Who knew that the what the world really needed was disappearing photos? Snapchat did, and no matter how unlikely their premise was to begin with, it’s certainly proved a success: 1 in 6 Australians use the app daily. And it’s no longer just for sending *those* sorts of photos – we snapchat everything, from dinner to our faces superimposed over someone else’s face.

Naturally when a social media platform has taken off, brands wonder how they can get a piece of the action. We’ve broken down the different options for brands, and which we think offer the best returns.

What can brands do on Snapchat?

1. Create their own account – This is the most straight-forward option, but you have to be offering something your users will really want to engage with on a daily base. You can also use campaigns to boost attention and engagement: H&M, Adidas and Delta Airlines are among a host of brands who have run Snapchat scavenger hunts, sharing short snap clues for users to follow.

2. Influencer marketing – This is a great way to get more followers, or just engage a wider audience. If you’d usually ask influencers to blog, ‘gram or Facebook about you on your accounts or theirs, this is the same – just on a new platform. Here’s a snippet of how we helped helped Vinnies Victoria use influencer marketing on Snapchat to spread the word about their Winter campaign.

3. Snap ads – These are pushed to the user’s app, and are much like your usual digital ad. You can add an attachment: an article (a bit like Facebook Canvas), app install, long form video, or website.

You can target age, gender, geographical location, mobile device, operating system (Android or iOS), mobile carrier, interests, Snapchat’s first-party audiences, lookalikes, and purchase intent with Datalogix segments. Currently Snapchat doesn’t publicise pricing, but we assume these are 💰💰💰💰💰.

4. Sponsored on-demand geofilters – Users choose filters by scrolling right and left once they’ve taken a photo or video. You can create your own custom filter that only shows when someone is in a particular location. These ads seem to be the most cost-effective and affordable option of all ads – you only pay $5 per 20,000 square feet (approximately 1.9 square km).

5. Sponsored lenses – With these ads you can create a custom lens. For example Taco Bell’s Cinqo de Mayo campaign got 224 million views in one day! These are reportedly very expensive.

Our recommendations

Beyond content, Snapchat’s advertising options are limited to brands with exhaustive budgets. However, on-demand geo-filters are are really affordable option and and can be great for companies wanting to test the waters.

They can work especially well for companies that organise events, have bricks-and-mortar storefronts or often do outdoor advertising. Each of these is a great opportunity for offline and online cross-promotion: create a snapchat especially for attendees at your events, for people to use in-store or that are connected to locations of outdoor ads. This means your offline message is translated online, where it can spread further.

It’s important to consider how this integrates with your other channels: one campaign on one platform in isolation is far less likely to perform well than sustained activity across multiple channels. If you do decide a Snapchat campaign is the way to go, ensure your messaging and call-to-actions are consistent, use influencers if you can to spread the word, and cross-promote across all your channels – online and offline.

What does the future hold?

Snapchat have been extremely closed about how companies can jump on the bandwagon and advertise through their platform. They lack a self-serve advertising option outside of on-demand geofilters, instead forcing brands to go through third parties who charge more fees and are quite restrictive. They also lack deep metrics, making it nigh impossible to see whether your ads are achieving cut through.

But that be soon to change with rumours that Snapchat is about to come out with a self-service tool – giving brands better control and greater awareness over advertisements. They’ve also acknowledged that they’re aware their metrics are not up to scratch.

Above all: do your research

As with any social channel, it’s important to consider whether Snapchat fits into your digital strategy: how will it help you drive your business objectives? Is your audience using it? Can you invest enough time in producing content? Don’t just jump on the next big thing in social media without knowing the pros and cons of the platform.

So what’s your verdict? Will your brand be testing Snapchat sometime soon?

If you’d like to know more about how to make Snapchat work for your company, we’d love to chat. Get in touch here.