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Why Snapchat is here to stay

by on August 10, 2016 in Lead Article, Lead story, News you can use

Conceived as a platform for pictures that expire within seconds, Snapchat’s founding premise back in 2011 was – quite literally – ephemeral. But five years on, with more than 150m+ active daily users sending snaps and content available for up to 24 hours, Snapchat is anything but. Which is why brand owners not now giving the platform serious consideration risk missing a trick.

Snapchat is now the app of choice for younger mobile users. It reaches 41% of 18 to 34 year-olds in the US compared to the 6% reached by the top 15 TV networks, Nielsen data shows. But use is growing among older users, too – half of new daily users are aged 25+, Snapchat VP of Content Nick Bell recently revealed at Advertising Week Europe.

Its audience is active and engaged, too, with 65% of its 150m daily Snapchatters creating photos and videos. And in just eight weeks, the number of videos views on Snapchat rose from 8bn to 10bn between February and April 2016.

Over one in three of these active users create ‘Stories’, video and photo snaps lasting a full day – an enhancement post-launch to make content less ephemeral. Meanwhile, dwell time is growing fast as people spend on average 25 to 30 minutes every day using the platform.

Snapchat enables advertisers to appeal to young mobile users in new and creative ways through three advertising formats.

Brand owners can sponsor Snapchat Lenses –  the animated creative experiences for users’ selfies – driving significant reach among a young and energetic demographic hard to reach via TV. They can sponsor Snapchat Geofilters – the overlays that communicate a user’s where and when. And they can use Snap Ads which play with sound, and are 100% full-screen viewable.

Brands such as Taco Bell have made a big impact – the brand’s recent Cinco de Mayo campaign generated the most-viewed Sponsored Lens in a day with 224m views, a Snapchat record.

During the recent US primaries, even presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Marco Rubio used Snapchat to engage audiences and inspire them to become brand ambassadors.

Frequency of access is another benefit.

With 62% of mIllennials checking their phone more than 30x each day, content consumption via mobile is different from other platforms. People consume content faster on mobile than via desktop, Twitter research has shown. Meanwhile Facebook analysis showed younger people scroll faster on mobile.

An estimated 47% of value in a video campaign is delivered in the initial three seconds, and nearly three quarters in the initial ten seconds, according to a recent study by Facebook and Nielsen. But even with just a few seconds, brands can be memorable, resonate and stand out – if their use of video is creative.

Short video ads are a natural fit for Snapchat and the platform claims that because its videos are vertically-oriented, users are 9x more likely to watch video ads through to completion as they don’t have to rotate their mobile phones.

Small wonder, then, that in April 2016 Snapchat held number one spot in the US at the iTunes App Store for free apps for the very first time, out-performing big name apps in the US market such as Messenger, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube plus a host of popular games.

As a platform, Snapchat is evolving, still, and efforts to improve measurement capabilities are not yet complete. That said, they’ve added over 10 measurement partnerships as well as key targeting capabilities in the last year.

Yet rapidly-growing numbers means it is already on its way to over-taking Facebook as the number one platform for millennials drawn by the authentic, ‘uncurated’ experience the app offers. Which is why brand owners not already paying it close attention should start doing so, and fast.

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