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The Challenges Facing Brands on Snapchat

Carson Reider
Carson Reider / April 28, 2014

Snapchat MoonIn an age where the attention span of a goldfish outlasts that of a human, marketers are tasked with creating concise captivating content.

These pieces of content are then distributed through a vast network of channels, most prominently through social media.

One of the avenues in which this can be done is Snapchat.

Let's take a look at the challenges facing brands in utilizing Snapchat as well as some current practices.

How Brands Are Using Snapchat

Nate mentioned Taco Bell's use of Snapchat in a recent podcast, so it is evident that marketers are starting to pay close attention to the photo messaging app. You can view Taco Bell's social media leader explain a recent project in the video below.

McDonald's is doing some crazy things, too, by utilizing Snapchat to give multiple behind-the-scenes looks at the making of their commercials.

There are many additional examples of how brands are using the photo-sharing app, and that list keeps growing and growing. Agencies and brands are craving for more ideas, and recently 583 social creatives submitted ideas on how to use Snapchat.

It's great to see that brands on Snapchat want to use the service, but there are some concerning challenges that are making it difficult to analyze ROI or ROO. Are there even any metrics to look at?

The Challenges for Brands on Snapchat


Snapchat Infographic by Marketo

Is it the timing element that poses a challenge?

Nope. Snaps can last anywhere from 1 to 10 seconds, which is perfect for the 8-second attention span of the average consumer.

Then it must certainly be the inability to view a snap multiple times!

Nope. Not that either.

The significant challenges facing brand on Snapchat stem from one of the app's strengths: Snapchat is almost absolutely visual.

Besides its simple doodle function, Snapchat offers hardly any space for marketers to add text to their messages. This hurts their ability to issue calls to actions for their consumers.

Unlike big brothers Facebook and Twitter, Snapchat doesn't yet have firm in-app metrics attached to it, so it's difficult to track the success of any campaign. One source does present of few steps describing how to establish some metrics (beware, it includes spreadsheet-making! *GASP*).

A challenge that is not brought upon by the app's visual foundation is the extreme limited ability for a brand's audience to discover them on the app. Your audience may not find a brand on Snapchat unless they proactively seek a brand and add them; however, brands should utilize a simple cross-promotional strategy on other networks to add followers.

What Can Be Done?

There are a wide range of strategies brands on Snapchat are employing to reach their audience, including providing sneak peeks, exclusive content, and coupons or discounts, but how can brands encourage fans to engage with them other than simply viewing a snap or snapping back?

With these massive obstacles standing in the way of brands on Snapchat, what makes it really worth it?

Would sending one-on-one snaps to provide individualized engagement with consumers be too much of a burden on a marketer?

Let us know in the comments below!

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Tagged With: Social Media