When Snapchat emerged in 2012, it excited users by letting them tell stories, use fun filters and create off-the-cuff content. Since then, other apps like Instagram, Facebook, and now TikTok, have made their own versions of this style of storytelling. Even though Snapchat pioneered this style of content, it seems like fewer people are talking about the platform these days.

So, where does Snapchat stand as a social media platform and marketing tool in 2020?

By the end of Q1 2020, Snapchat still has 229 million daily active users around the world. Although it may seem like fewer people use Snapchat for business, it has seen a 20.5% increase in usage since 2019. And its numbers have since been increasing.

Compared to Twitter and Facebook, Snapchat is the most highly trafficked social platform among teenagers and young adults. And Snapchat users post over 210 million snaps on the platform every single day.

Who can still benefit from Snapchat marketing?

If your brand caters to Gen Z or younger millennials, then Snapchat can have a considerable impact on your business. These generations have billions of dollars of direct spending power as well as influence over household spending.

Snapchat also tends to work best with direct to consumer brands who can use the app to drive traffic to an ecommerce website or app. Since Snapchat lets businesses create short, highly engaging content, it makes users heavily invested in those stories. Because of their high engagement rates, Snapchatters are 60% more likely to make impulse purchases based on products they see on the app.

Ways to use Snapchat for business in 2020

So as a digital marketer, how can you use Snapchat in ways that make sense and cater to the demographics that are active on the platform? Here are a few ways brands can continue to incorporate Snapchat into their marketing strategies.

Cross-promote content from other platforms

To use Snapchat successfully, then you need to have followers on the platform.

If you have a large following on another platform, let those followers know about your Snapchat to encourage them to check out your content there. It helps to have a specific angle or focus on your Snapchat content or share things you don’t share on other platforms.

You can give your followers on other platforms a sneak peek of original content you’re posting on Snapchat. This will create excitement and encourage people to follow you on that platform as well.

Keep up with the latest social media trends to make sure that you’re always creating content that is fresh and engaging. This is especially important when targeting generations known for being in tune with what’s trending.

Create interactive filters for your brand

One of the things that makes Snapchat so popular are the filters—or Lenses, as they’re referred to—and geotags on the app. Businesses have an opportunity to get their message in front of Snapchat users by creating interactive filters that Snapchatters want to use.

The average Snapchat user interacts with a Snapchat Lens for at least 20 seconds and is likely to share images or videos of themselves using the filter. This essentially creates user-generated content that is promoting your brand to their audience.

With geofilters, you can create location-specific filters for when users are bear your business or location. This works exceptionally well for stores, restaurants or any business that has a brick and mortar storefront. When someone uses a geofilter or Lens on Snapchat, you’re getting instant exposure, free advertising and social proof to their followers.

Creating a branded geofilter can cost between $5 and $5,000 depending on how widely you want to promote the filter. A national campaign, with a high budget, can reach up to 60% of Snapchat users in one day.

Dunkin Donuts took advantage of National Donut Day by creating a goofy and fun Snapchat Filter that turns your head into a giant pink, glazed donut. In addition to the lens, they made custom geo-filters that were unlocked when someone visited their store.

This campaign single-handedly gained them 10x more followers on their Snapchat.

Coordinate brand takeovers on your account

If you’re working with influencers, you can incorporate a Snapchat takeover into your content agreement. Letting influencers take over your Snapchat account for a day will encourage their audience to follow along on your account. The influencer will also likely promote that takeover on their account, helping drive traffic to your page.

When doing a Snapchat takeover, try to make it exclusive to the platform. It might seem like a good idea to repost stories from an Instagram takeover to Snapchat, but you want to encourage people to follow you on Snapchat as well as Instagram to get the full impact of the platform. Create takeovers that are specific to Snapchat and work with influencers who are already active on the app.

Set specific goals for the platform that contribute to your overall marketing goals

Setting specific social media marketing goals can help you understand how Snapchat can help you meet those goals.

If your goal is to increase traffic, then Snapchat can help drive users to your website. The platform recently added the ability to add links to your Snaps, which works very well when promoting products or offers on your website.

Every Snapchat business account has access to their account analytics through the platform’s native analytics tool, Snapchat Insights.

Screenshot of Snapchat Analytics Insights
Image via Snapchat

These metrics include the demographics of your stories’ views, including their age, gender, location and general interests. You’ll also see who watched your Snapchat story until the end and the number of people who saw your story.

Invest in paid advertising

If you have an advertising budget and a large audience on Snapchat, then Snapchat ads can be a lucrative part of your social media marketing strategy.

Here are the main types of ads you can use in Snapchat.

Collection ads

Collection ads use tappable tiles to link to products that users can shop directly from the app. These shoppable ads are ideal for ecommerce businesses. When testing this type of ad against standard Snap ads, eBay saw five times more engagement when using Collection ads on the same products.

Three examples of Snapchat Carousel Ads
Image via Snapchat

Filters and Lenses

We already mentioned how filters and lenses could increase engagement and brand awareness on the app. These Snapchat features also fall within its advertising platform. In addition to the fee for creating a filter or lens, you can also pay for sponsored filters or lenses that Snapchat will distribute to your target audience. The higher your distribution budget, the more people you’ll reach with your filters or lenses.

Story ads

Story ads appear in Snapchat’s Discover section and as branded advertisements. With story ads, you can create 3 to 20 images or video ads. These are usually straightforward, full-screen ads that contain a call to action. Most of these ads contain an attachment allowing users to swipe up and go to another website.

Hopper worked with Snapchat to create static story ads that targeted geographically specific users with flight deals in their area. The ads were straightforward and had a clear call to action, which was to install the app.

Screenshot of a Hopper Snapchat Story ad

With these ads, Hopper found that Snapchat users were 37% more likely to download the app and watch a specific flight than their other acquisition channels. Using Snapchat ads, they were also able to reduce their cost per install by 50%.

Commercials

These ads are non-skippable for at least 6 seconds and appear within Snapchat’s curated content. Commercial ads are great for building brand awareness on the app and reaching new audiences.

If you have a large enough budget, and your target audience fits into Snapchat’s target demographic, it’s worth experimenting with running commercial ads on the platform.

Final Thoughts

Even though it attracts a particular audience, there are still ways that using Snapchat for business can help grow your brand. When you use Snapchat as an intentional and strategic marketing channel, it can help you drive traffic and increase sales among millennials and Gen Z more effectively than other platforms.

To learn more about prioritizing the right social media platforms, check out our article on how to choose which social media channels are right for your brand.