Because this app is both wildly popular and yet still so wildly unfamiliar to many, we have broken this post into a two-part Snapchat series; Snapchat 101: What is this wacky app? and Snapchat 102: How can my brand use this wacky app? Stay tuned next Thursday for part two!


What is this wacky app?

Whether or not you have Snapchat on your phone, there is no denying its presence in the social world. According to Snapchat, it boasts 100 million daily active users.


To provide some perspective, the monthly active users on Instagram total 400 million and Twitter comes in at about 320 million, monthly. There is a lot of buying power behind these users considering a whopping 70% of Snapchat users are women, and 60% of U.S. 13 to 34-year old smartphone users are Snapchatters.


While almost everyone has heard of Snapchat, many marketing professionals fall outside of their core 13 to 25-year-old user range, making it one of the most intimidating social media platforms for brands. Snapchat can be a powerful force in the marketing world, but it requires a basic understanding of the app and lot of creativity. We are here to help with both!


Snapchat 101

Unlike Instagram or Facebook, Snapchat makes it difficult to upload an existing photo from your phone to the app, making it a true “real-time” platform. Most photos and all videos are taken directly in-app, in the moment. Filters can be applied to the Snap, and a specific audience is selected for immediate receipt.


Take a selfie with the caption “sup”, a 10 second video of your dog zooming around the couch, Snap your gourmet dinner, swap faces with your dad and send the goofy shot to all your friends, or post it to your Story.


The content isn’t typically newsworthy in and of itself, but unlike any other social platform, it is the closest you can get to seeing exactly what your friends are seeing at the moment they are seeing it, without being right there with them.



The Snapchat Glossary

Snapchat has many unique terms and features, but here are some of the basics to help with the always intimidating, “fear of the unknown:”


  • Snap = Photo or Video.
  • Photo Snaps can be viewed anywhere from 1-10 seconds, as determined by the sender.
  • Video Snaps can be up to 10 seconds in length.
  • Captions can be overlaid on the Snap, up to about 80 characters. You can also draw on your Snap.
  • Snapchat recently added the wildly popular filter feature to its app. You can overlay an animated cartoon of a dog’s face onto yours that licks the screen when you stick out your tongue. You can stand next to your friend and the filter will detect both of your faces and swap them onto the other’s body. Filters are constantly being updated and provide endless ways to waste away hours of your day with an infinite number of giggle-inducing possibilities.
  • Users can send Snaps directly to specific friends, without posting to their public feed. These direct Snaps disappear after being viewed.
  • You can take a screenshot of a snap, but be careful, it notifies the sender that you have taken a screenshot. You can also replay Snaps one more time, but only right after they are first viewed.
  • There is a feature that lets you see whether or not your friend has opened your Snap yet.
  • Snapchat also has a chat component. Send texts back and forth with your friends, but these, too, disappear after closing the window.
  • Snapchat does have a public feed for its users, it’s called a Story. Stories contain a series of snaps for each user in chronological order, with each Snap remaining on the user’s Story for 24 hours, to be viewed by anyone who follows them, on an unlimited basis, within those 24 hours.
  • Unlike most other social media platforms, there is no “like” feature, but users can see who has viewed the Snaps posted in their Story.



Here is a sample of some riveting Snaps from my Snapchat Story this morning while writing this post – now all my friends can see what a sweet morning I’ve had, like they were sitting in the office with me!




A sneak peek at Snapchat 102: How can my brand use this wacky app?


During the Super Bowl, Gatorade created a custom Snapchat filter that allowed users to have under-eye paint applied over their selfie while a virtual cooler of, you guessed it, Gatorade was poured over their head. You can check out Serena Williams utilizing the filter in this clip she posted to Instagram as part of the promotion. Gatorade wound up garnering 160 million impressions with this filter – that is 48 million more than the 112 million who tuned in to watch the actual Super Bowl! Gatorade is also reported to have spent anywhere between $500,000 and $750,000 for this custom, nationwide filter.


Don’t have that kind of cash? Here are some easy, creative, budget-friendly ways for your brand to tap into this platform.


(Tune in next Thursday for the second part of our Snapchat series, Snapchat 102: How can my brand use this wacky app?)