How can brands use Snapchat?

Since the launch of Facebook in February 2004, we’ve all become aware of the term ‘social media’ and its concept. For many of us it has become part of our everyday, whether it’s updating our status, posting a selfie or just mindlessly scrolling through our newsfeed.

It didn’t take long for the retail world to pick up on this habit of ours and use various social media platforms to compete for our attention and, most importantly, our loyalty. With 1.59 billion monthly active users worldwide, Facebook is undoubtedly the most dominant social networking platform out there. In fact 42% of marketers claim that Facebook is crucial or very important to their business.

However this doesn’t mean the social media giant is safe from the rapid rise of their arch enemy…Snapchat.



Snapchat is home to a world of 10 second videos and lots of crazy filters (we all know someone with a face swapping addiction). These features, as well as the infamous Snapchat stories, have created a whole new world for retailers and brands to explore. No content is permanent on this social media platform which presents a challenge for businesses keen to use it, however many have accepted that challenge and have reaped the benefits.



River Island has just announced it has teamed up with Snapchat to offer bespoke branded filters that can only be accessed when entering one of its shops. River Island say they’re not trying to ‘grow sales’ or drive footfall, instead that it’s simply about engagement. They want to make the store experience fun again, and nothing more. Instagram has typically been the main platform of use for River Island, so it’s interesting to see a shift towards Snapchat. How long will it last?

Burberry recently used Snapchat to reveal back stage exclusives to their followers before the launch of their Spring/Summer ’16 collection. As well as the live story, consumers were able to use Snapchat’s ‘Snapcode’ feature as a portal to Burberry’s social networking app, which also offered them exclusive content in store.


During Superbowl XLVIII, Audi turned to a strategic partnership with Snapchat and The Onion to raise awareness with the Millennial demographic. Humorous photos and captions were created in the line with typical behaviour that people – or their pets – may exhibit during the game. The end results grew Audi’s Snapchat following by more than 5,500 over the course of the game.

Heineken previously used Snapchat at Coachella, sending cropped pictures to followers as clues to surprise shows on any given day during the festival. Users who responded with the right band or artist got an early confirmation of an act scheduled for the Heineken House, the beer sponsor’s stage.




These brands, as well as many others, are jumping on the band wagon when it comes to this latest social media frenzy. Snapchat essentially promotes exclusivity, which is exactly what many of us crave and now expect from retailers.

The ‘Snapchat effect’ is certainly beginning to take hold, with consumers’ fear of missing out increasing with every Live Story.

So what does this mean for the future of our friend Facebook? Will we evolve into a world with a 10 second attention span?

If we do, good luck to all retailers out there.

Hannah is a researcher in the retail team at Marketing Sciences Unlimited.

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Hannah Sturgess
01962 842211
Article date - 08/09/2016
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