How Small Businesses Can Use Snapchat For Their Marketing
Britton Lorentzen
Designer, marketer, and owner.

Published: April 25th, 2017

Snapchat is an interesting platform to tackle. Small businesses may feel intimidated trying to include Snapchat in their marketing mix. With the platform bringing in 100 million active users a day, it would be naive to dismiss Snapchat as a viable marketing platform. It’s definitely possible to include Snapchat in your marketing mix and build brand recognition with a younger audience. All it takes is a little bit of creativity and a new approach to how you develop your content strategy.

Creating and Submitting Geofilters

Fortunately, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to get your brand on Snapchat. You can create something called a geofilter that’ll allow your audience to engage with your brand. To get a good understanding of what it looks like to create a geofilter, I decided to go through the creation process so you didn’t need to.

Step 1: Design

Snapchat Geofilter Step 1

First, you have to design your geofilter. There are a couple ways you can do this. You can either design the filter in Snapchat’s builder or upload a png image of your logo or design. Ideally, you should upload a design that’ll work with Snapchat’s dimensions. Once the design has been created, you can test it out with some images to make sure the filter looks perfect.

Step 2: Choose Dates

Snapchat Geofilter Step 2

The second step in the process is to choose how long you want the geofilter to last. This is great for businesses that are opening up a new location, having a lightning sale, or throwing a huge event. You can choose when you want your geofilter to appear depending on the strategy for your Snapchat content.

Step 3: Choose Your Location

Snapchat Geofilter Step 3

The last step before submission is to choose the location your geofilter will appear. Ideally, this should be the area surrounding your event or place of business. A business could give incentives to customers that use the geofilter and send their snap to their friends. This is a great way to spread the word to potential customers that are not able to make it to your event.

More Information About Geofilters

Based on the test I ran with geofilters, it looks like the cost varied anywhere from $5.00 to $30.00 per hour depending on how long you run the filter and how large of a surface area you try to cover. For example, when I created my geofilter and selected my surface area, the cost came out to $5.74 an hour in a coverage area of 1.8 million square feet. This comes out to about $0.30 per 100,000 square feet. This is a pretty large surface area at quite an affordable cost. It can get expensive if you expand your coverage area and increase the amount of time you run the geofilter. However, it’s reported that about 40% to 60% of daily snapchatters will see the geofilter. Given that there are about 100 million people using Snapchat on a daily basis, you get a good return on your Snapchat investment.

There’s More to Snapchat

There are a couple more advertising options to choose from. These options require a significant investment and may not be the best option for small businesses. However, it’s interesting to see what’s out there once your business grows large enough to yield the investment. Back in January, Adweek followed a couple publications to see how Snapchat video ads worked for larger businesses. Adweek found that 68% of businesses that used Snapchat video ads prompted the user to take further action by swiping up on the advertisement while it was playing. Taking these actions either led the user to the company’s website or to a longer video. These advertisements typically played throughout the different publications associated with the “Featured” section. This includes entertainment companies such as Comedy Central and IGN and news websites such as the Washington Post and CNN. There are also featured sections for companies such as Cosmopolitan, People, and Esquire which are typically companies associated with magazines and a specific demographic. This means that companies can put together a video advertisement that specifically targets users that typically follow these brands and stories. There’s also the occasional advertisement that gets thrown into a Snapchat story that is tailored towards the individual user. Having your advertisement shown to an individual user will depend on the content they typically watch when they are using Snapchat.

The main problem with Snapchat is the length of videos a brand can show in a user’s feed. The longest video you can show is ten seconds long. However, Snapchat has been selling the idea of buying 3 ten second spots at the same time. The concept behind this idea is to use the spots to tell a story over a series of snaps. For example, if a user is looking through the featured section, the feed may have a spot from a company that begins a story that will only continue if the user continues clicking through the feed. This concept relies on the user being interested in the feed’s content to eventually make it through and see how the company’s story ends. This is a great idea for marketing through story-telling. However, this can be very expensive and quite risky given that the user has to stay interested in the featured feed’s content for an extended period of time. Pulling off a tactic like this will require that the brand has a unique story and a user that is interested in both the advertisement and the content they go through.

These are a couple ways that businesses can use Snapchat as one of many vehicles in their marketing mix. I would love to know if you and your company has experimented with Snapchat advertisements. What are your thoughts about Snapchat and it's ability to market your customers? Let me know what you think on Twitter or leave a comment below. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed this post and I look forward to talking with all of you again soon.

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