Snapchat, launched Sept 2011 in the iTunes App Store, is popular with a much younger demographic (typically from 13-23 years old) than most marketers are used to working with. The service basically allows you to send an image or very short video message to someone else, which then disappears immediately thereafter (ok, so there is debate on the actual permanency on these snaps, but that’s a different storyline for later).

If you are marketing a product, service, event or brand targeted to this audience, you may want to understand the app, and its potential, further. It takes little or no cost to interact with customers, via “snaps” or “stories”. However, they recently unveiled paid advertising options which are pretty unique from other digital marketing initiatives – including social or digital media.

Up until recently, the main way to promote a brand or product was through an “influencer” campaign on Snapchat. Although there was no expense within Snapchat, the brand would hire a social influencer in the network (or similar channel) to help promote or gain a larger audience, for their “snap” or “stories” (slightly longer version than a snap). A few brands have shown creative uses for Snapchat  with interesting ways to embrace this strategy and some others.

This past weekend, Snapchat introduced paid advertising opportunities, where a brand can inject their (temporary) short video message to all users. The app's first advertisement was a brief trailer (20 seconds) for the upcoming horror movie from Universal Pictures, Ouija – which seems to be a perfect fit for their audience. Thanks to Twitter user @PetersonTee who captured and then tweeted the ad experience: Ouija Movie Trailer Tweet

It only makes sense that Snapchat would need to introduce a revenue stream for itself, just like the other social channels before it. The challenge is, how to capitalize within the limitations of an undefined audience and a disappearing message to a bunch of millennials. Creativity will be key here, for those who sell into this age group. Attention span is limited and expectation are high!

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