Despite the fact that its content has only a 24-hour-shelf life, Snapchat is an important tool for marketers on social media.
The photo- and video-message-sharing app is not only the most popular social network among teens but also the platform driving the most engagement. While Instagram posts and Facebook updates are sandwiched in between different feeds of content, Snapchat “snaps” are full-screen--a one-on-one interaction that demands users’ full attention.
Also, unlike Facebook and Twitter, which count three seconds of autoplay as a view, Snapchat decided to base views on a click. What’s more, video ads are placed within the context of user-generated content, with the option to skip. Users aren’t shy about skipping either. According to Digiday, at least one brand experienced a sharp drop in engagement beyond the first three seconds of a 10-second-video ad on Snapchat.
The truth is, completion rates for Snapchat vary depending on the creativity of the ad. Most brands that try to be native--organic to the platform--have higher completion rates. In other words, respect and understanding for the platform are crucial for achieving the kind of engagement brands are hoping for.
Taco Bell was one of the first brands to take advantage of Snapchat’s early advertising offerings, featuring pictures from Snapchat users when it unveiled its new dollar menu in 2014. The fast-food franchise has adopted the spirit of Snapchat’s experimental nature with short-form video stories and even hired an in-house team dedicated to creating content for the platform.
GrubHub also is know what it’s doing with Snapchat. The food-delivery service has been on Snapchat since 2013 and was smart enough to hire an influential artist, Michael Platco, to create content for its profile. One of GrubHub’s most successful campaigns was the use of the Stories feature to send users on a promo code scavenger hunt that also engaged followers in their own creative exercise.
GE is a third example of a brand absolutely killing it on social media, and Snapchat is no exception. The company made its Snapchat debut with a campaign for Mission Sneakers, and when it launched Emoji Science with Bill Nye last year, one of the challenges was for followers to send snaps of their favorite emoji in return for a video. It was an innovative move from the 123-year-old company.
So what’s the key to successful marketing on Snapchat?
• Brand, know thyself: In each of the cases above, the brand was true to itself. GE is making a name for itself with its geeky and inventive antics. GrubHub turned a promo code into a creative adventure. These are examples wherein the brand had a clear vision of who it was, and the content reflected this confidence.
• Engage the audience creativity: Getting the audience involved is almost a sure-fire way to facilitate an audience feedback loop that also results in the creation of user-generated content. While GE made the relatively simple request that followers Snap a favorite emoji, hiring an influential Snapchat artist is a pretty genius move on the part of Taco Bell.
• Keep it simple: Successful Snapchat content has something else in common: It’s simple. Sometimes big brands can get caught up in creating perfectly edited, slick campaigns. But that slick production isn’t what captures audience attention. Instead, simple content honors both the medium and its young audience.
This article originally appears on CMO.com.