I’ll be honest: as a social media user, I absolutely abhor Snapchat. I’ve tried the platform only two times; both of those times, I found the interface not intuitive or user-friendly. Blame it on its predecessors, Facebook, Twitter, hell – even MySpace – that have conditioned me to see some sort of a user feed where I can instantly see updates from my connections as soon as I log in. But with Snapchat, I was taken immediately to the camera to record a “snap” (What if I don’t want to record a snap? What if I just want to see what my friends are up to?). There was no user feed, as far as I could see; I had to wait for my friends to send a snap either directly to me, or to everyone on their friend list, the latter of which I just recently learned was a thing. Do you know how confused I was when I got snaps from people I hadn’t actually talked to in years?! And don’t even get me started on the annoying filters. Just – ugh.
But what about Snapchat from a marketing perspective? While I don’t personally like the platform, I’m in a fast-growing minority, as Snapchat’s user base will grow to 58.6 million users – a 27% increase, according to eMarketer. More and more, celebrities and brands are hopping on the Snapchat bandwagon, taking advantage of its large user base, and shelling out good money on its paid advertising opportunities. Indeed, popularity comes at a price. According to Adweek, sponsored lenses – colorful filters that are added to selfies – can range from $600,000 for one-day takeovers to over $750,000 for holidays and other big events. Geofilters start at $5, but pricing fluctuates depending on the time the filters run and the amount of space they cover. Snap ads start at around $50,000. And brands are gleefully forking over all this money in their never-ending quest to tap into the profitable Millennial market. Is the investment worth it?
In my professional opinion, if you’re a large brand that has a lot of money to burn on brand awareness (think: Coca-Cola, Nike), then Snapchat advertising could be a valuable resource. Millions of users will see and engage with your content. But if you’re looking to generate leads or sales, then you’ll want to put your eggs in another advertising basket. This brings me to my key point when it comes to marketing: think through your goals and objectives before you decide on a strategy. That bright and shiny object that everyone’s obsessing over (i.e., Snapchat) could turn out to be fool’s gold if not used properly. Remember, all that glitters is not gold, especially when it comes to advertising.