What is Snapchat? Immediate Content Marketing for Your Brand

Americans’ attention spans are now shorter than a goldfish’s. If you haven’t already gotten distracted, we’ll tell you that this statement comes from Nancy Koehn, a Harvard Business School historian. In 2000, the average attention span of an American was 12 seconds; in 2013, it was eight seconds. A goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds. Pathetic? Most certainly. But if you’re in marketing, you need to know how to get and keep the attention of your audience—how to mesmerize your goldfish, as it were. That’s why Snapchat is a great tool. Snapchat is an image-sharing site like many others, but its claim to fame is that photos and videos shared on the network disappear forever within a few seconds, almost like the old Mission: Impossible episodes where, “This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.”

Gone in a Snap: What’s the Appeal?

Snapchat is enormously popular among people younger than 25. The company is estimated to process 150 million images a day, and even more impressive, Facebook offered to buy it and Snapchat said no. Now, that’s panache. The advantage of using something so cutting edge is obvious—you’ll seem cool and new by association. Plus, the immediacy of Snapchat spurs customers to engage with your content right now, before the Snapchat image is gone. Taco Bell, Nissan and even Pharrell Williams are using Snapchat as a marketing tool.

The Here and Now of Immediate Content

How can your brand use Snapchat? Take advantage of the here-today-gone-later-today immediacy of it. Send a sneak peek of your latest product or offer. Customers see it, then “poof!”—it’s gone. Offer sales or discounts that customers can only open once, for use at the register. Social Media Today reports that marketers have used Snapchat as a game, enticing customers to take part in treasure hunts and competitions, where the first person to respond to a Snapchat receives a gift, for example. The beauty of Snapchat is that it draws customers in, rather than annoys or distracts them with pop-up ads or unwanted email. Marketers are also encouraging customers to upload their own photos to Snapchat using their products. People who do so are rewarded with discounts, specials and so on. Use Snapchat as the marketing tool of the goldfish generation, and your branding efforts will be a snap!

Got Something to Share?

If you’ve used Snapchat, let us know in the comments what campaigns caught your attention. Do you think this swift moving marketing will be a technique more frequently used in the future or will it be a passing fade, gone in a snap?
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