4 reasons why every (serious) Generation Z marketer must take Snapchat very seriously



Timothy Armoo from Fanbytes will be taking to the YMS stage sharing an honest account of the bullshit that millennial marketers tell themselves. Here he gives his views on all things Snapchat.



I guess I’m unique to most marketers. I’m 22 and thus straddle the two lives of being on the cusp of the much sought after Generation Z and also helping brands engage with that audience on Snapchat through my company Fanbytes. I’ve seen Snapchat grow from strength to strength and I’m an avid user and also been in long conversations with marketers about their approach towards it.  

During these long conversations, I’ve seen brands who’ve jumped in and benefited greatly driving 6 figures in sales, millions of people to their movie trailers and becoming trending apps in the app store. I’ve also seen brands who have hesitated, standing on the proverbial edge of the pool with a tonne of excuses about why they are not ready to jump. Meanwhile, their competitors have jumped and are swimming to Generation Z glory.

This blog post is for two types of people -  those on the edge and pondering whether to jump and those who haven’t even gotten to the pool yet.  Here are 4 reasons why given my insights and experience that any serious marketer targeting Generation Z has to dive into Snapchat pool.

Attention, Attention, Attention.

One of the key things I hear marketers talk about is the lack of the public API. Snap has recently made some progress in that department opening up their API further to brands.  I think however that if this is your mindset as a marketer, that you need a full-blown analytics before jumping into a platform, you’ve already lost.

Analytics doesn’t drive results, do you know what does? Attention!

Snapchat owns the attention of generation Z. In their recent S1 filing, it was revealed that in the sub 25 audience, people logged into Snapchat 20 times a day and spent 30 minutes each day. For an app used to send and watch 10-second clips of other people, that’s an insane amount of engagement and attention. As a marketer,  the number one rule of marketing is this- attention = results. If you can get people’s attention, you can get them to purchase, download, subscribe to whatever you want. The excuse marketers use is the lack of a click through function. The last time I checked, TV did not have a click through function however so many people spend money on it because “they feel like they have to”. Snapchat is the new TV for generation Z ( see point 4) and with attention this high, marketers will soon feel like “they have to".

They are the young person's app and will stay like that.

Being 22 and also being a marketer, I gained a first-hand perspective as to the impact of Instagram stories. As the Snap S1 filing suggests, Instagram stories did indeed slow down user growth however a more interesting phenomenon started taking place - a few of my friends who started using the stories feature on Instagram were much older - around the 25/26 mark. By doing this, they were inadvertently leaving the platform for the young kids, the people who had natively grown up on Snapchat and who to them the user experience and interface were second nature. The common refrain I heard from the “kids” was relief that their Snapchat sanctuary was not about to be taken over by “the oldies”. 

In some strange way by Facebook replicating Stories across all their apps, they have shaped the user base of Snapchat - young, fun and mobile.

By introducing Insta stories, people between the ages of 27 and above might prefer that to Snapchat, by introducing Facebook Stories, mothers might start using the feature and by introducing WhatsApp stories (yes that’s a thing now), people in the developing world might use it. This provides a window of opportunity for Snapchat to own the teenage market of the western world which presents a great opportunity to marketers. Whereas will you find a hyper-engaged audience of the most forward thinking, teenagers hanging out in a place that’s only for teenagers?

An environment ripe for driving action

We’ve made mobile apps trend on the App Store, helped companies drive a tonne of sales via discount codes and drive traffic to movie trailers ahead of movie releases. Although these are very different types of brands, our underlying technique has been simple, take advantage of the inherent opportunity Snapchat provides to stoke intent and drive action. The 10 second and 24-hour ephemerality of Snapchat lends itself to heightened engagement in campaigns- running discounts codes for a limited time frame, running time sensitive events in mobile apps where one must download now to access, or driving traffic to a limited edition piece of content for a movie.

In some ways, this makes the perfect opportunity for brands, rather than having to figure out the rules of a platform. Snapchat has in some ways already dictated - simply use the time sensitive approach in your campaigns and you’ll get results. I have yet to see a platform whose whole makeup drives as much of an environment to purchase/download/subscribe in the way Snapchat does.

Snapchat is what would happen if YouTube and Netflix had a baby.

In a similar vein to YouTube, Snapchat has a foundation of content creators who create and consume content. Although they design their products to be more focused toward content creation, a lot of Snapchat’s user base are those who consume as opposed to those who produce content. Similar to YouTube, it's an opt-in mechanism whereby rather than having content shoved into your face like Facebook or Instagram, one is able to curate their consumption by opting into the channels to watch. A similar comparison can be seen with Netflix, Snapchat is now commissioning short 6-10 second TV shows for NBC and the BBC creating original content for the format with an intuition of what their audience wants. This is symptomatic of Netflix’s original content approach in creating House of Cards and other original content programming having studied what their audience might be interested in.  Most strikingly, it's all on demand - the format that Generation Z want it in.   YouTube and Netflix are two of the leading media outlets when it comes to Generation Z and Snapchat has made a baby of both of them readily accessible in a format that generation Z love - mobile and fun and this provides a plethora of opportunities for brands.

I believe we’re at a crucial point as marketers where we are seeing the birth of a company that will define how generation Z communicate. By the incessant copying of Stories, Facebook has indeed slowed down Snap’s attempt to become a mass consumer app but have also made it the defecto app for a younger generation. The inherent urgency of 24-hour limit has made it a great environment for driving intent. Most importantly, they have the most important currency when it comes to engaging with Generation Z - attention.  Full screen, first person attention and only a novice marketer will make excuses for not capitalising on this.

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