written by: Lau Kit Hung, Krista

The delivery channels of marketing campaigns play a crucial role to the success of campaign ideas and execution. In the era of digital technology and social media, the online social networks are usually the major channels for companies to display their brands and products. Apart from the undisputed Facebook dominance, Snapchat, as a new and booming social media platform, is full of marketing potential and waiting to take the lead.

Snapchat is a photo-and video-messaging mobile app launched in September 2011. To distinguish itself from other similar platforms, Snapchat try to shape a young and light-hearted image. A lot of people may perceive Snapchat as a one-to-one or one-to-group communication tool only. In fact, Snapchat has been a well-established marketing channel for quite some time for many well-known brands. McDonald, NBA, or even luxurious brands like Tiffany & Co. have all established their brand account on Snapchat to interact with their customers.

Source: http://www.adweek.com/digital/taco-bells-cinco-de-mayo-snapchat-lens-was-viewed-224-million-times-171390/

With the booming popularity of Snapchat, there are numerous impressive/successful promotion campaigns that attracted a lot of mass interest. The Taco Bell’s Cinco de Mayo Snapchat Lens [1] is certainly one of the remarkable ones that worth mentioning. It is a sponsored lens campaign that turned consumers’ heads into a giant taco shell with “bong” sound. This campaign gathered close to 224 million views in just one day. It is a phenomenal success. The campaign helps Taco Bell’s brand exposure as well as customer engagement. An average user plays with the sponsored filter for around 20 seconds before sending it out. The taco-shaped head and “bong” sound are imprinting the brand image in young people’s mind. In the process, strangers are converted to visitors, and more people are acquainted with the brand.

The success of Snapchat and its campaigns can be attributed to three major reasons.

Connection to Market Trend
Nowadays, mobile device communications are mostly spontaneous for leisure and sometimes for work. Photos and videos shared via Snapchat only last for seconds, which works well with people who want to have short but real time interaction with their friends. Instagram is mimicking similar function by launching Instagram Stories. Yet its positioning is still focusing on more long term memory while Snapchat put more emphasis on ad hoc fun.

Exponential Customer Growth
In February 2017, there are 158 million daily active users, which is a 48% [2] growth from 2015. There are 8 billion photos and videos uploaded on the app and 7 billion video views per day. The numbers has surpassed that of Twitter and LinkedIn.

A Dialogue with Young People
Last but not least, the interactive advertisement, such as Sponsored Geofilters and Sponsored lens is good at arousing interest of its target group – the young people. The app is turning the users into promoters of the Snapchat brand. The functions of funny filters are not easy to be replaced by other platforms in the near future.

However, Snapchat’s success in establishing its unique image still echoes the concern on effectiveness of social media platforms at large. There is doubts on how to turn visitors’ traffic to sales leads and users to customers. With the case of Snapchat, how the short-lived messages of only seconds would be able to help brands to monetize is yet to conclude.

[1] http://www.adweek.com/digital/taco-bells-cinco-de-mayo-snapchat-lens-was-viewed-224-million-times-171390/
[2] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/feb/25/snapchat-ipo-evan-spiegel-investors