Snapchat turns fleeting content into real-time marketing

Remember when Facebook was a new, disruptive platform just for college kids? Fast-forward to 2013, where the tech industry focus has shifted to mobile. Those who are noticed are the innovative, disruptive and, sometimes exclusive mobile applications. It seems like apps must hold intrigue, interest, guarantee continued usage, and ultimately build a model that leads to monetization. All apps are in different stages of their journeys, but I believe that those offering exclusivity build intrigue and increase adoption.

One App doing that now is Snapchat, which allows you to send disappearing photos or videos (of very limited time) to friends. Once you view the photo or video, you have at most 10 seconds to react. For those 10 seconds, you are a part of the club.

It’s growing at an impressive and exponential rate- between December 2012 and April 2013 photos shared daily via Snapchat rose 200% from around 50 million to 150 million.  (Business Insider)  This rise in interest and the exclusivity factor lead us all to wonder, how can and should brands explore using Snapchat?

Opportunity for brands?

There is immense opportunity for brands as the rise of mobile usage almost guarantees a connection to drive both online and in-store traffic. (According to comScore, last year smartphone penetration crossed 50 percent for the first time, led by Android phones. People spend 63 percent of their time online on desktop computers and 37 percent on mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, according to comScore.” Read more here.)

A few ways to think about how to implement using Snapchat are:

  1. Introducing or re-introducing products organically and create limited time rebates, discounts, or give a freebies (of a new product) with creative “Snappable” content. Taco Bell “Snapchatted” fans a picture announcing their Beefy Crunch Burrito. This was a great way to build deeper connection with fans by offering them exclusive content in a new and unusual way.
  2. Applying a mobile lens through the whole purchase cycle – from using a “snap” to provide a code for access to an exclusive mobile website to “snapping” a discount code for mobile purchase. Because Snapchat images and videos are ephemeral, the content is intrinsically more valuable.16 Handles, a frozen yogurt shop in NYC used Snapchat in a successful NYC-based  promotion. They asked consumers to send a picture of their purchases, and for that their social currency they provided a discount coupon that could be used during the point of sale. These discounts ranged from 15% to 100%, depending on the snap. In general the promotion was well received by the millennial fan base, as they were surprised they could interact with a brand through Snapchat, and were exclusively sent this discount (the majority of fans were not.)

What’s the risk?

One publicized concern about Snapchat is from parents who are concerned that Snapchat can be an outlet for sharing sexually explicit content. Teens aren’t viewing this in the same light, and instead use it to interact with their parents in hopes of proving them wrong and engaging in a personalized one-to-one way.

While privacy settings haven’t been formally created, Snapchat should explore this option, especially as they look to move into a monetized model with brands.

Whether or not you are a Snapchat fan, you can’t deny its selective advantage. As the CEO recently said on Mashable, “delete is the new default,” so let’s see how Snapchat capitalizes on their exclusive content and popularity among fans in the coming months.

QR Code Best Practices for Gov 2.0


In recent weeks, many of our government clients have been asking if they should incorporate QR codes into their educational materials. This is great news as QR codes can be an excellent tool for connect citizens to government services and educational information while they are on the go.  However, as with all new communication vehicles it is important to take a few things into consideration before deciding if QR codes are right for your agency.  Continue reading QR Code Best Practices for Gov 2.0

Mobile Phones: The New Wallet

Your mobile phone probably hasn’t replaced your wallet yet, but it could in the next few years. Several retailers have tested or implemented in-store mobile payment systems, including Starbucks, which launched its mobile payment program at stores nationwide in January 2011. Using the Starbucks Card Mobile App, customers can pay for purchases with their BlackBerry, iPhone, or iPod Touch by scanning the on-screen barcode at the point of sale.

Starbucks Card Mobile App

Beyond mobile applications, advancements in near field communication (NFC) the wireless technology that connects devices over a short range of a few centimeters will drive adoption of in-store mobile payment systems.

NFC isn’t new, but it has recently created a lot of buzz stateside and companies are getting behind it. The NFC Forum recently welcomed 32 new members, including Google. Among the industry association’s highest level of members are Microsoft, Visa, MasterCard, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony.

Continue reading Mobile Phones: The New Wallet

Design Considerations For Mobile Sites

Nielsen released a report last week detailing the consumer market share of smartphone manufacturers in the US. Android, iOS, and Blackberry lead the pack with 29%, 27% and 27% share respectively. The remaining share was split between Windows Phone 7, Symbian, and HP/Palm WebOS devices.

What’s clear about these results is that the fight between the phone manufacturers is tough, and consumers are the winners with a wealth of devices to choose from. And they are choosing, with an estimated 40 million smartphone users in February of 2010, and an expected 80 million users sometime this year.

While majority of the excitement in the mobile marketplace generally surrounds native apps, mobile sites are a cost-effective standard for any brand hoping to reach potential consumers. Here are a few design and development considerations to take when stating a mobile site project.

Continue reading Design Considerations For Mobile Sites