Will Snapchat Stories
Give Brands A Boost?

With its fast-growing user base, disappearing messages, and sext-friendly reputation, Snapchat has been a bit of a mystery for brand marketers. But they just added a nice feature that’s getting marketers excited (no, not in that way) for the future. It’s called Snapchat Stories, and it enables users to string together a collection of photos and videos into longer-form Snaps that last for 24 hours. Check out the video preview:

For brand marketers, this raises new possibilities, yet some questions still remain. What use is an app whose core feature is that it makes whatever you do on it disappear? And how do you sell your efforts to senior management when Snapchat engagement statistics don’t really exist?

Still, some brands have found ways to leverage the platform. Rebecca Minkoff used the medium to preview its collection during fashion week. And 16 Handles, a New York City yogurt shop, rewarded users with coupons when they snapped photos of themselves eating the chain’s fro-yo.

Snapchat’s notoriously fratty founders anticipate even more innovative use cases — and they better, since they need to get brands involved to justify the company’s $860 million valuation. This week, experiments with a “click-to-buy” button were discovered. And in the spring, they told The New York Times that they “envision a future where the company could partner with brands or advertisers that want to show certain Snapchat users a glimpse of a new device, a preview of a new movie or a sneak peek of an upcoming line of clothing.” Snapchat Stories seem to broaden the possibilities of such tactics.

But marketers may still ask themselves: “Isn’t Snapchat a sexting app?” According to data from Nielsen, Snapchat processes 350 million photos a day (not far behind Twitter’s 500 million posts per day). Users are snapping all kinds of fun stuff. While some of that is of the lewd variety, much of it is not.

It’s also worth remembering that social networks always evolve: “the facebook” was originally Facemash, a site where users crudely voted whether a photo was “Hot or Not”; MySpace grew in popularity in part because it was where angsty teens went to find dates; and in its original form, Twitter had no engagement features whatsoever like reply, mention, or retweet.

Ultimately, each brand will need to be honest with itself about whether Snapchat is right for them, though it certainly raises interesting possibilities for brands willing to take risks. For example, on Facebook Poke, a service nearly identical to Snapchat, Delta Lingerie sent out a 10-second video of a model trying on an outfit with great success.

Now, it’s time to wait and see what mainstream brands try out. It’s probably only a matter of time before Weiden and Old Spice get Mustafa snapping.

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Image via Helga Esteb /

Image by Helga Esteb /
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