When I was a kid, the parent-child relationship had very specific roles.  Although my dad was an adventure seeker and included us in the fun, the distinction between what parents did and what kids did was clear.  That line isn’t as defined between my boys and me, and maybe that’s a modern parenting thing?  Sometimes they have to listen to my music and sometimes I tolerate theirs (some of it’s okay though).  They go grocery shopping with me and I watch the Super Bowl with them.  Essentially, there are few aspects of our family dynamic that are separate.

Social media is another area in which we interact, and we follow each other on all major social platforms.  I had Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts before they did, and I actually created their Facebook accounts.  But this Snapchat thing… vomiting rainbows – what?  It didn’t make any sense to me and seemed pointless.  That’s how kids primarily communicate now, so I didn’t bother getting on Snapchat… until now.

There are twenty-somethings in the office who are into the Snapchat scene.  They incorporated Snapchat into some of our festival social strategies, so I tried to understand its function.  The only thing that seemed to have an effective purpose was an event story.  Snapchat stories let users show pictures and videos to all their followers for a 24 hour period at which point they disappear.  So, festival goers would be able to submit snaps to a community story through a geofilter.  Now, that’s pretty cool.  Anyone wanting to see what’s happening at a specific event or in a particular location are able to view images and videos from multiple contributors.  What a great way to market your business, brand or special event!

I am practicing my Snapchat skills with my teen sons and a few friends.  At this point, I am sending goofy pictures of my face with filters like a honeybee, zombie, and strawberry.  Okay, so it’s kind of fun.  I mean, you get to laugh at random points throughout the day when a snap comes through.  Once it’s been viewed it disappears, and although we’re capturing a moment within our experience, it’s gone – fleeting, just like real-time but delayed.  That perhaps adds a sense of novelty to it that has made Snapchat so popular within youth culture and now into the realm of “the olds.”

According to FORTUNE, Snapchat is quickly becoming a mobile media sensation that has caught the attention of marketers who are trying to stay ahead of the curve by engaging with consumers where they spend their digital hours.  If your demographic is Millennials, Snapchat gives you access to potentially 50% of them in a single day.

Snapchat’s first ad featured a 20-second video trailer of Ouija from Universal Pictures in late 2014.  The ad appeared in the “Recent Updates” section and allowed users to choose whether or not they wanted to view it.  Snapchat has recently introduced an advertising API that marks their biggest step towards a full advertising platform. API videos and Snap Ads from their Ad Partners will be featured between stories.  Snapchat is working closely with its ad and creative partners to ensure the integrity of the user experience by prioritizing ad quality and limiting their frequency.

Adweek has a well-outlined breakdown of the new advertising features on Snapchat that is definitely worth reading.  Although one-third of brands with Snapchat accounts don’t bother posting even once a month, this pattern is expected to change over the next year as advertising through the platform increases in popularity.

Snapchat’s sponsored lense is an ad unit that is accessible alongside the whacky graphics that overlay selfies. And, what a genius way to leave marketing impressions!  Columbia Pictures promoted the new Ghostbusters film through a filter with gooey green ghosts and the proton-pack weapon.  Taking silly snaps of myself with the ghost reminded me of how AWESOME Ghostbusters was back in the 80’s and really prompted me to catch it in the theater instead of waiting for it to come out on Netflix.  That’s pretty effective advertising if you ask me!

Co.Create has an insightful article about 12 brands that have successfully used Snap Ads.  Sneak peeks into the company office, behind the scenes on projects, and unique looks at a brand through exclusive content are ways that they can create a connection through simple and instant impressions with snaps.  And, since the content disappears after a few seconds it keeps users guessing while capturing their attention.  Sometimes “a simple approach makes perfect sense for the brand.  Sometimes things don’t have to be more complicated than funny pics and discount pizza.”

For many brands, it’s taken years to learn how to effectively create and organize content for Facebook and Twitter, and now Snapchat comes along and confronts marketers with the challenge of engaging with their audience through an app in which content is gone in seconds.

Snapchat has other features that allow brands to create impressions on users as well.  On the Snap Stories page, you’ll see Live stories and Discover channels that will keep you posted on what’s trending.  The Discover page has stationary tiles while the Stories page combines Discover channels and Live stories into a single scrollable role of non-friend content with engaging advertisements.  In order to contribute to a live story, users must be at that specified location or event and use that special geofilter, add it to their personal story, and submit it for review.

Geofilters can be used on Snapchat to identify a user’s whereabouts.  Free Community Geofilters can be created and submitted by artists for communal use that mark cities, landmarks, universities, and other public locations.  On-Demand Geofilters which allow brand logos and trademarks may be purchased for events, businesses, or specific locations.  Geofilters indicate users’ locations so that followers know where they are while contributing to individual or brand stories.

SnapMemories is a service that downloads all your Snapchat Stories, then groups them each month and delivers them to you via email.  Although they disappear in the Snapchat app within 24 hours, SnapMemories allows you to download them and relive what you did over the previous month.

According to Mashable, “Snapchat must do all this — maintain broad appeal, find new ways to monetize and build innovative features — while not compromising its commitment to ephemerality and simple ‘in the moment’ messaging that made teens fall in love with it in the first place.”  Is Snapchat up for the challenge?  It seems to be so!

Are you ready to consider incorporating Snapchat into your social strategy?  Would you like to learn more about how it can work for you? Send an email my way at kate@highroaddigital.com, and go ahead and find HRD on Snapchat at @highroaddigital.