When it comes to engaging with and maintaining the attention of a specific audience, Snapchat is the current queen and king.
Its reported 161 million daily users (Q4 2016) open the ephemeral messaging app 18 times a day on average, spending 25 to 30 minutes in-app every single day.
But how do brands use Snapchat to engage with consumers, and is anybody really listening to what a brand has to say in its Snapchat stories?
A new report released today by Snapchat influencer analytics platform Snaplytics suggests that brands are faring well, but that Snapchat still has one significant barrier to entry.
The first eye-opening statistic from the study relates to how many brand stories are opened. Snaplytics analyzed content posted by over 500 brands, taking in data from 24,000 stories consisting of more than 271,000 snaps, and discovered that 54.8 percent of a brand account’s followers will open the story.
That’s impressive. Even more remarkable is the completion rate.
It turns out 87.5 percent of followers that open the story will watch it to the last snap. When you consider the different ways that brands can leverage Snapchat — via the expensive Discovery section, or through sponsored lenses and filters — it is a brand’s snap story that is performing extraordinarily well.
While Snapchat originally attracted a teen audience, it has slowly become an important messaging and storytelling app for people of all ages. How has that affected the completion rate and the approach brands should take to Snapchat?
“Interestingly, the shift in demographic does not seem to have a measurable effect on the numbers,” Thomas Cilius, CEO of Snaplytics, told me. “The reason behind this is likely that the engagement on Snapchat starts with users clicking the brand story, and hence they have a keen interest in viewing the story — otherwise they would not click. On most other platforms the content is served through algorithms based on what you and your friends like.”
High open and completion rates is great news for brands, but not such good news for Snapchat, since brands don’t have to pay to create stories. But there is still one major issue with the platform.
The report shows that 64 percent of new followers add a brand using the Snapchat name, not the Snapcode or via deeplinks. The suggestion here is that if you like a brand enough to want to follow them on Snapchat, you expect them to have secured their brand name.
That said, Snapcodes and deeplinks are gaining traction. The study shows that the percentage of brands being found via Snapcodes and deeplinks is increasing with each quarter.
“Aside from creating awareness by using Snapchat logos on other platforms, 34 percent added the brand on Snapchat through either deeplinks or Snapcodes,” Cilius said. “It gives a huge possibility for brands to activate their audience offline. As a brand, every material created can include a Snapcode, and another interesting way is to promote your Snapchat account on your website through a popup with the deeplink for users visiting from a mobile device. Both initiatives improve the conversion between being interested to actually following your account.”
The report goes on to detail how many stories brands are publishing per week, the content of those stories, and what works best on Snapchat. Of course, any brand wishing to do well can’t simply copy the cadence of others and expect to get results. It really does come down to the content itself.
“As with any content, be original, push the boundaries of the platform and give people something they haven’t seen before,” Virginia Salas Kastilio, Snapchat strategist and founder at GiniCanBreathe, told me. “You want to get an audible reaction from your viewer: A laugh, a gasp, to the point that they show the next person in the room.”
With brands getting a free pass to create content that has both high open rates and stellar completion rates, Snapchat offers a lot of value without much in the way of investment. How long will that continue? If the company follows the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and other networks — throttling access to organic content via algorithms — then likely not long at all. A post-IPO Snap Inc. will need to find interesting new ways to generate revenue.
But right now, brands should take advantage of what is a highly favorable marketing channel.