Snapchat Marketing: Growth, Demographics, and how to grow an audience

Snapchat’s video traffic has surged to 8 billion daily video views from 7 billion at the beginning of the year, that’s more than five times the number the company counted a year ago. Back when the app launched in 2011 many dismissed it as a fad or were scared by its early reputation. The social app also now hosts over 100 million daily active users a nice rounded figure that along with the impressive growth rate for me marks the time for brands to be present. I have been on Snapchat to just friends and family now for a few years, however during this time as a marketer I have also been watching brands like Mashable, MTV (both now featured is ‘discover’) and Victoria Secret, and also influencers such as Ana Cherri (model), Amanda Cerny (model), Gary Vaynerchuk (business) and Ross Dickerson (fitness). I am encouraging brands and personalities to take Snapchat seriously, and being someone who practices what they preach… I too have just set up a personal brand account, under the same handle/username as everywhere else — Youngstapreneur (Search and add me). Because i am new from a brand perspective and starting at zero, I thought I’d provide of couple tips on how I plan to increase my audience.

Snapchats’ popularity continues to rise, towards the end of last year the app saw an average of 9,000 snaps sent per second. To put that into perspective, it would take you ten years to watch one hour of snaps sent on the platform, and by the time you had finished that another 880,000 years would have been uploaded.

Going into 2016 Snapchats’ user demographic was a whopping 76% aged 18–34, with 46% being aged 18–24. It is also believed that by 2018 Millennials will have the most spending power of any generation, if you don’t believe that then just think today’s Millennial is a tomorrows customer.

What is interesting is that Instagram now has almost the same demographic percentages as all the other social media platforms. If you think about the ‘Rogers adoption / innovation curve’ you can get an idea into how these things tend to progress… image below.

Millennials are mobile first, where older generations grew up with desktop and adopted mobile second, millennials grew up with everything at there fingertips, they seek out the latest mobile trends or hear about them first because they have always done so. They are more willing to try out new apps, spread the word to friends, and to be seen as ‘in the know’ or technology savvy. With 80% of social media time now being on mobile, apps like Snapchat and Instagram that are mobile first, mobile native by design, appeal to those looking for the next big social tool. In my last post I explained why the top social media platforms where becoming more visual, live and interactive, and these two certainly play into that.

Want to know more about Snapchats History? Gary Vaynerchuk’s blog has a in depth article

Snapchat has attention more than any other platform

A Snapchat picture, or ‘snap’, is only available for 1 to 10 seconds depending on what it has been pre-set at by the sender. However, the Snapchat Stories feature allows items to be available for up to 24 hours and reviewed throughout that period.

Snapchat has a few additional features: You can add brief captions, drawings, or filters to your snaps. The platform also includes a rudimentary messaging function which recently had a major overhaul, which they themselves are calling ‘Chat 2.0’.

Due to the nature of disappearing content, users feel a sense of urgency and to regularly check their Snapchat stories feed. Most advertisers want the audience to be repeatedly exposed to their content to build recognition and influence behavior, however Snapchat changes the game. Brands need to constantly churn out fresh content in order to achieve this. See my last post on why brands need to become more like media companies.

One plus is that Snapchat is completely free, sure advertisements will roll out soon, however currently the only way to build an audience is through your own initiatives or via Influencers whom already have a following there.

How to grow an audience on Snapchat

If you want to succeed on social media you must humanize your brand, listen and respect the platform you are on and adapt your voice accordingly.

Snapchat is a platform where this can not be more true. The thing with Snapchat is that right now there is no ‘Discover’ tab like on Instagram, or recommended users like on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (don’t confused Snapchats ‘Discover’ with these). There is also no hashtags to help people find content related to various topics. What I find cool is the fact you kind of need to be a bit old school with you approach here. Be creative, think outside the pay for likes/follows box.

Does your shop front have shutters at night? Maybe you can cover this with your snapcode, or get some business cards with your snapcode on the back and start sending them out in company letters, or if you’re eCommerce with-in postal boxes, if you’re a cake company make the snapcode out of icing and share on Instagram and Pinterest. Print out stickers and place these on items that you sell, or better yet if you use paper bags get the one side printed with your logo and the other with your snapcode so not only the buyer sees it, but everyone they walk past does too. If you are an airline company, place a snapcode underneath a plane so people snap it as it flies over head — not sure this would work at 30,000 feet, but people local to airports, take-off and landings may work. Ok so this last one maybe far-fetched, but my point is there are many ways offline to share your snapcode and prompt people to add you.

Here’s my Snapcode — If you reading this on a Desktop and have your phone to hand, take a snap and see how it works. Feel free to add me too if you wish.

To get yours visit —

Two things stand out for anyone growing an audience on Snapchat, they are leveraging existing channels and valuable content.

A couple things that i’ve seen and that work well

Contests — run exclusive contests for your Snapchat audience

Coupons — Snap discount codes for people to screenshot and use in store or online for the following 24 hours.

Sneak peaks — Behind the scenes look at your business, sneak peeks on new designs, adversing campaigns, or even products ahead of their launch to create buzz.

Leverage what you already have

When asking people to add you anywhere it is imperative to give your audience a compelling reason to do so.

Add your snapcode to other social media sites. I have added to my Twitter profile. Tweeted the add/(username) link ( — change to your own username.

On my Instagram I have posted my Snapcode (also shared on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+) and added my username to my profile bio.

Add your user name to your email signature, linked also. For example — ‘Search add add Youngstapreneur on Snapchat for exclusive insights and offers’.

Tell people to search your username if on audio such as podcast, Link on Youtube if you have a presence there.

Place the snapcode and mention to search your username on your company website… why not write a blog post and tell people A). Why your joining Snapchat and B.) Why they should add you (what’s in it for them). Share the post as you normally would.

Take overs, shout outs and influencer marketing

Use popular Snapchatters who are relevant to your niche to not only promote your brand, but also to connect with younger audience members — who mistrust traditional ads.

Allow influencers full access to the account and full creative license. This means you must fully trust the individuals and set very minimal provisions. The individuals create unique content your audience will appreciate and see you as a leading and influential brand on the platform. In return influencers usually shout out their own accounts.

Shout outs are a form of partnership which has been popular across virtually all the social platforms. Two or more individuals will cross promote each other accounts to gain followers. Brands could also pay influencers to promote accounts… again must add value to audience or give audience a reason to add you. For example individual may get paid simply to shout out or talk about your account, or they may receive a percentage of sales with a unique discount code (and to also shout you out).

This strategy is not only for brands, individuals with a similar follow count and an audience with a similar interests can team up and cross promote each others accounts. This has been occurring on Instagram since I can remember and I am sure it would work well here too.

Ads on other social media

Once you have tried a few things and understood the value of your Snapchat audience — Size to conversion rate and revenue generate. It may be cost effective to run ads on other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Ads on Desktop would include your snapcode so they can snap the screen with their phone, ads on mobile maybe use the Using link link instead as it will take them out of the app they are viewing the advertisement on and into Snapchat, plus ask if they wish to you. Also a little tip… where available pay by follower/page like as you will prompt people to take a snap of the ad or click the link which may bring acquisition costs down.

Three key takeaways

  • Build content specifically for your audience
  • Embrace the temporary nature of Snapchat
  • Tap into influencers

Two hacks you may find here and not anywhere else

  1. Use your iPad — there is not a Snapchat iPad app however you can still use the iPhone version. The pros you see create amazing visuals on Snapchat are using the bigger screen. Drawing something even half decent on an iPhone is frankly impossible, and yes although I have in the past created fairytale landscapes and even made myself into an astronaut, I wish I had used my iPad (the fairytale landscape was created in the bath so an iPad might not of worked for that one.)
  2. Sync your contacts — A couple years ago I accidentally synced my 4,000+ LinkedIn connections to my iPhone. As annoying as it was at the time, I have found this to be quite useful as I can Whatsapp them (prior to LinkedIn changing the messaging feature), but when giving access to my phone contacts I also found hundreds of my LinkedIn contacts are on Snapchat… and many have since added me back. You can also sync your Facebook connections to your phone contacts.

Time to adopt Snapchat into your marketing strategy. Only 1% of marketers are using Snapchat, i’m there, will you be?

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