Why You’re Likely To Fail using Snapchat as a Marketing Tool

Snapchat is arguably the premier messaging app for millennials and Gen-Z. The picture-messaging app has grown to over 700 million users (larger than Twitter), and doesn’t plan to stop soon. Cites have hopped on board to make their own ‘stories’, celebrities have taken on the app to add a more personalized approach to their interactions, and politicians have found themselves making Snapchat stories to encourage millennial voting.

Big Business?

Snapchat will disappoint.

After their interface redesign back in February, an overwhelming amount of Snapchat users have expressed their dislike for it. According to consumer feedback, the redesign makes it more difficult to re-watch someone’s story, did away with stories in chronological order, and made extra steps to find new friends in the ‘send page’.

Snapchat released an explanation of their plans last November in a short YouTube video. Consider the fact that the comments are disabled and you’re unable to see the like-to-dislike ratio. That’s the sign of poor reception.

As of this writing, over 1.2 million people have signed this petition asking for the app to return to its original interface. Consider the graph below, which illustrates the drastic uptick of negative feedback about the app’s interface after the big change in February.

The negativity resulting from this overhaul is detrimental to any advertisers on the platform for obvious reasons, but there are plenty of other reasons Snapchat is not an ideal way to market.

Marketing to millennials (and especially Gen-Z) requires a lot of creativity and consistency. This is somewhat easy to do on platforms like Instagram and Twitter, where marketers can upload a simple picture, caption it, schedule posts far in advance, and directly reply to comments.

Snapchat doesn’t work like that.

Advertisers on Snapchat are pretty varied, such as upcoming hollywood blockbusters, news outlets like NowThis and CNN, franchises like WWE, and gaming-news titan IGN. But what they all share in common is consistency and video advertisements that are different than regular television commercials.

Gen-Z, notably, is going to be a really tough nut to crack for marketers.
As Joe Cox of Barkley Ad Agency noted, “Brands need to tread lightly – the same types of social tricks that Boomers and even Millennials found surprising will be completely see-through to Gen Z. Unless a brand knows their editorial authority – what they have permission to talk about based on the true beliefs of their brand – and the rules Gen Z has put in place for social networking, they won’t resonate with this consumer group.”

So, let me rephrase:

If you are:

  1. Willing to produce consistent multimedia content specific for the platform
  2. Be creative enough to break through to the tough marketing crowd of Gen-Z
  3. Willing to jump on a platform receiving a lot of negative feedback

Then, by all means, market your brand on Snapchat.

It’s much easier for celebrities and politicians to snap a quick, ten-second video of themselves for a face-to-face interaction with the younger crowds, but big business is going to have a much tougher time.




One thought on “Why You’re Likely To Fail using Snapchat as a Marketing Tool

  1. I like your approach to this topic, not many people give a negative spin on their topic but I think your layout/framework works nicely here. Although, I do have to say when I worked at Wayfair they utilized Snapchat to appeal to a younger generation of new hires and offered an up close and personal perspective on the business and work environment that definitely worked in their favor. I think if more companies/businesses used this approach they could benefit from it in the long run.


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