The Business Case for Snapchat: Disappearing Content in a Content Marketing World

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Snapchat-LogoLove it or hate it, Snapchat is a bit of a big deal.

Having turned down acquisitions for a reported $3 billion (from Facebook) and yes, even $4 billion (Google), Snapchat is the ephemeral juggernaut of the social world. While the total number of users isn’t officially disclosed, they were reported at 30 million in Fall, 2013, with over 400 million snaps per day. That’s an active bunch.

Considering the average user age is 13-23, this is exactly where marketers want to be, in connecting with users while they are young. A few brands have already jumped in, Taco Bell (a frequent innovator) and sports teams such as the New Orleans Saints and (very recently) Pittsburgh Penguins come to mind.

Like Instagram, Snapchat is a mobile only platform (though there are Instagram web profiles). The kicker with Snapchat is, of course, that the content has a limited life span. It’s gone either after you view it, or with Snapchat Stories, lasts for 24 hours. It’s very plain to see that Snapchat works as it solves a very real problem of life in the “share everything” age we are in – the content disappears. What happens on Snapchat, stays on Snapchat. It’s the Las Vegas of social networks. It’s the exact opposite of a Facebook Timeline.

If you’re a marketer – why then, would you want to be using Snapchat? What’s the value in sharing content that disappears in a Content Marketing. Why wouldn’t you use something you can “keep” like a Vine or Instagram video? Why would we make content that we’re going to allow to disappear?

The answer is because you may find new users there. They may follow you, and then they may follow you on your other platforms as well.

The other factor here is something that I think we should use a reminder as marketers. Embrace it. Change is constant. Remember that social marketing can be fun. Ephemeral content still has value and is an interesting concept. Things don’t always work out as planned (remember when you couldn’t wait to build your G+ Brand Page?). The ephemeral reality of Snapchat is that it may lead you to new followers. And in turn, new customers. Or maybe not. But you’ll probably learn something about your marketing and your market at the very least.

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