live, a look into the real story coming straight from the fans; and Local, a look into what’s happening in your city right now. As you can see, there’s so much to do and be a part of in this app!
If you are new to Snapchat you may have never seen these, or you have and have no idea what they mean, but in your list of friends you will see emojis next to their names. Each one means something special about each friend – check it out below! My personal favorite is the “you are one of their best friends, but you just don’t feel the same way.”
You may be wondering why Snapchat would even be remotely interesting to someone who isn’t a teenager, but there is a real business case behind it. Brands LOVE and utilize Snapchat to engage with their audience on a platform that allows them to directly interact with their favorite brand by taking screenshots, discovering secret passwords, and sending replies. Victor Pineiro from AdAge said, “Snapchat offers something unique in the world of mostly-broadcast, feed-centric social media – intimacy at scale.” And he would be correct!
Some examples of brands that are currently on Snapchat are The White House, The Voice, MTV, Ellen, ESPN, National Geographic and Comedy Central. There are many, many more, but sometimes finding these brands takes some research. In the Discover tab, you will find brands that are paying to be on Snapchat exclusively – some of these brands include, MTV, ESPN and The Food Network – these brands are offering content from an editorial function. The Live function is another way for brands to distribute content.
While Snapchat users are adding their content to the live event they are at, brands have the ability to feature targeted ads within the story – an example of this is the Jason Bourne movie trailer. The brands such as Ellen and The Voice are a little harder to find unless you follow them on other social media channels to learn their Snapchat handle. They are not paying to be on Snapchat, but they are still engaging with users and fans with their own Story (owned channel) like a regular Snapchat user. If you are wanting to find out if your favorite brands are on Snapchat, I would suggest heading over to their Twitter or Instagram page – some brands have changed their profile pictures to their Snapchat icon and they are posting about their Snap name to gain followers.
The final features I will mention are the branded filters and lenses. There are two types of branded filter activations: Community filters and On-Demand geofilters. A community filter can be created for a city, university, landmark or another location that is public. An On-Demand filter are created for events such as a wedding or music festival. With geofilters, brand logos and trademarks are permitted in the filter, unlike the community ones. To access these filters, you must swipe right to see the different features available in your location. These filters are a great way for brands to get exposure at locations all around the world!
With these filters, brands also have the option to buy interactive lenses that users can access through the facial recognition feature of the app – If you don’t know how to access this, simply hold your finger on your face in the app and the facial recognition options will appear below! These branded filters and lenses allow users to customers how they use brand assets and how they represent their relationship to the brand. If you want to create a filter or lens for your brand, visit their website and follow the steps!
If you haven’t already guessed, there’s more to Snapchat than meets the eye. I challenge you to take a moment, find a brand or your favorite brand and interact with the brand or some of your friends! Now get to snappin’!