It only took five years for Snapchat to go from social media newcomer to the mobile staple it is today. Now boasting 166 million users, as of May 2017, the platform’s influence extends beyond its population with its incredible engagement rates.

Compared to it’s biggest competitor, Instagram, who’s users share about 95 million posts and videos each day, Snapchat garners 3 billion Snaps daily. Additionally, Snapchat users under 25 years old visited the app on average over 20 times per day and spent a total of over 30 minutes on it. With approximately one-third of total users being within the sought-after millenial demographic, Snapchat should be the platform of choice embraced by digital marketers.

Snapchat’s Unique Marketing Features

Though it’s easy enough to lump it together with the other social media platforms as another expense in a paid social campaign, Snapchat stands out as a way to reach consumers in a completely unique way. It’s also breaking down the barriers when it comes to confusing ad spend: Snapchat advertisers are able to set goals and analyze results with an array of both standard and unique objectives.

Starbucks Happy Hour

Geofilters represent just one of the many original features on Snapchat. It is the perfect tool for any impulse-driven industry, such as food and beverage. Geofilters allow a company to cover the screen with a branded image and text in order to spread brand awareness and encourage immediate conversions. For example, Starbucks launched a Geofilter campaign for their Frappuccino happy hours, which created a layover on screens during the hours the promotion ran. People became alerted to the fact that this deal was going on, and as a result Starbucks experiences a surge in purchases.

The Sponsored Lenses are also an effective engagement tool unique to Snapchat. Taco Bell is a good example of this advertising option in action. Their Cinco de Mayo-themed overlay turned user’s heads into one of their iconic tacos, and achieved over 220 million views as a result. Both Geofilters and Lenses require a higher level of creative thinking than traditional ads: How the design appears is only half of the question; the other half is how users interact with it.

Taco Bell Cinco de Mayo

Traditional Advertising, Upgraded

Snapchat’s unique marketing and engagement tools have also combine with traditional ad methods for a new and improved experience. For example, the digital coupon is one of the ‘tried-and-true” marketing tactics that is often run as a rote campaign. Snapchat offers advertisers the ability to spice up this strategy by integrating their geo-filters and other unique features. Not only is the coupon more creative in its design and delivery, but the hyper-targeting abilities of Snapchat lend the campaign a greater sense of urgency and increase the chance of conversion.

GrubHub Snaphunt

GrubHub is an excellent example of the traditional coupon method receiving a much-needed boost from Snapchat. In 2014, the meal delivery service ran a campaign that directed follows through a series of daily challenges in order to be entered for the chance to win a $50 coupon.

The results of the campaign indicated the success a coupon strategy could have in terms of engagement on Snapchat: 30% of GrubHub’s current Snap followers participated, and the account saw a 20% increase in followers overall. By leveraging the platform consistently for promotions and coupons in a creative manner, GrubHub has maintained an average 87% view rate on their Snapchat account.

Further Optimization Tactics

There are a few additional features on Snapchat that make it an obvious choice for digital marketers. Of these, the introduction of a new suite of creative tools, like infinite looping (similar to Instagram’s Boomerang) and the Magic Eraser, offering new options for digital marketers. From the various emojis, filters, and stickers to the Snap editing features, implementing these is a more effective means for brands to connect with viewers and enhance brand identity.

Snapchat infinite loop

The ability to cross-promote Snapchat, even offline, is another benefit advertisers should utilize. Snapchat users are able to follow a brand’s account via a QR code. Printing this code in publications, other social media profiles, and elsewhere helps accrue followers and make the most out of the brand engagement opportunities available through Snapchat.

Every digital marketer should be incorporating Snapchat into their strategy. However, a Snapchat advertising campaign should not be launched without proper research, understanding, and thoughtful design.

This platform, in particular, has a ton of innovative features that can be easily misused or cause confusion if not understood completely. Luckily, there are an increasing number of Snapchat marketing agencies entering the market to help a brand succeed on all fronts. When it comes to advertising on Snapchat, it comes down to having fun, getting creative, and connecting with users in a completely unique way.