Snapchat and the rise of ‘fast and furious’ marketing

MTV Geordie ShoreAt a discussion about the future of social at the IAB’s annual Social Media Conference last month, one of the panellists was asked about the rise of Snapchat and responded with “what is the point?”

Admittedly Snapchat still continues to have negative connotations for many people thanks to reports of inappropriate images being sent (54% of users asked in Britain said they have received an ‘inappropriate image’), and this has somewhat tarnished the app  and left several marketers echoing the earlier sentiment of “what is the point”.

On a personal level I’m certainly not using it as much as some others in my social circle. However, I believe that Snapchat, along with the rise of Vine and Instagram, reflects how people, particularly younger audiences, are now choosing to connect with one another.

A number of advertisers have already adopted these social apps as part of their marketing arsenal, sometimes referred to as ‘fast and furious marketing’, and this is an area that needs to be explored as it isn’t going away. Mobile devices have triggered the need for entertainment, information and visual stimulation on a constant basis, not necessarily for minutes at a time but just for a few seconds.

By no means are websites for advertisers obsolete, as they do continue to serve a function on many levels, but creating short, snappy and shareable content needs to exist alongside them. We’re moving away from simply measuring the success of a campaign by visits and dwell time on an advertiser’s website.

There are already a number of great examples of brands using these newer social media platforms to reach their audience, but MTV was the first I heard of a brand using Snapchat – in this case to promote Geordie Shore (pictured) – and that’s pretty much a match made in heaven: combining relevant content, reflecting the brand perfectly and reaching the target audience in their favoured environment.

There are still questions about reach and scale from these new platforms, but with it being such early days advertisers should be testing now to see if they are relevant and fit in with the brand. It is relatively low cost in comparison to other channels and the main investment is time.

We need to be moving away from online KPIs, such as clicks and CTR, go back to basics and start to measure performance on potential views. The challenge will be measuring ROI, which as always will require a leap of faith from advertisers as they shift budget from traditional advertising channels with years of proven ROI to these new platforms.

Even if platforms like Snapchat and Vine fade away, it’s evident that this instant, snapshot method is the way millions of people are choosing to interact with one another and is continuing to grow. Advertisers need to respect these personal environments but also understand how marketing messages can be delivered via these quick communication methods.

Sharan Cheema is account director at media agency Navigate Digital.