Snapchat is pushing marketers to make ads that look like they were made on Snapchat

PepsiSnapAd

A recent Snap Ad by Pepsi

With a flurry of recent updates to its ad products, Snapchat is inviting marketers of all sizes to buy ads on the social app. But the company still seems intent on keeping its sanctity intact.In other words, despite opening up its doors to the ad masses, it still wants Snapchat to look like Snapchat.

Come July, advertisers will have access to a slick new creative tool called Snapchat Publisher, which will let them create ads in less than two minutes. But before the tool is widely rolled out, Snapchat seems to be doing some quality-control.

The company has been circulating updated specifics and guidelines that marketers are encouraged to keep in mind while creating Snap ads, multiple sources told Business Insider. The updated “Creative Guidelines & Specs” deck for Snap ads started making the rounds earlier this month , when the platform announced a series of new ad efforts, including a new Ad Manager tool and a Certified Partners program, apart from the Publisher tool.

“The general theme on Snapchat has been to use all the tools at our disposal to create low-fi ads instead of polished ones,” an agency media buyer, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “But we’ve been getting more of those directives the past few weeks.”

“They’ve definitely been pushing for content that feels native to the platform,” said Jill Sherman, svp of social media at DigitasLBi. “They’ve always emphasized content that feels as though it was created on the app itself, instead of being highly produced.”

Snapchat pioneered the vertical video format, and the new Publisher tool makes it even easier for marketers to adopt it. It can import existing brand assets, trim horizontal videos for the vertical format and also offers Snap-provided ad templates.

Since Snapchat is throwing open the ad floodgates, it makes sense that it would remind marketers of the guidelines for Snap Ads.

“Not all creative agency partners are used to creating videos just for platform,” said Sherwin Su, associate social director at digital agency Essence.

But Snapchat has tweaked some of these best practices, too. There are two key differences in the most recent set of guidelines put forward by the company, pointed out Su, associate social director at digital agency Essence.

“Brands are no longer limited to videos, the latest update allows more formats in snap ads including still images, gifs, cinemagraphs and slideshows,” he said. “And sound is now optional.”

According to another anonymous agency social lead, Snapchat is continuing to do creative tests, even encouraging marketers to incorporate organic native tools on the platform like bitmojis and stickers. While it currently allows only emojis and text graphics, it restricts the inclusion of Snapchat native creative tools in ads. That might change moving forward, said the source.

Here are some key guidelines for creating Snap Ads posted by the company:

  • The ads must be full screen and vertically formatted, and feature visual branding
  • Strong and relevant call-to-action for Snap Ads with attachments are encouraged
  • No letterboxing/borders of any kind, static collages that fill the screen for the entirety of the ad, copy-heavy ads or the use of Snapcodes or Snapchat usernames
  • No imitation of Snapchat native creative tools and UI features like static doodles, stickers, Bitmoji
  • For Snap ads that have web view attachments, no URLs with auto-playing video or audio, or Facebook, Instagram or Twitter URLs

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Strategies for using Story features on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook

Tell your story: Strategies for using Story features on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook.

It’s no secret that the competition between social media apps is reaching a fever pitch. Last summer, Instagram stepped into Snapchat’s territory by creating a Story feature on their app – a blatant copy of Snapchat’s core feature. This past month, Facebook also introduced Stories to its app. Understandably, Snapchat isn’t happy.

However, for social media marketers, this could be great news. After all, Snapchat is geared towards a young demographic that doesn’t fit within many brands’ marketing strategies. Facebook and Instagram, on the other hand, are popular with a wider range of users. Now, more marketers have reason to get in on the Story-telling action.

If you’re unfamiliar with Stories, in a nutshell, they allow you to create a sequence of pictures and short videos for your followers’ viewing pleasure. The catch? Stories disappear after 24 hours.

While the concept behind Stories is simple, we’ve listed a few crucial tips to help you get started. If you’re looking to experiment with Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook’s Story features, here are a few tips for doing so the right way.

Tips for using social media Story features:

  1. Tell a story. Stories are a great way to set up a narrative for your brand. What events are you attending? What’s your company’s day-to-day like? By giving your followers a glimpse behind-the-scenes, you can humanize your brand and show off your social media skills.

  1. Be in the moment. Timing is key when it comes to Story features. Your content doesn’t have to be airbrushed and perfectly curated; on-the-fly posts are a major component of the Story experience. As long as your posts are on-brand, you should be able to avoid social media fails.

  1. “Fun” is the operative word. Having a sense of humour is so important for creating a good Story. After all, Snapchat’s most popular features are its goofy facial recognition lenses and location-based geofilters – and Facebook has followed suit. These filters change every few days; there’s always new inspiration available. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

  1. Know that Snapchat isn’t for everybody. If the concept of off-the-cuff, light-hearted content truly clashes with your brand’s values, then Snapchat might not be the best fit. Not every platform works for every brand. The most important thing to keep in mind is your target audience – if they prefer Facebook or Instagram, then it’s best to post your stories on those apps instead.

Story features Facebook

via Social Media Examiner

Finally, here’s a bonus tip for Snapchat users: Promote your Snapchat account on your other social profiles. Searching for users on Snapchat isn’t as simple or intuitive as it is on other social media apps, and this can impact your follower count. Luckily, Snapchat is perfecting its search bar to make it easier for users to find Stories, though this feature is currently only available in select cities. For the time being, try promoting your Snapchat account on your other social platforms to attract followers.

And there you have it! If you’re looking to have fun and get creative with social media, Stories – via whichever platform you choose – provide endless opportunities to do so. Keep our Story tips mind as you embark on this new leg of your social media journey!

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Using Snapchat to Boost Your Marketing.

With a claim to over 6 billion video views per day, and a user base composed largely of the influential younger generations currently leading the way in digital content consumption, there’s one outlet definitely worth considering: Snapchat.

Marketing through social media channels is very much a priority, these days. But with so many platforms to choose from – and new networks seeming to spring up every day – it can be a challenge to manage your presence on all of them, and to know which ones are most worth concentrating on.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a video and image sharing social platform, with more of an informal aspect to what’s posted and shared than you might find in other social networks. Content needs to be polished and good, but there’s less emphasis on professionally posed and Photoshopped promotional imagery, and more on pictures and video streams that tell a story about your brand.

Selfies

You present your content on Snapchat as stories: a string of images used to create a video narrative. There are tools on the platform for adding text, emoji, filters, music, and so on.

Stories on Snapchat have a 24-hour lifespan, so you’ll need to structure your messages with this limitation in mind. In fact, it’s an opportunity to create continuing lines of dialogue that spread your message over a length of time without it becoming a static thing. The onus is on you, to keep your story fresh, and updated.

There are facilities for creating “communities” as well, based on special interests, specific topics, or brands. Here are some suggestions and tips, for getting the most out of your promotional experience on Snapchat.

Creating Awareness

Having set up your account, you should first make sure that there are direction markers leading potential customers or community members to your Snapchat presence, from other social media outlets. For example, you might include your Snapchat name in your profile on Twitter, or create a custom set of images or a Facebook tab promoting your Snapchat account.

And in your content on Snapchat, don’t forget to include branding elements like your logo or colour scheme on each snap. This will provide a consistent and characteristic look, and create associations in the minds of your viewers with your organisation or brand.

A Peek Behind the Curtain

Rather than the “glossy magazine cover” perspective, Snapchat offers organisations a medium to present viewers with a look at how they operate behind the scenes – either showing how products and services are created and promoted, or offering a more personal view of how the company operates, day to day.

Theatre Curtain

This kind of visual story can be very appealing to outsiders, who gain a sense of inclusion within the workings and personality of a company or brand.

Exclusive Offers

Another way of appealing to potential or existing customers is by using Snapchat to offer perks, exclusive access to new products or services, or views of your inventory and working methods that they wouldn’t expect to see on other channels.

Offers could be validated (for example) by appending a special code to each snap, and redeemed by a user’s sending back a selfie or video clip, also bearing that special code.

Giveaways and Special Deals

Everyone loves a freebie, and using Snapchat is ideal for sending out discount codes, offering promotional content, and staging competitions or scavenger hunts.

Free sign

As well as the extension in your reach that user involvement in your promo or contest will bring, there’s also the increased interaction with your customer base, especially if it’s made possible by giveaway or contest rules requiring the entrants to confirm their involvement in the promotion by sending something back.

Live Streaming

If you’re hosting a special event, like a trade exhibition, webinar, or company retreat, by using Snapchat, you can give your community and followers an inside look at events as they occur. You should tailor your content (and the people who post it) to present a variety of views into your events. This approach can breathe added life into even the dullest-sounding of events, and the content can also be targeted at your preferred customer base or demographic.

Special Guest Hosts

Snapchat takeovers are guest posts (snaps and stories), which allow companies to surrender their speaking voice for the day to a different narrator. This could be a celebrity, a representative of various divisions in your organisation, a thought leader in your industry, or market influencers, in general.

The presence of a high (or higher) profile storyteller can bring with it the added support of their existing fan or user base, and greatly increase the exposure of your brand. Takeovers hosted by people with greater budgets or resources than yours may also bring a higher level of visual narrative to your account.

Have a Two-Way Conversation

As with all social media channels, engagement and interaction are key elements, and Snapchat is no exception. Whenever you can, involve your followers in the conversation.

Speech bubbles and people

Send out requests for selfies or snaps that show your products or services in use. Ask your followers to make short videos giving their views on your brand. Create ongoing stories whose narratives depend on the feedback you receive from your followers. And so on.

And don’t forget to thank people who respond to your calls for content and feedback . Try to reward them for their participation, in some way, as well.

With 100 million daily active users, Snapchat is an emerging force on the social media front. If you’re a marketer, it’s one you really can’t ignore.

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