Today, Snapchat is worth over $10 billion dollars. Who would have thought it, right?

The app was launched with the simple premise that users could send images to each other which would disappear within 10 seconds of opening them.

As simple (and pointless) as it seemed, the app has become one of the most popular available with over 100 million people using it daily.

The main demographic is millennials and younger generations aged 18-24 years old and over 18 percent of social media users in the USA use the app.

But before you write it off Snapchat as an app designed for kids and teens, many big corporate companies are now seeing the value in marketing on the platform.

For example, in the last few years companies like Cocoa-Cola, Michael Kors, CNN and National Geographic have been using it to connect with their followers and fans and are seeing pleasing results.

Even though the main demographic using the app is millennials, it is important to keep in mind that they are some of the biggest online shoppers and will very soon make up the largest percentage of consumers.

In fact, if you are in a product based business running a campaign on Snapchat may be one of the more effective ways to reach your audience as not many brands are taking advantage of it and the competition is slim.

Compare this with other social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, where millions of brands are vying for your customers attention every day.

Of course, Snapchat may not be suitable for all brands but we will take you step by step through the ins and outs of marketing on the platform so you can see if it is the right fit for your upcoming campaigns and strategies.

Snapchat Audience Data

One of the main ways to determine whether running a Snapchat marketing campaign will be beneficial for your business is to look at who is exactly using the platform. When you understand the audience it will give your brand a better idea of what opportunities are available.

Here is what we know about Snapchats user base:

  • 70 percent of Snapchat users are women
  • Snapchats main audience is between 13 and 25
  • 18 percent of all iPhone owners use Snapchat
  • 400 million snaps are sent each day
  • Snapchat has over 26 million active US users
  • 30 percent of millennials use Snapchat
  • 8,796 photos are shared per second on Snapchat
  • 1 billion ‘My Story’ features are viewed each day
  • 4 billion videos are watched every day

It may also be interesting to note that Snapchat has had incredible growth from 2012 to 2015. Back in 2012 around 50 million snaps were being sent per day but now that number is around 400 million and growing.

Ways to Use Snapchat for Brand Marketing

The two main mediums used on Snapchat are photos and videos, however there are features available to annotate or draw on images and video clips. Snapchat also offers a ‘My Story’ platform that allows users to post content that will last up to 24 hours.

When it comes to running a marketing campaign, the strategies that tend to work the best include:

  • Running Contests and competitions
  • New product sneak peaks
  • Providing access to live events
  • Coupons or promotions
  • A behind the scenes look
  • Introducing a new team member
  • Introducing a new service
  • Targeted Videos
  • Video demonstrations

Because the main demographic of Snapchat is millennials it is important to keep this in mind no matter what type of strategy you are aiming for. In fact, the content that has performed the best on Snapchat includes:

  • Humorous content
  • Fleeting moments
  • Rare information
  • Selfies
  • Simple chats using images or doodles
  • Doodling on images or faces
  • Video content with music

Key Things to Understand before Using Snapchat

The two main things to note when running a Snapchat campaign are:

  1. The style of content being shared on Snapchat
  2. The length of time that content is made available

If your brand is planning to use Snapchat it may be worthwhile looking at user accounts and seeing what others are posting and responding to. The reason for this is that the app is fairly casual and is meant to be a fun and light-hearted way to connect with friends, therefore running very promotional or salesy snaps or videos are likely to yield poor results.

The other thing to understand about Snapchat is the time limit. Users will only be able to receive your content for 10 seconds so you have to keep this in mind as well when you are sharing your images and videos. Snapchat also offers a ‘My Story’ feature where content can be available for 24 hours only.

Other brand accounts that you may want to look at for reference include:

  • Taco Bell
  • GrubHub
  • Seventeen Magazine
  • HBO Girls
  • EA Sports
  • Acura
  • Ellen
  • McDonalds
  • Glee
  • Pitch Perfect 2
  • Mashable
  • The Verge
  • 20th Century Fox
  • Marketing Land
  • MTV

All of these brands have run successful Snapchat campaigns and have built up a loyal following of fans.

Getting Started with your Campaign

Step #1: Set up an account 

Download the free app from the store and create an account using your email address, birthdate and password. Then create a name for your account that is easily recognisable- your company name should do.

Step #2: Promote on Social Media

Promote your new Snapchat account on existing social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter in order to gain a following. You may also want to announce your new account using your email list. A popular way to promote your Snapchat account is by using the ghost image from the Snapchat logo with your username below.

You can also provide some type of incentive to get your social following to join you on Snapchat such as offering a sneak peak image, coupon code or a video that they receive when they sign up.

Step #3: Follow People

Spend some time following people that may be interested in your brand such as fans, clients and other businesses that are using the app. Snapchat also has a ‘Discover’ section that allows you to look at some of the more popular brands that are using the service. Through this you can also add and follow like-minded businesses.

Step #4: Reward Followers

As previously mentioned, it is important to reward your followers once they start following your account in order to keep them engaged. You can reward them by either following them back or offering them some type of incentive or product deal. You may also want to advertise this on your other social platforms in order to generate more excitement and get users to sign up or follow you.

Step #5: Snap Meaningful Content

Once you have started to build a presence, continue to grow it by offering meaningful visual content that engages your users. You can also play around with some of Snapchats features including filters and special text. Snapchat also has premium geofilters, emoji, music, graphics and doodles that you can add to your images starting at around 99 cents each.

Step #6: Leverage

Snapchat allows you to send images to all your followers under ‘My Story’ and also select followers. Once you begin to understand your Snapchat audience you can start directly targeting certain groups or share to your entire following through the My Story feature.

Case Studies

The best way to go about running a campaign is to look at what other brands have done before you and learn from their experiences.

Here are some case studies from some of the most popular brands on Snapchat:

1. Taco Bell 

The popular fast-food taco chain used Snapchat to announce the re-release of their Beefy Crunch Burrito. Users who added Taco Bell as a friend were sent a mouth-watering snap of the burrito and the release date for the product.

Taco Bell also used their Twitter account to promote the Snapchat campaign, saying “We are on @Snapchat. Username: tacobell. Add us. We are sending all of our friends a secret announcement tomorrow! #Shhh!

The campaign helped the food chain to generate thousands of new followers not just on Snapchat but also on Twitter.

2. Acura

The car brand ran a campaign where they gave their first 100 followers a chance to see their new NSX prototype. Fans that followed the car brand got a 10 second video clip of the prototype straight to their phone. Later on, the brand posted the video on all of their social media accounts but their Snapchat users were first. This helped fans on Snapchat to feel special and that they were being granted something exclusive.

3. Wet Seal

The teenage clothing brand decided to hand their Snapchat account over to a 16 year old blogger and social media influencer. During her time with the account she helped to generate more than nine thousand new followers and six thousand new views in just two days. Naturally, the blogger was able to use her existing following to help the brand but curious onlookers were also engaged to sign up.

Another brand in the US called, Sour Patch Kids, which makes sour lollies also had success in lending their Snapchat account over to young social media influencer, Logan Paul who used his 500,000 Twitter following to help the company.

4. The NBA

When the NBA launched their Snapchat account back in 2014, they allowed followers access to videos from the LA Clippers, Boston Celtics and other basketball teams. They also allowed users to see clips from a Slam Dunk Contest. Now they use their account to showcase training programs, games and highlights in order to keep their fans up to date and interested.

5. Valentino 

At the Paris fashion week, the designer Valentino had actors Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson reprise their Zoolander roles with the tagline ‘Blue Steel’ in order to generate engagement with fans. Those who followed the fashion designer were able to see behind the scenes videos and images of the actors in character.

Other fashion brands like Michael Kors also offered their Snapchat followers access to behind the scenes images and videos from the New York Fashion week.

6. GrubHub

The online food ordering service ran a scavenger hunt for 5 days where they asked followers to post a daily snap involving food. On the first day they asked users to post a food doodle, on the second day a food-bombing image, on the third day a screenshot with food, on the fourth day a “food 4 thought” and on the last day a food selfie.

Those who posted an image then went into the running to win a daily prize to use on the GrubHub website.

This innovative campaign helped the brand to not only build a following and increase awareness but also helped to showcase the personality of the company and what they stand for.

7. Everlane

The fashion startup uses Snapchat to post images of their factory and design warehouses in order to educate customers on how their clothes are made and where they come from. They have also shared videos that took followers on tours of their office and showcased their employees.

This allows consumers to feel that they are part of the process and gives them an inside look at the message and personality of the brand.

Top Marketing Tips for Snapchat

Whether you are building an audience, driving traffic or increasing your social media following, here are some top tips for marketing on Snapchat.

1. Be Creative

Snapchat offers a much loved draw feature that allows you to doodle and annotate images and videos. This feature is a favourite among users and is definitely something to take advantage of in order to run creative campaigns and promotions. Use the draw feature to transform your images and add something humorous or unique.

2.Informal works better

As we have already discussed, Snapchat is a very causal and light-hearted platform. Snaps that don’t perform well are often salesy, phoney or fake, so definitely stay away from this type of advertising. Users on Snapchat are also not really interested in what you are trying to sell, they are more interested in who you are as a brand and what you stand for. Remember, that your best performing snaps are going to be ones that offer your followers an insight into what makes your brand special or different, while being authentic and genuine.

3. Snap frequently, but not too frequently

If you are just starting out, a snap a day is probably a good place to start. As you develop more followers and start to see what your fans are responding to you can then adjust your snap frequency accordingly. The absolute minimum you should be posting however is 2-3 times per week.

4. Use Influencers and Cross Promote

It is relatively difficult to build up a big following on Snapchat, which is why you have to cross promote your campaigns using social media. As seen in the case studies, most brands announce their Snapchat campaigns on other platforms such as Twitter in order to spread the word and get users engaged.

Another way to draw a huge following to your Snapchat account is to hire an influencer to build traction for you. Many brands have seen pleasing results with this as millennials are more likely to respond to friends and bloggers that they follow online.

5. Call to Actions

You only have 10 seconds to communicate your call to action to your followers, for this reason it is really important to think about what you are offering or requiring your audience to do. For the best results with your call to actions, try to create an immediate need for your ‘action’ so your snap is not forgotten or ignored. Good examples of what has worked for other brands includes, asking them to share a picture of their favourite product or snapping a selfie.

6. Don’t Measure Success Based on ROI

Snapchat is very different to platforms like Facebook and Instagram because you can’t really keep track of your followers engagement levels through likes and shares. The only way you can really do this is on Snapchat is by seeing how many of your followers have taken a screenshot of your image or video. This means that it is very difficult to measure using traditional metrics what type of effect Snapchat is having on your sales.

Remember, Snapchat is excellent for creating brand awareness and communicating with your audience and this always has a positive effect on your profits and sales in the long run.

For those brands that are serious about Snapchat marketing, it may be beneficial to track your audience using specific coupon codes or CTA’s every month or so to see what effect it is having.


Snapchat is an excellent tool  to help boost your social following and develop more brand awareness. It is also a great way to reach your consumers on a different level and to establish a deeper connection with your millennial consumers.

Snapchat is also very cost efficient and has less competition than some other social platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

No matter what campaign your brand decides to run, here are some important factors to not forget:

1. Snapchat is a platform mainly used by millennials, even if this is not your main demographic, reaching out to this audience requires a certain subtly and finesse. Millennials don’t like to be pressured into things and nor do they like to be ‘advertised’ to. They are also the fastest growing consumer demographic in the world. Keeping this in mind, make your snaps stand for something, showcase something bigger and more influential than just your products or services and see if that helps to increase engagement rates.

2. Take advantage of Snapchats creative features by creating doodles, using emoji and other filters. This is really what helps Snapchat to be different from other social media platforms and is what keeps it fun and popular amongst friends.

3. Use Snapchat to offer your followers a behind the scenes or exclusive access to your brand, products and services. Everyone wants to feel as if they are part of something and sharing this type of content will help engage your followers and make them feel as if they are part of the process. It will also help them to feel a stronger bond and connection to your brand.

4. Use other social media platforms to help promote your Snapchat account and promotions. This way you can leverage the power and visibility that you have across multiple platforms. You can also share screenshots of your Snapchat images along with your username on other social media accounts in order to boost awareness.

5. Study other brands on Snapchat and see how they manage to communicate and develop strong followings with their fans. Also, look to other accounts for inspiration and to take some of the guess work out of how to structure your campaign.

6. Don’t try to measure your success on Snapchat using traditional means. Snapchat is very different from Facebook and Twitter and metrics are harder to calculate. Think of new and creative ways to measure the success of your campaigns on Snapchat such as running a special monthly coupon code.

6. Your call to actions (CTA’s) only have 10 seconds to be received and responded to. Because of this, it is very important to make your CTA’s easy and fun for your audience. The best strategies to use include asking fans to take selfies or pictures of your product in action.

7. Manipulate who sees your content by adjusting whether your snaps are sent to select followers or to everyone. This can help you to target specific audiences and fans.

There are many social platforms out there but Snapchat is one of the only few that has such a specific demographic.

Even though there are not many features available on the platform for marketers just yet, it seems that it is only a matter of time before the platform follows in the footsteps of apps like Instagram and offers paid advertising options that are more user friendly. As a marketer, getting in early is definitely an advantage and can help your brand to stand out from the crowd.

More and more brands are becoming savvy to the marketing power of Snapchat, so why not give it a shot and see if you can boost sales for your brand.

Will you run a Snapchat campaign?