Snapchat for Business: Everything You Need to Know for Snapchat Marketing in 2023

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Since bursting onto the social media scene in 2011, Snapchat has quickly emerged as an indispensable platform for brands looking to engage Generation Z audiences – and its popularity shows no signs of slowing.

In fact, Snapchat now counts over 750 million monthly active users globally, making it larger than platforms like Twitter. Critically, roughly 90% of these users are between the ages of 13 and 24 – a coveted demographic that presents major marketing potential.

But how exactly can your brand leverage Snapchat to drive meaningful business results in 2023? As an experienced social media director who has managed over $500k in Snapchat ad spend, I‘m going to walk you through everything you need to know.

Why Should Brands Care About Snapchat Marketing?

Given its impressive reach among younger users, Snapchat offers a prime avenue to target Gen Z. But beyond just user numbers, what unique opportunities does Snapchat present for marketers?

Authentic Storytelling Channels

Unlike one-dimensional platforms like Facebook or Instagram feed posts, Snapchat provides a diversity of formats for brands to craft compelling stories and flex their creativity.

For example, the ephemeral 24-hour Stories let you share exclusive "behind-the-scenes" content or even educate users on your product development process. Brands like BMW have successfully built anticipation for new car launches by documenting test drives and prototyping.

And with augmented reality Lenses, you can gamify branded experiences in a visually mesmerizing way. According to Snapchat internal data, almost 40% of users engage with a branded Lens for more than 20 seconds – which offers seriously sticky branding potential.

Between these immersive formats, brands have an awesome opportunity to form authentic connections by showing personality or even highlighting their mission and values.

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Granular Targeting Capabilities

Snapchat leverages extensive data from user activity and device settings to enable incredibly precise ad targeting. You can zero in on custom audiences tailored to interests, demographics, behaviors and more to ensure your ads resonate.

I recently ran a Snapchat campaign for a boutique fitness studio targeting women aged 20-30 with interests related to yoga, spin class and barre in a specific neighborhood. Out of 195,000 potential targets, we only needed to reach 1,200 people for the cost per lead goal – so you can imagine the hyper-targeted possibilities!

Closed Ecosystem Driving Attention

Unlike Facebook or Instagram feeds flooded with content, the more private shareability of Snaps between friends inherently captures attention in a less distractible environment.

In fact, Snapchat claims mobile attention spans peak while users are actively Snapchatting, indicating they‘re fully immersed.

This attentiveness also applies to Snapchat content from brands – according to internal research, over 75% of users focus all or most of their attention on video ads.

Compare this to ~50% attention rates for Facebook/Instagram video ads, and you can understand why marketers are flocking to Snapchat. The platform offers a truly unique opportunity to grab Gen Z‘s increasingly divided attention.

Now that you know why brands should prioritize Snapchat, let‘s get into the details of how to maximize results.

Setting Up Your Snapchat Business Presence

If you want to market to Snapchat‘s youthful users, the first step is creating your branded presence:

Step 1: Register Your Business Account

Head to Snapchat‘s Business Center and connect to either create a new account or switch an existing account over to business.

Step 2: Complete Your Profile

Flesh out key details – make sure to accurately describe your business and include a clear profile image. This info pops up when users view your content so it needs to align with branding.

Step 3: Set Up Ad Payment

You‘ll need to connect a payment method even if you aren‘t buying Snap Ads yet. Choose either credit card or PayPal.

And that‘s the basic setup! With these fields in place, you can now access Snapchat‘s suite of marketing products.

Maximizing Your Snapchat Marketing Impact

When it comes to posting content and running ads, I generally recommend brands structure their Snapchat efforts across 3 buckets:

1. Organic Content Marketing

Posting to your Snapchat Story and interacting via messaging/snaps offers a basic avenue to organically engage users. But simply repurposing content from other platforms won‘t cut it – you need to customize both messaging and formatting specifically for Snapchat‘s audience.

Some best practices here include:

  • Behind-the-Scenes Snaps: Give raw peeks at your office culture, production process, events etc.
  • Encourage Audience Participation: Crowdsource user-generated content with polls, prompts or challenges.
  • Share Exclusive Offers: Spotlight sales, deals and first-looks only available on Snapchat to incentivize followership.
  • Utilize Creative Tools: Make snaps more engaging with drawings, stickers, Bitmoji and contextually-relevant lenses.

Routinely assessing performance metrics like viewership and screenshot rates can indicate how well your organic content resonates.

2. Influencer Partnerships

Influencers hold serious sway over Snapchat‘s youth – in fact, 75% of users have made a purchase based on an influencer recommendation.

Identifying creators relevant to your brand and sponsoring Snapchat takeovers or affiliate content can expand your reach tremendously. And the authenticity followers associate with their favorite internet stars transfers surprisingly well to brand partnerships when executed thoughtfully.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Thoroughly vet potential partners to confirm audience/content alignment
  • Enable influencers to showcase products on their terms to maintain credibility
  • Compensate fairly based on typical engagement rates and audience size

I‘ve seen brands drive major awareness and conversions running influencer campaigns across channels – but Snapchat in particular presents exciting avenues given the highly engaged following top creators maintain.

3. Paid Advertising

While organic and influencer marketing establishes brand familiarity, you likely want to directly prompt site traffic or app installs too. This is where Snapchat‘s robust array of Snap Ad formats really shines.

I won‘t dive into every ad unit – but some of the most effective options include:

Snapchat Ad Types

  • Snap Ads: Video or image ads appearing between stories/content
  • Commercials: Skippable video ads when users start watching Stories
  • Collection Ads: Scrollable product catalogs people can browse and buy from
  • AR Lenses: Interactive branded lenses/filters activating user cameras

And that‘s just the start – you can also sponsor lenses, geofilters or publisher content within Discover.

The key is aligning ad formats to your objectives – are you focused on video completion rate? Lead gen via swipe-ups? Driving purchases? Identify success metrics per campaign so you can optimize.

Monitoring Performance and Driving Growth

Let‘s switch gears to discussing measuring Snapchat performance – critical for continually improving results.

Reporting capabilities are robust but fairly straightforward, accessible via Snapchat‘s Business Manager dashboard.

Key metrics provided across organic Snap content, influencer posts and paid ads include:

  • Impressions: # of times content is displayed
  • Reach: Total # of unique accounts that viewed content
  • View Duration: Average time spent viewing by audience
  • Completed video views
  • Swipe up rates
  • Website visits
  • Leverage UTM parameters applied to site/app links to unlock additional tracking around conversions.

I like to focus on overall reach expansion and view duration as leading indicators of audience interest, while monitoring conversions attributed to Snap directly.

Optimizing towards conversions may involve iterating creatives, adjusting targeting or simply reallocating budget towards high performing content. Snapchat‘s platform makes it fairly seamless to launch new ad sets and update campaigns.

For organic Snapchat presence, keep posting consistently, encourage community participation and refresh content style/formatting until you see views and sharing spike.

Predicting the Future of Snapchat Marketing

It‘s clear Snapchat is already a massively influential platform, but what lies ahead in 2023 and beyond?

Continued International Growth

While the USA currently represents Snapchat‘s largest market, its global adoption trajectory is steep – daily active users grew over 20% internationally last year.

As younger generations in emerging markets access mobile devices, they‘ll be joining Snapchat en masse to connect with friends. This presents amazing potential to extend brands‘ reach globally.

Evolving Towards Shopping/Ecommerce

Snapchat has been sharpening its ecommerce capabilities with integrations like Shopify and enhanced shopping ad formats, as social commerce booms industry-wide.

Over 50% of Snapchat users claim they want to shop directly via platforms instead of retailer websites in the future.

I expect enhanced in-app shopping experiences enabling everything from product discovery to checkout will arrive soon, making impulse, social-driven purchases incredibly frictionless.

Closing Thoughts

At the end of the day, Snapchat delivers brands direct access to the hearts, minds and wallets of young consumers – a privilege that shouldn‘t be taken lightly in a world of infinite digital distraction.

Commit to nurturing authentic connections on Snapchat, speaking to Gen Z on their terms, and you‘ll be rewarded with devoted brand advocates for life.

I hope this comprehensive guide has illuminated all that‘s possible with Snapchat marketing! Feel free to reach out on Twitter with any other questions.

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