How Brands are Starting to Use Snapchat

Photo-sharing app makes for innovative campaigns.

By Paul Macchia on August 20, 2013

The next big thing – it’s what brands are always searching for. Snapchat may be just the answer.

Snapchat is an app that lets friends send photos to recipients' mobile devices, and those photos disappear from the devices shortly after they are received. The company behind Snapchat was recently valued at $860 million after being around for fewer than two years.

Companies are still testing the waters on the platform. First to embrace Snapchat was 16 Handles, a popular New York City-based frozen yogurt shop. The store created a “Snappy New Year” campaign where users snapped a picture of themselves tasting 16 Handles yogurt and sent the image to the company Snapchat account in exchange for a discount on their orders. 16 Handles Community Manager Adam Britten told Information Space that exposure was the primary goal of this campaign, and as the first brand to partner with Snapchat, 16 Handles achieved that, with increased media and recognition in a competitive market.

Similarly, ChatSports, a personalized, curated sports website and app, ran a ticket giveaway contest on Snapchat. For the chance to win free tickets to a baseball game, fans had to get five friends to add Chat Sports and then have each of those friends send a unique snap with the fan’s username and the hashtag #gimmietickets. Snapchat’s young audience made it a perfect fit for the company, which targeted college-aged sports fans. 

Taco Bell took its Snapchat strategy one step farther by directly sending snaps to fans to announce its new product, the Beefy Crunch Burrito. Taco Bell got the word out about its Snapchat account by tweeting to its followers that the company would be making a secret announcement on the app the following day. This generated excitement on both platforms, while making Snapchat followers feel like brand VIPs when their Taco Bell snap arrived.

While most companies are still determining if a Snapchat campaign is best for them, one thing is for sure – with 5 million active users, Snapchat isn’t “disappearing” anytime soon.