It wasn’t that long ago that Snapchat looked like the biggest up and coming social media platform for users and marketers. Users loved the picture-and-video-sharing-platform that would automatically delete your content after 24 hours, and it seemed to be rising in popularity quickly.
And then, almost as quickly, that growth stopped. Snapchat’s popularity paled further when Instagram added their own Story feature, and then Facebook followed.
So what exactly does this mean for Snapchat marketing? Should your business still be investing in it? In this post, we’re going to answer that question, helping you evaluate whether or not it’s the right choice for you.
Why Are More Businesses Pulling Back?
There are several reasons that a lot of businesses are pulling back and opting not to use Snapchat as a key component of their social media marketing. This is particularly true for small and medium businesses who don’t have thousands of dollars to spend every week on social marketing. Ultimately, Snapchat often doesn’t yield the same sort of results in terms of engagement and reach as other platforms, so brands shift towards those instead.
Instagram Stories in particular was a bit hit to Snapchat, taking the idea of the disappearing-after-24-hours-content and actually improving it. It wasn’t long after Stories was created that this feature alone exceeded Snapchat usage, making it more valuable for brands.
Then, Snapchat made it a little worse. They recently released a big redesign that ended up driving away users who disliked the interface.
It’s also worth noting that Snapchat Ad costs are so high that most ad types (excluding a few select options) aren’t even close to being accessible for small businesses. Some of the Discover Ads actually cost upwards of several hundred thousand dollars to run a campaign for several days. While they have lowered the costs, Instagram’s Stories Ads, by comparison, can yield results with just fifty dollars a week.
And then there’s the last practical side of it: it’s a pain for marketers to use. There’s no scheduling software like there is for other platforms, so Snapchat marketing is all digital. Snapchat’s own native analytics are also pitiful, and the API is difficult to crack so there’s only one good option for thorough analytics in the third-party Snaplytics.
What Are The Benefits to Using Snapchat?
Ok, that’s a lot of negatives. I get that. But, there are some big positives.
Snapchat isn’t used as frequently as other platforms, and the user base has declined somewhat. That’s absolutely true. The audience that remains, however, is loyal to it. They still have 173 million daily users worldwide, which is why you’re still seeing screenshots of people with doe eyes and ears and flower crows popping up on Facebook.
Those audiences are younger, and they’re highly responsive to the video content on Snapchat. According to BusinessofApps, these audiences include:
- 83% of 12-17 year olds
- 77% of college students
- 70% of Snapchat users are female
- 53% of Snapchat users are under the age of 34
According to this same data, there is plenty of data that these audiences are using the platform frequently. One statistic revealed the following:
- Snapchat users over 25 years of age open the app 12 times a day for 20 mins in total
- Snapchat users under 25 years of age open the app 25 times a day for 30 mins in total
- Snapchat has more than 10 million unique video views daily
That’s a lot of social time spent on Snapchat, so if your audience is using it regularly– even if they’re also using other platforms– you shouldn’t count Snapchat out.
What New Developments Could Turn the Tide?
I’ll be honest. I have no idea where Snapchat is headed, and I’ve long predicted that the platform would die off (and have a much swifter death than other sometimes-swindlingly platforms like Twitter). They’ve implemented some cool features, like updates to the Snap Map which allow people to share Stories that will appear on maps to engage local users, and they did modify their interface somewhat after the initial backlash.
All that being said, I think Snapchat knows that it needs to do something big in order to stay relevant. Now we just have to wait and see what that is.
Should My Business Utilize Snapchat Marketing?
Overall, the answer for most businesses to this question is no. Facebook and Instagram both have larger, more diverse, and more engaged audiences. Instagram’s Story feature also runs circles around Snapchat in terms of performance, and they have more capabilities (like Story Highlights). I also think that Snapchat’s usage overtime will continue to decrease unless they do some major work to set themselves apart.
That being said, some businesses should consider adding Snapchat to their social repertoire. If your audience is active on Snapchat (AKA, if your audience is Millennial-or-younger heavy), then it can absolutely be a good platform to add in. Don’t choose it over Instagram or Facebook; this would be a mistake, but incorporating it with great content and building a following there can benefit you.
If you do decide to invest in Snapchat marketing for your business, I highly recommend using Snaplytics in order to evaluate your effectiveness on the platform and decide how to improve your campaigns moving forward.
Whether or not your business should use Snapchat marketing depends heavily on your individual business. Even if you do decide to invest in Snapchat marketing, however, note that Instagram has many of the same features and has much higher ROI in general. Snapchat can still be a good addition if your audience is there, because being able to reach them on every platform they’re using regularly can always be a plus.
Interested in Snapchat marketing and want to create some great content ahead of time? Our free StoriesAds tool can be used to create Snaps and Stories ahead of time, too.