Impressive numbers stand behind Snapchat: 100 million users, more than 5 billion video views per day, up to 8x higher viewership of Live Stories than similar TV events—the list goes on.
Spoiler alert: Numbers are important. Snapchat’s demographic and engagement statistics are one of the biggest reasons brands are drawn to the platform. But, just like these numbers are important for bringing marketers to Snapchat, numbers are equally vital to helping them strategize and stay. Brands have their own statistics they aim to achieve and (hopefully) boast about: ROI.
But ROI is hard to measure on social media. The Content Standard’s Jonathan Crowl offers insight about this obstacle by looking at third-party tools used for platforms like Facebook and Twitter. That way, when brands like Coca-Cola nail ROI using social media, it’s easy to demonstrate. In her post about Instagram marketing, Skyword’s Keri Longacre also provides ways to measure ROI for the increasingly relevant platform.
Social media ROI problem? Solved. Right?
Not so fast. Snapchat, now a huge player in the social media space and an attractive platform for many B2C marketers, has not incorporated strong tools for measuring ROI. Yet. While Snapchat is looking to implement an API based on an understanding that marketers wish to see more in-depth statistics, details remain “light about exact functionality and timeline of such a feature.”
In the third post of this Snapchat marketing series, we’ll take a look at what statistics are available (albeit, on a more manual collection basis) for marketers. We’ll also consider, in a more speculative attempt, what statistics marketers should care about as the Snapchat API is rumored to be in the works.
Engagement is a crucial statistic across all forms of digital marketing: We want to know that the audience we’re reaching through our content amplification is actually doing something with our content. Engagement, while not necessarily a direct conversion to sales, is crucial for brand awareness, a top goal of social programs.
Snapchat engagement rate can be measured by the amount of views or screenshots any particular Snap has. As discussed in the first post of this series, brands make their biggest impact through the Snapchat Story feature. By noting the number next to the purple eye icon, you can see how many users (and which ones specifically, if you click into the icon) have viewed various posts throughout your Story.
A green arrow icon will appear if someone who viewed your Snapchat Story took a screenshot. Screenshots are a useful KPI in that they show which users were engaged enough to find your content capture-worthy. Maybe they saved the Snap because of a promo code; maybe your post just really spoke to the user. In both cases, a screenshot Snap indicates success: if a promotion code was saved, it’s more likely to be used and result in explicit ROI; if your post spoke to the user enough for them to want it on their camera roll, you’re building brand awareness.
Before it disappears. Literally. These statistics live as long as the content does on a Snapchat Story (which is a meager 24 hours). Once the Story disappears, so do the numbers. The demand for a Snapchat API is becoming a little easier to understand now, huh? The caveat throughout this article is that most Snapchat statistics have to be measured in a manual and timely fashion.
Currently, there’s no way for users to see if their Snapchat story has been replayed. While 1-1 Snaps allows the sender to see if the recipient replayed their private Snap, this is not a feature of the Snapchat Story, where most brands should be living in Snapchat. With the forthcoming API, this might be a statistic marketers lobby for.
Another impactful statistic for Snapchat marketers’ content measurement is completion rate. This number tells marketers how long they’re captivating their audiences. Snapchat’s Story feature allows brands to sequentially build photos and videos on top of one another. If a user hasn’t watched (or at the very least, clicked through) the first Snaps in a Story, they won’t be able to view the following ones.
The completion rate can be measured by looking at the views each Snap in your Snapchat Story gets. If you divide the views on the last Snap of your Story by the views on the first Snap, you’ll have calculated your completion rate.
As with other Snapchat content measurements, this statistic needs to be calculated ASAP. If you aren’t tracking the numbers on your story before they expire, you’ll have no numbers to ultimately track.
Data that marketers should additionally be interested in is how quickly Snapchats are tapped through. If a brand posts a 10-second video, but users are tapping through it after only two seconds to view the next Snap, this is significant. A brand could have a 100 percent completion rate, but if 50 percent of those viewers quickly tapped through every Snap on their story to reach the end, that completion rate means far less.
Follower growth is another potential KPI on Snapchat: If your Snapchat campaigning is successful, you should be seeing an uptick in followers.
Right now, calculating these statistics, yet again, is unfortunately manual. To track how many Snapchat users you’re gaining, you should be checking your “added me” feature. This can be found after clicking on the ghost icon when you open the app. Clicking on the ghost brings you to what can be best described as a “profile page” on Snapchat. On this page, you will see your profile (pro tip: upload a photo into the ghost icon to brand your account!), users that have added you, a search engine to find friends, and a list of your friends on Snapchat. This interface also gives you access to the help center (top left), Snapchat trophies (top middle *brands need not mind this feature too heavily*), and Snapchat settings (top right).
Brands should be focusing on the “Added Me” section of this interface to track follower growth. The settings tab is, of course, worth calling out as well, however. For instance, Snapchat marketers should be making sure that “Everyone” can see their Stories. That way, anyone who has added you can view your story—you don’t necessarily have to have added them back. Without this checked, your follower increase is useless (unless you’re making sure to follow every individual user back).
Brands should be measuring their follower growth on a recurring basis depending on how quickly their growth is happening. If Snapchat campaigns are successful, brands should consider monitoring more than once a day. For example, if you’re running a Snapchat campaign that is being teased across other social media channels like Twitter or Instagram (which, pro tip #2: you should!), then someone should likely be checking this uptick more frequently. If followers aren’t increasing after these initiatives, that serves as a good sign that it’s time to re-strategize your Snapchat marketing campaigns.
A huge disclaimer for this KPI is that there are few concrete ways to determine whether you’ve lost followers. This is undoubtedly a key factor in keeping track of your follower base. Snapchat marketers should, at the very least, expect an attempted solve for this through the Snapchat API.
And Snapchat is slowly but surely getting up to answer the door. The rumored API is one feature marketers understandably desire: By hopefully eliminating the tedious, manual calculations currently necessary for collecting Snapchat data, the API would make ROI much easier to capture. Luckily, in the meantime, some Snapchat analytics solutions are starting to pop up. While marketers test the waters with these types of solutions or anxiously await the Snapchat API, this article should help Snapchat marketing hopefuls better understand the platform and what metrics they should want from it.
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