snapchat marketing
Marketing Social Media

New Snapchat Marketing Opportunities Arise with Upcoming API

It’s the year of visuals for social media marketers. While marketers scramble to take advantage of Facebook videos and the growing popularity of Instagram, Snapchat marketing strategies have flown mostly under the radar for many brands. But for some early adopters, the successes have been quite real and brands have begun to take notice. After some initial difficulties, it would appear that Snapchat may be picking up steam and preparing to throw its hat in with the big dogs of visually-oriented content marketing.

Based on Snapchat sources, Digiday reported that marketers may soon have access to API support for the vanishing images app. While details remain light about exact functionality and timeline for such a feature, the possibilities this affords marketers is exciting.

The API Playing Field

When it’s rolled out, a new API would be a huge step for Snapchat. Many users have been asking about this access for some time, largely in relation to being able to create extensions and third-party apps for users to do things like save and store Snaps or see statistics about their post. For the most part, Snapchat has understandably remained tightly locked about access, but in October 2014 it expressed that its team was aware of the interest and working toward a solution. Now more than a year later, it seems developers may finally get a crack at Snapchat’s code, and marketers should be ready to rejoice.

Despite reaching a young audience of over 100 million users, Snapchat’s interface suffers from a few design choices that have hindered marketers since its inception. From a generally lighter ability to target audiences to the requirement of user choice in viewing ads, Snapchat’s platform remains in many ways the opposite of Facebook’s popular promotional services: Rather than serving ads en masse with a comparatively small percent converting, Snapchat’s format usually means less content served but only to people who are interested in seeing it (and thereby converting at much higher rates).

Perhaps the biggest hurdle for most marketers has been the relative lack of access to analytical tools and data that serve as the lifeblood of digital marketing. Part of this is simply due to the minimalist nature of the app—compared to platforms like Facebook, Snapchat doesn’t “know” quite so much about each individual user. But part of this is simply due to the limited number of tools for tracking and managing what data is available.

It is this hole in data that marketers are hoping to see filled by the release of an open API. In the event it is, the opportunities it would open up for social media marketing could be huge for both brands and Snapchat.

Snapchat marketing may be given new life with an ads API soon, but what opprotunities does this exactly afford for brands and marketers?

Making the Move

The question is, should marketers take advantage of Snapchat now or wait to see what developments it adds to the platform? The answer isn’t simple, and Snapchat—at least as it currently stands—isn’t perfect for all brands. Here’s an easy checklist to help decide whether the service is right for your brand right now:

  • Is your audience between 13-34 years old? The vast majority of Snapchat users (86 percent) falls in this age range, so if you’re hoping to capture older audiences, this isn’t the social media channel for your brand.
  • Can you afford to re-edit your content One of the benefits and drawbacks of Snapchat’s platform is it vertically oriented interface. While this always provides a fullscreen experience that users pretty much have to engage with, it also means that most content that’s been formatted for other social media or video hosting will likely have to be re-edited for use on Snapchat.
  • Is your brand known? While conversions on Snapchat are high due to users choosing to view promotional content, the platform doesn’t offer very many options for discoverability. Unless users are going to see your brand and willingly engage with content you’re sharing, Snapchat may not be the most cost-effective choice for promotion.

While Snapchat is already popular and poised to grow in 2016, the relatively young social media platform is still very much in its infancy when it comes to marketing support. Currently, it offers some high converting opportunities for known brands, but most brands are going to have to wait and see how the app develops in terms of targeting, analytical tools, and discoverability before the cost of producing specific content for it is feasible. Will the API solve these Snapchat marketing problems? That has yet to be seen—but marketers should certainly hope so.

Also interested in Instagram marketing? Check out The Ultimate Enterprise Instagram Strategy Guide.

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