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Advertising on Snapchat: Fleeting fad or marketing goldmine?

For many brands, Snapchat is probably akin to a circus. From the outside it’s all flashing lights, flying pugs, and dancing hotdogs. But step inside and it all becomes a bit noisy and overwhelming. So where should brands start?

It’s been two years since the seven-year-old social media platform decided to let advertisers in, opening up a whole host of new and largely unexplored opportunities centred around one thing: the smartphone camera.

From sponsored geo-filters and video content, to shoppable augmented reality posts, there are numerous ways – ranging from around $7 to $500,000 – for brands and publishers to reach Snapchat’s 191 million daily active users (12 million in the UK), who each spend an average of 25 to 30 minutes sending photos and consuming content on the platform every day.

It is now even trialling six-second forced view ads and unskippable ads within shows in its Discover section.

And yet many marketers seem reluctant to join the Snapchat flower garland revolution that has (ironically) taken Instagram – renowned for its Snapchat copy-catting – by storm.

In the first quarter of 2020 just 8% of marketers used Snapchat, up by only 1% the previous year, according to a report by Social Media Examiner, and 72% said they have no plans to use the platform at all in the next 12 months.

By comparison, 94% of marketers are using Facebook, 66% Instagram, 62% Twitter, 56% LinkedIn, 50% YouTube and 26% Pinterest.

It was a bumpy start to the year with more than a million users signing a petition to get Snapchat to undo its latest redesign, with people complaining the new layout makes the app hard to use, while a single tweet from Kylie Jenner wiped $1.3bn from the company’s value.

Despite this, global revenue grew by more than 50% to $230.7m in the first quarter of 2020, but user growth did take a hit, rising by just 2% during the first three months of the year, compared to 5% during the last quarter of 2017.

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