Snapchat: The Ephemeral Video Marketing Revolution

adminDigital, Social Media

We’re halfway through the year, and there’s no doubt that when it comes to Social Media, Video is kicking butt. Ephemeral content is where it’s at, and there are numbers to prove it. This phenomenon isn’t necessarily a surprise (we all knew it was coming), but the degree to which video’s popularity is increasing is certainly worth highlighting, and it all comes down to the behavioural habits of social media consumption (an ever-fascinating enigma).

Basically, we see these numbers, we think they’re awesome, but we want to know WHY goshdarnit!

Moments Vs. Memories

We’ve said it before– social media users are an incredibly discerning bunch. Gone are the days when your channels were a hub for whatever hodge-podge you wanted to share with your personal contacts. Users understand that platforms have become literally that– a stage for their content to be seen by the world, so many are capitalizing on the marketing power of ephemeral video to translate moments versus capturing memories; social media users want to feel like they are living a lifestyle or partaking in an epic behind-the-scenes moment as opposed to looking at a static image of a memory that they weren’t a part of.

This aspect of the culture of consumption can be attributed to Snapchat’s massive popularity, with the kicker being that users can control the privacy of what they share with whom they share it, and on the same token, can receive messaging from brands and public figures in their own personalized space.

With a growing rate of 56% annually (the fastest growing messaging app), and 100 million daily active users in 2015, Snapchat is the leader in this type of short-form video marketing.

Snapchat capitalizes on the ‘moment’ movement with their ‘story’ feature, which allows users to create and witness a narrative that lives for 24 hours only. Tapping into the psychology behind instant expression and instant-gratification, storytelling, and living in the moment, the story feature is a powerful tool for marketers to create a brand narrative that is targeted specifically to a niche demographic (namely the 71% of 18-25 year olds that are the most active on snapchat).

As marketers well versed in the power of evergreen content (which is not to be disregarded!), it may seem counter-intuitive that the type of content that is resonating most with social media users is doing so because of its ephemeral nature…

But the jist of it is, younger generations are more savvy with shorter attention spans, so it’s more effective to capture their full attention with stimulating content for a shorter period of time. This is where Snapchat is on the money (like, literally–it’s a 15 billion dollar company).

Privacy and Popularity

We keep reiterating ourselves, but social media users truly are a discerning bunch– particularly the 18-25 year old Snapchatters (Snappers? Snapees?) who have been socialized in the digital age. Because of this, users are aware of the permanent nature of their content, and Snapchat takes the stress out of the worry that potential opportunities could be hindered by social media mishaps.

Not only that, but the app is designed so that users can’t ‘like’ or leave comments, and users are notified when someone takes a screenshot of their content; so, a dimension of judgement is left out and replaced with a liberation from the dreaded engagement quota.

But that’s not to say that brands can’t utilize snapchat to solicit engagement from their users, and believe us, they do.

Snapchat recently updated their popular geo-filters by allowing businesses to sponsor filters, so users would have the option of branding their snap with a branded image or logo. The first company to do this was McDonald’s, who capitalized on the opportunity with the use of their iconic cheeseburger and fries–and user’s were lovin’ it (hey, it’s a CHEESEburger after all).


Interaction over Reaction

Ephemeral video and (particularly Snapchat), places the emphasis on the interactive nature of the content. While the objectives of Instagram and Facebook have progressively become to elicit tangible reactions from users (likes, comments, clicks), Video does something different, and Snapchat does it even more differently.

GrubHub solicits engagement by asking followers to doodle and snap back to them.

GrubHub solicits engagement by asking followers to doodle and snap back to them.

With Snapchat, you have an aspect of exclusivity and personalisation that makes connection with consumers seem more authentic than with traditional advertising. Simply because of the design of the platform, audiences feel like they are controlling when, where, and how they see marketed content, and it lasts for a short yet impactful time.

Fashion mogul Free People offers exclusive behind-the-scenes looks to followers.

Fashion mogul Free People offers exclusive behind-the-scenes looks to followers.

With the demographic that are heavily active on Snapchat, this is much more appealing than traditional marketing, which aims to create content that lasts long and is EVERYWHERE. In the words of the infamous viral superstar Sweet Brown, ‘ain’t nobody got time for that!’

As social media is evolving, so too are consumption patterns of it’s users. Ephemeral video is a vehicle for impactful, efficient messaging that resonates with the most active generation of users. While Snapchat isn’t the only platform that has capitalized on the power of video content (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the oh, so revolutionary Vine are all optimized for video), they certainly are leading the pack.

For now.

With live-streaming apps such as Periscope and Meerkat on the rise, we look forward to seeing how social media culture adapts, and you can bet we’ll be here to share our findings along the way.

Until then, Happy Snapping, Snapheads.

Check out this Tutorial Video by the glorious Sunny Lenarduzzi for some insight into the workings of Snapchat:

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