Snapchat Fever: Why Millennials & Brands Love Instant Gratification

admin - 05/17/2016

I still use Facebook. Not exactly for what you may think. As a college junior, my friends and I use the Messenger and Groups function to chat within our campus organizations. We don’t post statuses, nor do we share content. I asked my sister, a sixteen-year-old who keeps up with the newest viral content, “Do you still use Facebook?”

My sister responds with a loud and surprised tone, “What? No! I have it to stay in touch with our cousins in Peru. I don’t have any of my friends added on Facebook.” When I asked her if she still used Twitter, she responded with “Twitter is dead.”

discover_snapchatAll her friends are on Snapchat. I always catch her talking selfies in the passenger seat, at the dinner table, at the mall, and in line to order food. It’s not just an obsession with using it, it’s an obsession with keeping up with what others are doing and saying. It’s instant gratification on steroids. In a couple of taps she can view 12 Snap Stories and catch up with her favorite Discover channel before our food’s served. So what’s the big deal?

Evan Spiegel and two classmates created Snapchat at Stanford University in 2011. The application allows friends to send each other pictures that will “virtually disappear” after seconds of viewing it. Snaps that are on the Stories function stay for a longer period of time. Since its creation, the application has updated several times. Introduced were useful features like video snaps and fun filters that augment reality.

In 2013, Snapchat’s role in the communications industry exploded. Big brands became interested in this new social media platform. Taco Bell told Twitter followers to add them on Snapchat for a “secret announcement” only shared with their Snap friends. This changed everything.

Seasoned platforms like Facebook and Twitter are accessible and garner plenty of diverse audiences, but Snapchat fills a gap for many brands. Millennials are the future of consumer spending and customer loyalty. For most brands, this is the target audience they can’t find on other platforms. Research shows that most teens have decreased their use of Facebook or Twitter because of the demographics shift. Grandma and Grandpa are on Facebook. Best friends are on Snapchat.

According to a MarketingSherpa study, “a third of millennials” prefer social media as a form of “communicating with businesses,” making Snapchat an easy marketing opportunity for brands like BuzzFeed, People, and MTV. So why not mix the two? You can have your best friends and your favorite brands in one tap.

If you download Snapchat right now, you’ll see a compilation of stories commemorating the life of Prince. These featured compilations rotate depending on what’s happening in the world. In the past I have seen Fashion Week compilations, Bridal Fashion Week, and now the Full Moon Party compilations. Features like this help brands and influencers market themselves through a public newsfeed. They submit their Snaps to Snapchat, who curates them into a collage of Snapchatters all over the world. On a more intimate level, brands can have followers add them and communicate via Snaps, Stories, or the ever-so-popular Discover channel. If a brand has a Discover channel, the marketing possibilities are endless. My sister follows BuzzFeed’s Discover channel. She spends countless hours listening, reading, and viewing the bite-sized brand content. She often DMs me her favorite content via the Chat function.

snapchat-geofilterIn 2015, Snapchat began to monetize through sponsored geofilters and advertising campaigns.The first brand to adopt this was McDonald’s. On the menu was a branded geofilter—or Snapchat sticker—of a large McDonald’s fries that topples over onto your head during a selfie. These geofilters have evolved to locations such as Beverly Hills, Palm Springs, and New York City. Talk about having an instant case of FOMO. Now you can share with your friends where you are with flashy geofilters and make them jealous. This is the beauty of Snapchat. This is why brands and millennials are obsessed with this content. It’s fun, quirky, and most importantly, it’s shareable.

Now, in 2016, a new app has surfaced called GhostCodes, which lets users, and of course marketers, be aware of influencers in several categories. The application is in no way affiliated with Snapchat, but serves as a supplemental app to find awesome accounts with original content. Categories vary from Comedians, to Brands, News, Artists and Storytellers, to name a few.

Snapchat has changed the way we interact with brands. It’s changed the way we communicate with others. It’s evolved into this complex platform brands are using to reach their audiences. With the conception of GhostCodes, now we can obsess over even more people’s Stories, and we’ll spend even less time on other platforms. Recent studies show that millennials prefer Snapchat over Instagram. My question is, what app will erase our Snapchat fever?

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