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Snapchat closes gap in online, offline conversions

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Social media platform Snapchat is helping brands gain more perspective on how advertising on the application stimulates in-store visits with a new ad product.

“Snap to Store” is the new ad product from the app that allows ad partners to better track how well their campaigns are doing. Through data mining, Snapchat breaks down visitors based on demographics and how they interacted with the brand.

“The new ‘Snap to Store’ ad product from Snapchat is particularly important given the frequency of Snapchat being used in restaurants and retail locations,” said Brian Zuercher, CEO of influencer marketing agency SEEN [2]. “For retailers who are already seeing a lot of Snapchat usage at their locations, ‘Snap to Store’ could be a great resource to drive in-store conversions.

“Early results for beta clients like Wendy’s look promising,” he said. “Leveraging social to support in-store conversions has been the Holy Grail for restaurants and retailers, and given Snapchat’s frequency of use at these locations, this could be a great supplement to customer acquisition tactics.

“Like other ad products, this is being announced with promising early results, but I’d caution marketers from feeling like this is their ‘silver bullet’ for in-store conversions. Rather, consider how this tactic lives within your customer journey and can be included in your digital marketing mix.”

Snapchat success
Through a dashboard, marketers are able to view who interacted with their filters on Snapchat and who visited bricks-and-mortar locations afterwards. The dashboard breaks down demographic details such as location, age and gender.

These categories will become more complex over time. Snapchat will tap even more data to determine other information from individuals such as interest and habits.

The ad product comes after many marketers complained of a lack of data and information with Snapchat campaigns.

Wendy’s, an initial partner in beta testing of the ad product, was able to track how its filter played via location. For instance, the fast food restaurant saw 42,000 visitors driven in stores through its Snapchat filter.

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Image courtesy of Facebook

While Snapchat is one of the most popular platforms, especially with younger demographics, its advertising products often lacked enough data. Snapchat is trying to navigate the line between overstepping its users’ privacy but also doing right by advertising partners.

“Buying with Snapchat has been like giving money to a foundation without knowing where it’s going,” said Alex Maikowski, director of social strategy at social agency Epic Signal [4]. “You believe what you’re doing is having a positive impact, but there’s still a vast gap of uncertainty.

“Like most content-driven strategies, reaching audiences on Snapchat leaves you mostly in the dark, trying to connect the dots back to sales and growth,” he said. “This new product helps draw some important lines in completing that picture for marketers.

“Good results allow ideas and experimentation to thrive. This feature arms marketers and creatives with more information to support their strategies and try new things.”

Facebook vs Snapchat
“Snap to store” will be more support for Snapchat in the race to keep up with Facebook and its Instagram, as the powerhouse continually launches new ad products.

For instance, Facebook beefed up its capabilities for advertisers on publishers’ videos, hoping to combat some of the difficulty that media brands have come across with monetizing their videos on the social media platform.

The social media giant now allows all eligible publishers to monetize in-stream video ads on their own platforms with Audience Network, according to a press release from Facebook. Ad breaks within Facebook Live and on-demand video have also begun beta testing (see more [5]).


Image courtesy of Facebook 

Facebook also tested out a lightweight, non-intrusive ad model for Facebook Messenger, setting the stage for better brand engagement on the popular messaging platform.

While the platform has become increasingly brand-friendly, many still desire more. Facebook is meeting their concerns with a test of the boundary between intrusive and non-intrusive Messenger ads (see more [6]).

“There’s an ongoing, seemingly endless battle between Facebook and Snapchat over users and ad offerings to serve them,” said Mr. Zuercher of SEEN. “With services like Facebook Places, Facebook has made many attempts to provide ad products that benefit physical businesses.

“Instagram also recently expanded its ad services to businesses of all sizes to include more local, small businesses,” he said. “If the early results of ‘Snap to Store’ maintain, this will prove to be an effective asset for Snapchat’s bottom line.

“But ultimately, as more marketers work toward a network-agnostic approach focusing more on where their audience is, ‘Snap to Store’ will just be yet another tool in the digital marketing mix.”

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