By: Stacy Acquista
If you are subscribed to any marketing trends newsletter, you may have noticed Snapchat popping up in all of your subject lines within the past few months as the next big thing. Snapchat is currently the fastest growing social network for American millennials, with 60% of 13-to-38-year-olds having an account (source: Forbes, Jan. 2016). As the largest generation in our history is starting to require healthcare services for themselves and their families, your hospitals have the opportunity to engage consumers in a platform where 100 million active users spend an average of 30 minutes per day (source: Business Insider, March 2016). Millennials are now representing the largest population with purchasing and healthcare decision power for multiple generations within their households. We need to be part of the conversation within this growing platform where a captive audience lives daily.
What is Snapchat?
Snapchat is a popular mobile messaging application that allows users to share photos, videos, texts, chats and drawings with their friends and followers for 24 hours of viewing. After that time period, the photos and videos automatically erase. Additionally, users can choose to follow their favorite brands’ interactive channels. Although Snapchat was originally a trendy application geared toward teenagers, the recently added features have propelled the platform into a much broader space with advertising potential. Established brands including General Electric, Gatorade and the New York Times are using Snapchat branded channels and filters to connect with their customers with very low-cost, highly personalized content.
Below is a breakdown of the six main features for Snapchat users within the application:
Snaps can be a photo or video sent in a message to another user that can be viewed or played for up to 10 seconds. Photos and videos can be viewed multiple times over the 24-hour period, with the user being notified each time someone views their snap or if a screenshot is taken.
By swiping to the right of a photo or video, you can add custom filters to enhance your snap including location, temperature and speed filters. There are many advertising opportunities within the geofilter function for brands:
On the more popular spectrum, Snapchat utilizes facial recognition software filters to brand your face with a superimposed digital image. Animations are activated with mouth or eye movement, such as the popular rainbow mouth and dog ears samples seen below.
One of the newest features is an on-demand geofilter, which allows a brand to geo-target a group of Snapchat users within a specific location for a set amount of time for a minimal cost. For example, if your hospital is hosting an anniversary celebration, you can create a customized geofilter and encourage attendees to share it on social media for their friends and families to view. Within this feature, brands are providing a personalized experience that can be shared with multiple users in a visually stimulating exhibit that is actively on the user’s phone and inside the third most used application (Snapchat, 2014).
The most expensive option for brands is to own a sponsored filter, ranging in $500,000-$700,000 category depending on the reach. This temporary branded filter is featured as the first of the lens options and is often used for special events such as movie premiers and product launches. This can be customized by time period and location similarly to an on-demand filter, but with a higher reach due to the placement within the lens category. Some examples of the most popular branded placements are below.
Users can send chat messages to specific users similarly to other chat applications.
This function allow users to piece together a collection of photos and videos strung together to form a story visible for 24 hours.
These are 20 dedicated channels for major media publications who have an agreement with Snapchat to publish a daily Discovery Story. Major brands include Buzzfeed, ESPN, Food Network, CNN and Mashable. Below is a chart highlighting the reach and success of each channel (source: Variety.com, 2016):
This feature allows the Snapchat team to string together snaps from individual users into one long storied snap. It is usually focused on special events and holidays around the world.
Here are some quick facts and statistics to know about Snapchat:
- Founded in 2011 and headquartered in San Francisco, CA
- There are 200 million users total on Snapchat
- There are 100 million active users daily
- More than 20,000 photos are shared every second
- 70% of Snapchat users are female
- 60% of smartphone users ages 13 to 24 are on Snapchat
- User spend an average of 25-30 minutes daily on the app
- Snapchat reaches 41% of all U.S. 18 to 34-year olds vs. 6% via TV networks
- Facebook has attempted to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion in the past, but was declined
- Snapchat is currently valued at $18 billion
(Sources: Omnicoreagency.com, Business Insider, Hubspot, Wall Street Journal)
Snapchat can be a powerful communication tool for a brand that easily integrates with other existing social platforms. By creating meaningful visual content, brands can maintain engagement and drive purchasing decisions. The possibilities for hospitals creating engaging content are endless. Initial applications can include:
- Patient testimonials
- Physician Q&A
- Day in the life of a nurse or physician
- A custom geofilter for special events including hospital week and healthcare observances
- Virtual tours of floors and units
- Sneak peeks at grand openings and new programs
- Behind the scenes and meet the staff footage
Measuring the Return
The most powerful from of marketing is word of mouth. That same word of mouth has extended itself beyond family and friend circles and into the world of social media for everyone to read. More than 40% of consumers use social media to help manage their health (source: Mediabistro) with 41% of people citing social media affecting their choice for a doctor or hospital (source: Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group).
But is Snapchat a valuable use of your limited resources and a viable social platform to provide a return on your investment? Snapchat provides usage data and demographic information regarding views and engagement. Furthermore, the campaign’s call to action can affect how brands can continue the conversation with the user on other platforms including YouTube videos, Facebook and websites.
Snapchat has recently partnered with Oracle to provide more concrete ROI data to compete with other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. The company has also partnered with Google’s double-click to verify ad viewing and Moat to measure video ads. For brands who have tested the waters with Snapchat, 92% of ads for consumer packaged goods drove higher in-store sales (source: Advertising Age, June 2016).
The key measure of success with any campaign is to monitor a movement in consumer awareness, patient calls and patient volumes. With a tailored campaign, Snapchat is the most digitally interactive application to connect brands to its users. Similarly to other popular social media platforms, there are those brands who are at the forefront and those that risk falling behind. Our hospitals need to be present where users are looking for engagement and to exhibit technological sophistication in everything we do, including communication and advertising.
The first step before venturing into the branding world of Snapchat is to create your own account and start exploring. Become familiar with the functionality and navigation of the platform. Discover what content would be most appealing from the user’s experience and how you can incorporate this tactic into your marketing campaigns.
To learn Snapchat basics including setting up an account, visit Everyone Social’s page: http://www.everyonesocial.com/blog/your-definitive-guide-to-snapchat?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=email_this&utm_source=email