snapchat: a new marketing tool?

by Ovative Group
August 23, 2017

This summer, we asked our talented group of college interns to contribute to the Ovative/group blog. We asked them to choose a topic that interests them, do a deep dive into the subject, then develop a post to share what they learned. Enjoy this post and stay tuned for the rest of the Intern Series throughout this summer! 

WRITTEN BY: Maraika Lumholdt and Ingrid Sabah

The first step in addiction recovery is admittance. We’re here to admit that we are completely addicted to Snapchat…#millennialproblems. However, the power of the great and mighty Snapchat goes far beyond sending goofy photos to all our friends – Snapchat is, and can be, a vital tool for marketers everywhere.

Last year, our pal and co-worker Tommy wrote a great article on Snapchat’s capabilities for advertisers. As we all know, a lot can change in a year, and we’re here to bring you an up-to-date on the need-to-know!


Snapchat’s reach has grown tremendously with usership amongst those 25 years and older, growing 2x faster than those under the age of 25. Usership now sits at a whopping 166 million users – with over 60 million users in the U.S. and Canada alone. Despite these astronomical numbers, not much has shifted within the core demographics of Snapchat.

  • 71% of users are under the age of 34
  • 70% of users are female
  • 45% of users are between the ages of 18 – 24

With that, users are quite the force when it comes to utility: generating on average three billion snaps and 400 million snap stories per day.

It’s also important to note that Snapchat’s usership is an entirely unique domain. As seen in this graph from Snap Inc., a large majority of users do not use any other platform on any given day.  Snapchat’s reach is vast and unduplicated:

vast and unduplicated


Much in Snapchat has changed, driven by the goal of amplified engagement for all users. Here are some changes that have hit Snap Inc. in recent months…

  • Long-form videos, articles, and web view: you can now engage with content similarly to how you would outside the app via a web-like interface, full length articles, and entire videos
  • App installations: users can now be routed to the landing pages of specific apps
  • Snap map: an interactive map that allows users to opt in and share their locations, major events and featured stories are also commonly indexed
  • Enhanced chat features: Users can now form chat groups, forward snaps, and engage with added chat features within stories
  • Search features: stories can be found by searching a topic (i.e. pizza), by location (i.e. Mall of America), a person, or an event via opt-in content which is when a user chooses to add their snap or story to an existing public story

For users, Snapchat continually rolls out new features to level up our activity on the app. In addition to augmented reality filters altering your face as exemplified in Tommy’s article, now augmented reality filters can alter the world around you…say whaaa? Our favorite is the infamous dancing hotdog.


Advertisers have definitely taken advantage of augmented reality, with many sponsored face-altering filters. Recently, they’ve started sponsoring ‘world’ lenses as well.


Sponsored augmented-reality filters


World lens sponsored by the movie “Everything, Everything”


Since the birth of Snapchat, their advertising capabilities have changed tremendously. There are many new ways to play the game:

  • Video ads in between stories: not confined to the Discover feature anymore! Now Snapchat supports videos in between stories. Native advertising at its finest.
  • Ad attachments: in addition to plain ol’ video ads, advertisers can add calls to action to link out (“deeplink”) to web content, in-platform articles, or an app store! This is an opportunity to further drive conversions, something Snapchat struggled with when sponsored content was contained within the Discover feature.
  • Perhaps the biggest change comes with the long-anticipated advertising platform: Ad Manager. A one-stop shop to create and monitor ads. Within the tool, advertisers can pick objectives (app installs, website traffic, etc), schedule the ads, and monitor performance, thanks to integration with many third-party technologies like DoubleClick. With recent additions like Nielsen and Neustar Marketshare, Snapchat’s measurement is aiming to be on par with the giants like Facebook and Google.

campaign manager

Choosing objectives within Ad Manager

campaign 2

Ad Manager’s interface to monitor campaign performance



Snapchat continues to target in all of the traditional ways i.e. gender and location. These have been expanded to include:

  • Location and context with an example being NYC Night Life
  • By device and carrier
  • Interest groups such as adventure, beauty, science, film, etc.
  • Snap currently offers targeting over 300 predefined audience types based on what they view, what they buy, and where they are
  • Match Targeting: allows advertisers to match their data to Snap’s and build custom audience profiles
  • Lookalike Targeting: allows advertisers to build lookalike audiences based on the characteristics of their best customers

There are some brands who have been crushin’ the Snapchat game, utilizing all these new features:

Taco Bell rolled out a pretty fantastic augmented reality filter, turning users’ faces in giant tacos. That filter was viewed more than 224 million times, giving their brand awareness a big boost.

Netflix used targeted geofilters to promote their new Gilmore Girls reboot to tie in their exclusive pop-up shops to all those who couldn’t be at those events. This spread awareness to the networks of those at the events. Bam.

Netflix show Glow created a world lens to look like the user was in the boxing ring featured in the show. This increased awareness ahead of Glow’s premiere date.


So, is Snapchat a vital tool for marketers? It will take time to tell as Snapchat continually rolls out new features, both in terms of content and measurement. However, it should certainly be considered alongside other social media channels.

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