Black and white image of a group of friends making silly faces

Snapchat: A Key PR Tool

— Briana Campbell, WE 

Teens and young adults are early adopters of technology, and their behavior foreshadows what the rest of us will soon be doing on social and digital platforms. There has been a continued shift toward live and in-the-moment content, and this shift has been led in large part by Snapchat.

Growing exponentially over the past year — with a global user base of about 200 million daily users— it has surpassed Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest in number of users. It’s in the No. 2 spot in terms of popularity for GenZ, with 26% of teens saying Snapchat is their favorite app(only 17% cite Instagram).

  • 41% of Americans 18–34 are reached on Snapchat daily. Network TV reaches only 6% of this demographic.
  • 50% of new users are over the age of 25, showing its shift from a teen app into the mainstream.
  • Snapchat users spend 25 to 30 minutes a day on the app, sending over 1 billion daily snaps.

If you’re not up on all things Snapchat, now is the time to join the millions of consumers, influencers and brands that have gotten on board.

Snapchat is an in-the-moment, of-the-moment messaging app that lets people come together through creative and personalized images and videos. People, especially young millennials and Gen Z, are gravitating toward platforms where they canshow off their personal idea of creativity — Snapchat lets them do it with a tool kit of lenses, filters, text and digital stickers — in a way that’s more about their real life than a perfected representation of their life.

It’s this focus on creativity and personalization that brands are using to connect one-on-one with people through innovative and impactful digital experiences.

Sneaker company Vans celebrated its 50th anniversary with sponsored Geofilters, a custom layer that users could add to their photos in specific places and spaces, which represented Vans’ historical importance in music and action sports. This earned social media was a great way for Vans to let users become an integral part of telling the brand story, allowing them to become co-creators in its telling, as opposed to simply consumers.

In another example of a brand taking full advantage of Snapchat’s key features, McDonald’s used the Story feature, a chronological collection of snaps that disappears after 24 hours, to offer exclusive content to their followers. LeBron James took over the account, sharing his behind-the-scenes perspective while filming a TV spot. James’ takeover brought McDonald’s thousands of new Snapchat followers.

Perhaps the most popular Snapchat feature is Lenses, an interactive feature that transforms a user’s face with overlays or animations. From Face Swap to puppy tongues, Snapchat users are obsessed with Lenses. Gatorade took advantage of the specific moment in time that is the Super Bowl, activating a sponsored Lens that let users join the fun of winning and celebrating with a Gatorade shower. Sixty million people used the Lens, interacting with it for an average of 30 seconds (the average is 20 seconds), and Gatorade saw purchase intent rise 8 points.

With Geofilters as low as $5, people and brands have the same tools to tell their story. The democratic pricing means that small and large brands can experiment, test creative to see what works, and have a little fun, without making a huge investment in or commitment to the platform.

Snapchat has grown up from an app where teens shared pics they didn’t want anyone else to see to a sophisticated messaging platform and marketing tool. As we see other social platforms tweak their offerings to be more Snapchat-like (see Instagram Stories, Facebook’s Lifestages) and stay relevant to the emerging youth market, it will be interesting to see how Snapchat continues to keep its users engaged.

Pro Tips

Use influencers to add credibility to your brand.
Brands can partner with influencers on the influencer’s account or give the influencer free rein to take over the brand account to reach a new audience in an authentic way. And remember, influencers may be celebs or media companies on Discover, but they may also be a seemingly regular person with a huge Snapchat following.

Be where your audience is, and behave like they do.Brands looking to earn loyalty with the youth market need to engage with them on their own terms; this means launching campaigns on the platforms they use the most. Pro tip: Snapchat is waaaay up there.


Want More?

Check out our Slideshare for further information on features and tips for activation, and to see examples of how other brands are using Snapchat to reach new audiences. For even more on bringing campaigns to life with Snapchat, reach out to us directly at WESocial&