The Power of Using Snapchat for Events
Four years. That’s all it’s taken for Snapchat to become one of the biggest social media outlets worldwide. One of the most common misconceptions about Snapchat has been the particular audience (teens) and how they were using it (disappearing photos), and its lead to slow adoption among non-millennials. Unfortunately, this has prevented many from experiencing the powerful business applications of the technology. And, no application may be greater than that of Snapchat for events.
There are over 100 million active users on Snapchat today and 7 billion videos are viewed a day. When Facebook originally emerged, it was intended for college students and has since then grown into a much deeper part of mainstream culture. Snapchat has experienced a similar evolution, and it is evolving much faster than Facebook did. Snapchat has skyrocketed way beyond a disappearing picture sharing app to becoming a more media-rich version of text messaging and social networking.
There are few things that can benefit from media rich live social networking as much as live events. The top event marketers in the world recognize this already and are already beginning to harness the enormous power of Snapchat for events.
How does Snapchat work?
I use Snapchat on a daily basis. I use it to share photos of my child with grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins… the whole family can see short videos (10 second maximum) of my daughter dancing or singing instantaneously. WHY on earth would someone need this when we can just take a video and sent it in a text message, right? I want multiple people to see it. Snapchat is my go-to to send multiple people an update without getting trapped in a group text message. It also doesn’t bog down everyone’s phone memory with numerous videos of my kid.
Setting up an account and adding contacts is a breeze. It uses the contacts in your phone to suggest users but you can also add them by a Snapcode, their specific username, or by geolocation if they’re nearby. There’s a timeline (of sorts) where you can see who’s sent you snaps or you can see if (and when) they opened up the message. A chat feature allows you to talk instantly and you can now share video live as well (kind of like Facetime).
What makes it unique?
Forty-five percent of Snapchat’s users are under 25. As businesses began to notice Snapchat as the rich-medium that it is, Snapchat started to offer top content providers an outlet for exposure, they jumped at the chance.
With news outlets like CNN and the Wall Street Journal, entertainment sources: Buzzfeed and Comedy Central, sports news: ESPN and several others, Snapchat has now also become a place for news, entertainment, and information. People are now spending more time inside the app.
What’s truly unique about this offering is there isn’t any navigation. The images and videos are curated specifically for Snapchat and it plays as continuous video. This increases the chances of the content to be viewed in its entirety and lessens the chances for lost interest.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE EVENTS INDUSTRY?
Hopefully, the aforementioned information gives you a little bit more insight into the workings of the Snapchat world. But I am sure you’re thinking…how does this app have anything to do with my event?
Brands are beginning to use this app as part of an “underground” marketing avenue. Because there are so few marketers using Snapchat (Bizzabo reports just 3% of organizations are using it to promote events), there really aren’t any current precedents to follow. However, there are some dynamic new ideas that could offer huge payoffs to savvy event professionals.
One of the best ways to get your feet wet is work with Snapchat to develop a custom filter for your next event. Snapchat has recently been offering custom filters a way to promote events. They do this by using the geo-locater on your phone. This allows users to apply custom filters to their snaps when they are in event locations. For example, at Super Bowl 50 Snapchat provided all attendees with multiple custom filters that had football helmets, NFL logo’s, and more. This was a great way for those attending the event to send unique/special correspondence to their contacts, and a great method to create event hype and event buzz.
More about sponsored filters: when a new movie is coming out, a big event is happening (The Oscars), etc. new options appear (and they’re usually for a limited time.) Although you would think it goes against typical marketing tactics to invest in something designed to disappear, it’s actually the opposite. These limited-time filters are a feature of the app that keep users coming back day after day to see what’s new.
More recently, Snapchat has started offering On-Demand Filters that can be purchased by anyone! This is where the benefit of Snapchat for event marketing comes in. A custom filter can be designed for an event; the creator chooses the day, length of time, and geographic location covered and receives a quote for their filter instantly. The price is all dependent on the factors listed above.
We’ve also seen various companies utilize Snapchat in the following ways: contests, new product sneak peaks, coupons, behind the scenes, etc. Consider offering registered attendees who follow your event an inside look at what to expect, offer a private session only accessed through Snapchat. Not only will your involvement with this conceptually genius app boost your event as technically relevant, it allows you to market specifically to the younger markets.
Using Snapchat for events
The possibilities of when and how you can utilize Snapchat are endless: create pre-event buzz, run a campaign during the event, offer a “selfie” contest at the event’s close. It’s building an outlet to be reactive to your attendees and influence their method of involvement.
We’re really curious to see how the events industry is going to embrace Snapchat but one thing is for sure, we definitely think it will. How do you plan on using Snapchat for events? Let us know!
For more information about Snapchat features you can read my synopsis below.
An image is taken by pressing the shutter button once. In order to record video, you hold down the shutter button where you will see a red timer appear to let you know how much time is remaining. Once an image is taken there are a number of edits that can be made. You can draw on top of the picture with the pen tool, add emojis or stickers (size and location are adjustable), add text (31 character limit), or you can swipe left or right to add a filter (more about those later).
Another unique feature of Snapchat is the opportunity to publish a story. Every snap video or image you take will allow you to select the people that you send it to, or you can publish it to your story that can be viewed by all of your friends for up to 24-hours. There was a bit of debate on how this would work and if it would take off but it most certainly has. As you add a video or image to your story it will appear as a longer narrative of snaps that are continuously strung together.
FILTERS (for images)
The evolution of filters has been an interesting one. It’s clear that Snapchat allows for trial and error and it’s nice to know they are readily adapting to their customers. A filter can be added to an image by swiping right or left once the image has been taken. In some cases it’s your typical filters: sepia, B&W, the time, or the temperature. In other instances, there is a Geofilter that is featured based on your geographical location. A few filters were offered in the initial stages that most users only received if they opted into the Beta testing. With the increasing demand for more filters, Snapchat added the option of purchasing a particular filter at $.99/each. Though the reason for this is understandable, it was not well received by users.
After a brief period, the for-purchase filters disappeared. I would attribute this trial period as a lesson learned, they saw the potential for the on-demand filters but needed a way to increase revenue with the offering.
LENSES (Filters for Videos)
Probably one of my current favorite features of Snapchat are the incredibly entertaining video lenses. I mentioned that recording a video is done by holding down the shutter button. In order for the lenses to appear you position your face in the center and press down anywhere besides the shutter button. The lenses then appear along the bottom, you can preview it before recording, just take a picture, or record a video all on the same screen.
Though the majority are not sponsored, they’re doing what is intended. Getting users on the app continually. The one that I remember most notably during the Superbowl was sponsored by Gatorade. A water cooler (filled with Gatorade presumably) would appear and dump over your head. It’s the little things in life. Being able to swap faces with my co-workers was something only done with meticulous Photoshop skills. Now- anyone (with Snapchat) can do it!