Launched in 2012, Snapchat is a unique social media app that focuses on the, “right here, right now” through the default auto-deleting of posts after only 24 hours. This is very attractive to the younger generation of 16-34 year olds who make up the majority of the app’s base.
Businesses avoided Snapchat until a few years ago when ads and other branded features were introduced. Now it is a source of highly engaged young audiences that your ecommerce store can definitely benefit from. Here’s how.
Potential of Snapchat for your store
The marketing appeal of the app is the high engagement rate even with its relatively small number of followers per account and overall user base. Snapchat has about 300 million daily average users mainly consisting of millennials and Gen Z with an estimated spending power of $1 trillion in the US.
Due to posts being short lived, there is a FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) kind of engagement on the app that creates two distinct advertising advantages. First, posts are not expected to be of high production quality thus a relatively smaller marketing budget. Second, viral growth across other platforms towards a Snapchat account is very organic as the audience feeds on the same FOMO mentioned above.
Develop your strategy
With the numerous options available for making your Shopify brand a splash on Snapchat, it is important to make an editorial calendar. This will help you and your team to come up with timely and effective content at a sustainable pace with guaranteed engagement.
Registering a business account on Snapchat will allow you to run ads using the native self-serve Snapchat Ads Manager. You can register your organization and add a marketing team who will each be given an ad account by logging in with their Snapchat usernames. Snapchat Ads Manager provides great tools such as audience targeting, and the Snap Pixel that integrates into ads and tracks the customer’s journey to your store.
Shopify has a great app called Snapchat Ads that integrates with your store allowing you to run the ads directly from your store. The app can create two types of ads; Brand Awareness Ads and Dynamic Shopping Ads that showcase your catalog to your followers. It even makes installing the Snapchat pixel possible right from your Store!
Unlike other platforms, Snapchat does not have a robust analytics offering. However, views, replays and screenshots give a good idea of your brand’s followers and should be noted as your Snaps expire. Story completion rate and fallout rate are good for gauging what kind of Stories engage your audience and which may require improvement.
Distinguishing features of the Snapchat app
Snapchat is unique among social media apps in a number of ways. From the highly customizable posts, to the general lack of deep analytics. On the surface, these make it appear like a business’ worst nightmare, but a deeper look reveals a lot of potential.
Post features are uniquely numerous
Snapchat has a wide range of fun and useful filters that provide nearly endless customization of a post (called a Snap). When creating a post on this visual app, the basic tool is the camera and so these are the options available as you take a photo or record a video.
You can add a text caption to a post so that your viewers have additional context or messaging in the post on why the photo was taken or who is in it.
Stickers are in-app images you can add to your photo or video post to make it more fun or add meaning and context to it. There are numerous in-built stickers, but if those aren’t enough, you can create a custom sticker from a photo as well.
If captions and stickers are not enough for your creative pursuits on a post, Snapchat also has a doodle function that enables free drawing with a line tool. You can draw whatever shapes you want over the image or video to make it even more unique.
After creating a Snap, it is possible to save it in Memories for later use. This may be the case if you want to create a series of Snaps and are still figuring out what works by prototyping different ideas. Memories are a good tactic to use in marketing your ecommerce store by saving multiple viewpoints from different members of your team (such as events coverage or a reel of different lifestyle use scenarios for your product). All the content can be reviewed, picking out the best of them to make one great story.
Additionally, saved Snaps from your Memories can be reposted to remember an event or moment that is important to your brand like the day your first product launched and how employees handled it. Such a memory can be a good segue into a new product your brand is planning to launch.
Snapchat allows you to post Snaps in chronological order to create a kind of narrative, so they called the feature Stories. This encourages telling a visual narrative over multiple Snaps, allowing you to use different filters and stickers; including branded ones. An impactful story that will capture your audience should be thought out to cover a specific story arc, with controlled pacing to build hype.
These are post enhancements that are laid over your photo or video to highlight a mood, location or even a brand. There is a rich list of choices to pick from whether you’re taking selfies or branding a contest location for your brand.
Snapchat Lens (Personal filters)
Snapchat uses augmented reality to liven up a photo or video by overlaying anything from wonky glasses to bunny ears onto your face in real time. These are accessible when the camera is set to selfie mode and holding down over your face for a few seconds. Small circles previewing the different filters will appear above the shutter button in a gallery line for you to swipe through.
Before sending the Snap, you can set the time (from 1s to 10s) you want the post to appear on a viewer’s screen or you can save a copy to Memories for later use.
A feature that allows users to create filter artwork centering a specific public space for the community in that area such as a landmark or public library. Since it is for public consumption, there are set guidelines published by Snapchat before your submitted filter is approved.
Unlike the free personal and community filters mentioned above, on-demand filters are created and shared at a cost. This includes customized one-off filters you might want for special occasions such as a branded product launch being marketed in a specific area. The design can be made using the available Snapchat tools or from a third party image editing software.
Factors that affect how much an on-demand filter costs include the number of days it will be available in-app, the popularity of the location and size of the area in which people will be able to use it. This is determined by drawing a polygon (Geofence) around the map area in the app. It costs about $5 per the minimum half acre area. The maximum area is about 115 acres and can cost up to $100,000 per month. Keep this in mind and maximize ROI by promoting the filter before, during and after the event with Stories and Memories as well as cross posting on other platforms.
Make engaging, fresh content from your Shopify store
Using the above features to full effect is the best way to gain a strong following on Snapchat. Your Shopify store will benefit from using a wide range of Snaps on your editorial calendar with the following being only a few ideas to start with.
Meet the merchant Snaps highlight what store owners and employees do and go through day to day. Such posts help the audience to connect with the brand and store on a human level.
Tutorials showcase “How To’s” on a product that for example may be recently launched or got bad user reviews. Snapchat’s augmented reality filters can be used to make the tutorials interactive in a way that no other social media platform can replicate.
Exclusive promo codes are a great way to entice customers on other platforms to follow your Shopify store on Snapchat. One way is to tie the codes to contests where users are encouraged to use a branded filter for discount eligibility. This is a high value scenario where you would now have a lot of user generated content (UGC) that can be cross posted to other platforms leading to even more user interest on Snapchat.
Influencer content will drive interest to your Snap and Shopify store when done right. The short video duration of Snaps is ideal for product placement posts or even featuring on a Story. Using influencers gives your brand greater reach across new audiences and buyer personas.
These are creators with small but highly engaged followers with niche interests. They are great for conversion campaigns as these influencers have a strong connection with their followers.
Large audiences are always great when you want to run a brand awareness campaign. Influencers with wide varied follower interests like DJ Khaled (with over 1m views per Snap) provide this in spades with high daily views. These large follower counts also bring more potential for your brand partnership content to go viral.