March 2, 2016

Is Snapchat A Marketing Loser?

The first thought that strikes you after opening Snapchat is, “Now what?” Followed by, “Where did it go?”

Yet highly visible marketers are wishfully proclaiming Snapchat as a big deal in social marketing, but that is absurd. Don’t waste your time. At least not now.

Yes, it’s a tool you can’t miss. The same way Twitter TWTR +2.80%, MySpace, Second Life or even Bitcoin were hyped, the marketing pundits can see the future and Snapchat fits neatly in it. Perhaps they’re right, perhaps they can see 10 moves ahead, like a chess game that has yet to play out.

But numerous changes need to happen to the core functionality of this app before it’s possible that this deficient, substandard social app gain the attention of the ROI driven marketer.  You can watch me explain them in the video, or follow along below.

  1. What? Marketing messages disappear?
Nothing is worse than a marketing message that disappears and can’t be recalled later. It doesn’t matter how you spin it or phrase it. If it’s something that can’t be recalled or watched again, what’s the point? Yes, I know you can take a screen shot, or download a video (if the marketer allows), but trust me, not many users are going to do that.

  1. No outgoing links = big zero in marketing value
This one is pretty simple. If you think Instagram is hard to convert, then Snapchat is like trying to convert lead into gold. There are currently no simple means to move someone off the Snapchat platform into a lead funnel or purchase cycle.

  1. Difficult to get new followers and to have followers follow you
On almost every other social network, finding users to follow and be followed is easy. Not on Snapchat. Adding my first 25 followers was painful and unnecessarily difficult. The same for finding users to follow. If you don’t have their Snapcode (a unique scannable QR code) or their exact username, adding them is problematic.

  1. Short video duration = small value
Like Vine and Instagram, Snapchat limits you to 10 seconds of video at a time. But unlike Instagram or Vine, you must shoot the video using Snapchat. That makes creating marketer friendly videos challenging. There are a handful of companies like Buzzfeed, ESPN and Mashable with special video editing powers, but it’s unclear how to gain these powers or if it’s even worth the effort.

  1. Analytics that disappear too
Nothing in Snapchat wants to stick around. And that includes its analytics. Yes, you can view the analytics of your posts, but they disappear in 24 hours. For a marketer, this is a non-starter. Can you imagine having to give a monthly report to your CMO on the effectiveness of Snapchat only to have lost the analytics? No we cannot.

In Sum

You can give me as many Snapchat presentations as you like. But to make it sound more marketing friendly than it is, the myth that’s been perpetuated is that marketers need to use it, because if they don’t they’re going to be left behind.
But the opposite is true. If you can’t justify an ROI or even measure the ROI, you shouldn’t be using it. Sure a case can be made for personal branding experts, I understand it has its story telling appeal to some audiences, but it’s not marketer friendly and thus, at least at this point, a waste of time. Far more return can be squeezed out of a YouTube, Facebook FB +2.70% or Twitter than can be extracted from Snapchat.

Stay away for now, and perhaps Snapchat will figure out a way to lure marketers back in. But big changes are needed first.


1 comment so far

  1. I have no intention of starting Snapchat. It's a platform meant for goofing off with your friends, and there is nothing wrong with that, but social media is time consuming enough for me. I'm not going to invest time into something like Snapchat.


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