Snapchat – digital strategy for 2017

As a social media channel whose value has traditionally been disregarded, Snapchat is emerging as a social powerhouse, boasting the same amount of daily video views as Facebook (8 billion) and 100 million daily active ‘Snapchatters’, with a niche of the 16 – 24-year-old demographic. What marks Snapchat out is its sense of urgency and ephemerality– stories are updated in real-time and expire after 24 hours.

What differentiates Snapchat’s video capabilities is the fact that users need to actively ‘tap’ to watch a video, compared to other channels like Facebook where videos are automatically played in the feeds of users. Snapchat is made for mobile, and so harnesses mobile capabilities – videos are always full screen, user choice and sound-enabled.

It is important however to consider the drawbacks of Snapchat. Its audience reach is limited if you want to reach anyone outside the 16 – 24 age range, and it is best used as a brand awareness tool rather than generating direct response. It is also less sophisticated than Facebook, YouTube and Twitter in terms of insights, targeting and audience information, although this is an area that is being actively developed.

Why should Snapchat be considered by Universities?

In terms of using Snapchat in real-time, according to a recent study which polled American University students on their social media habits, “77% of college students use Snapchat at least once a day” and “close to 70% of students said they’d even add a brand as a friend if they also followed them on a separate social network like Facebook or Twitter”.

There is substantial buzz around the ‘Flight of Millennials’ leaving Facebook and heading towards different social channels. With 46% of UK teens (11-16 year olds) using Snapchat weekly, it’s evident to see that potential future students applying to university will already be accustomed to visual content. And having already become early adopters of social platforms like Snapchat, this only reinforces the importance of using such a channel within a university setting.

We’ll be looking in more detail around Snapchat advertising (3V) in the bought and earned space in future blogs, so stay tuned!



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