Snapchat: A New Social Trend For Brands?

Today, brands dominate social media. It is almost impossible to find a company without a Facebook or Twitter account. Even newer platforms like Instagram and Vine are being taken over, but there is one social network that has yet to be fully explored—Snapchat.


Snapchat is a mobile app that allows one to share pictures and videos. The special component of this network is that the captioned picture is deleted after 10 seconds; this is much different from the “out for the world to see” social media we are used to.

The majority of Snapchat users are between the ages of 13-25. This age, as James Twitchell reminds us in his book Lead Us Into Temptation, is the “number one focus of almost every marketer”. Why? Younger demographics are still choosing what brands to align themselves with. A survey sent out by Sumpto, a marketing group that works to gather information about the “most difficult to reach demographic”, found that 77% of college students use Snapchat once per day. Their findings also concluded that 70% of respondents wouldn’t mind adding a brand as a friend on Snapchat if they already followed them on another social network.

So, why haven’t brands jumped onto this platform? Unlike other social media Snapchat is more intimate and personal— like a text message instead of a public wall. This very direct connection leaves brands with a problem. What type of content could they send via snap? Would people be interested in interacting with them this way?, HBO’s TV show Girls and the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) have all been using Snapchat in a variety of ways. described in an interview with Mashable that their strategy is to make interactive Snapchat stories that are ridiculous and fun. They see Snapchat as a tool for “opening up more options for brands”. The Girls Snapchat account has been used to remind fans of the upcoming season premiere date and give exclusive insider looks.  ASP says Snapchat is a way to “bring fans closer to the athletes and events”. They also point out there is “lots of room for experimentation and innovation”. Click on the image below to learn more about how Snapchat is being used by companies.


Patrick deHahn from CNN Money stated that Snapchat “has more funding and a higher valuation than Instagram and YouTube when they were at Snapchat’s stage in their startup lifespan”. So it seems Snapchat itself is a viable platform and with a growing 350 million snaps per day, brands should consider its possible benefits.

Would you follow brands on Snapchat? Do you think Snapchat is a worthy social media investment? How do you think brands will begin to use Snapchat?

Caroline Robinson

14 thoughts on “Snapchat: A New Social Trend For Brands?

  1. I think Snapchat is a very worthy social media investment that is often underrated. I strictly use Snapchat with my friends just to goof off, but I think it has the potential to work in marketing and advertising. I believe that if brands begin using Snapchat, they will have to find a unique way to make it work for their company. With the recent creation of Snapchat story, I feel that there is even more potential for brands to use this as a social media tool. Snapchat could become the new, hip way for brands to market to a younger generation.

  2. I think Snapchat could be used in a really creative and innovative way for brands. One big idea I was thinking of was a way to encourage fans to interact with or buy from brands. You could send out a funny or absurd snapchat and then have people mention that snapchat to get 10 % off your stuff for that day. It might also be helpful to use in conjunction with other social media sources. I am interested to see how this takes off, it is only a matter of time before everyone will catch on!


  3. Snapchat is definitely an important media for brands to promote through, especially because of its unique interface. While new social media outlets pop up seemingly overnight, and while brands have already recognized the advantages of mastering new and popular platforms, brands must also discern which social media platforms are trends and which have the potential to become a social media staple (Facebook, Twitter etc.) I think that both types of social media, whether a trendy new app or Facebook page, are valuable in different ways.

    It’s still too early to see if Snapchat will remain for the long run, but it certainly uses a more personal approach to communicating–one that is valuable for brands. For example, Wet Seal turned over its account to a 16-year-old girl. This is a risky move, but an effective campaign strategy if you consider the personal connection that the brand is able to make with followers via this girl. As we saw in “Generation Like,” corporations are turning more to real, average people to act as brand liaisons between the company and their audience.

  4. I think that companies targeting snapchat as a new venue to reach consumers is a very intelligent more on their part. I agree with the previous comments on here. Though I typically only use snapchat to be silly with friends if it was only a 10 second or less picture sent to my phone advertising a product that I like I would have no issue giving up those few seconds to see what the brand had to say. I think that this is truly an ingenious way to reach a new demographic and more successfully get a product out there as opposed to an ad on youtube that you can opt out and skip, or a tv ad that I will DVR through.

  5. I do think that snap chat is a worthy social media network. I use snap chat everyday to directly connect with certain friends that I choose to. Unlike the other social networks, it is somewhat like a text message where you can choose who you want to see what you send out. I think that is why many users enjoyed snap chat. While I do think it would be beneficial for brands to start using snap chat especially considering the ages of the users of snap chat, are the people the brands are most likely trying to connect with. Like the show Girls is using it to show sneak peaks and reminders about the show I think that is a great way to use it, to make the people that choose to be friends with that brand feel more personally connected and updated with a brand they like. Personally, I probably would not add brands to my snap chat because I like that it is one of the social networks that really has no ads or brands connected with it.

    • Avery,

      Interesting point of view. Do you feel it would somewhat invade your private life to have a brand as a friend? I wondered how people would feel about this when I was writing this blog. I recently added Mashable and McDonalds to my Snapchat friends to see the type of content they would post. So far McDonalds hasn’t posted anything, but Mashable can draw some really creative things with the paint feature. Thanks for the comment!

      -Caroline R.

  6. I think that Snapchat is a potentially worthy social media investment for brands to start advertising. Millions of people are using this social media. Brands and companies have already used Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites to advertise. If Snapchat was added in on this list of social media sites, they would only be able to show at max, 10 seconds of something that wanted to advertise. However, that 10 seconds could catch a customers eye and encourage him or her to look further into that brand. I saw above in one of the responses that if a customer mentions a snapchat that a company “snapped”, they could get a certain discount on a product. This is a great way to advertise. If a customer were to tweet about the snapchat, that is not only benefiting that customer when they receive a discount, but it is also getting that brand or company out.

    • Carson,

      Thanks for the comment. From my research I was able to find that brands are using social media, such as Twitter, to promote and encourage fans/customers to add them. The LA Galaxy tweeted that they would be giving tickets away on Snapchat and posted their Snapchat name so people could add them. It would be interesting to see how local brands and stores could use Snapchat to their benefit.

      -Caroline R.

  7. I believe that Snapchat is a great way to reach out to their consumers. Like you mentioned, I think that it would be much easier to get consumers to add the brand if they were already friends on Instagram, Facebook, or some other social media site. It wouldn’t be that difficult to post something on the social media site urging people to add them on Snapchat. With all of the different social media outlets, this would be an excellent one to employ. Even though the “snap” only lasts for 10 seconds max, if the brand constantly sent “snaps” to their consumers, over time this would become embedded in their minds. This, in turn, would help the brand grow tremendously. Great post Caroline!

  8. I use Snapchat with my friends to communicate throughout the day by sending funny pictures or videos. I don’t check Snapchat like I check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites. I do think that Snapchat could work for advertising and marketing. I have noticed that many artists that have become Vine famous are now posting their Snapchat name when they post videos on Vine. They are now using Snapchat “My Story” to share pictures or videos of them preforming along with their new music. It would be a great way for advertisers and marketers to show their new products. I am not sure how well it would work out since many brands already advertise their products on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Marketing and Advertising with Snapchat would be a great way for them to reach out to their younger audience.

  9. Advertising on Snapchat is definitely different than any social media. I think this would give the sense that brands are in our reach. It would seem like they are just another friend. I would follow my favorite brands on snapchat if they posted neat stories. It would definitely be a new way to get the word out.

  10. This idea is ingenious. Snapchat gives companies a free way to hit their customers with a quick little 10 second ad or even just a picture. It can be short, sweet and to the point but also be a big tease to customers because they want to see something longer than 10 seconds. I would definitely follow my favorite brands or companies just to see the new things that they would offer.

    This is actually such an interesting idea that I am starting to research how to do this for my organization at school. Just being able to show the world what all it is we do and what “a day in the life of an ambassador” looks like. I love this idea because it definitely is one of the top social media mediums for the younger age group which is a hard to reach market.

    –Lucas Nelson

  11. I think it is a very interesting idea for some brands to use Snapchat as a form of advertising. The point that was made for the show Girls using it was the most effective I thought. When they said it is a more intimate form of communicating I agreed. Photos on Snapchat are more personal and intimate than those on Facebook because they are sent to specific people and can only be viewed for a specific amount of time. However, all brands definitely are not cut out to use Snapchat as advertisement and so it can only work in certain cases.

  12. Pingback: Snap To It | Communication Minded

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