Why Snapchat Is So DAMN Interesting For Retailers

If you’re focusing on an audience in their teens, Snapchat is a channel you should consider to add to your marketing mix. Some say that you’ll find lots of millennials on there as well. So.. an interesting platform to check out. The only thing I can say before you dive in, be gentle and discover the platform first, before you snap anything out to the world & your fans. Really. It’s different then all the other channels you’re used to.

If you’re not familiar with Snapchat, allow me to give you a quick history and some basics you should know to get you started.
If you’re expecting hands-on 101 advice, this is _not_ the article for you. If you’re looking for a better understanding what Snapchat is, what you can do with it and some examples, than this is a article for you!

Some details first on Snapchat:

  • Snapchat is a mobile only platform (app) launched in september 2011
  • It was first used to send nsfw pictures and videos to your spouse (it only shows content for 24h hours without saving)
  • After that it quickly became a general platform for messaging for young people
  • The majority on Snapchat is female and between 12 and 25 (a bit like Instagram was in 2013-2014)
  • 30 million active monthly users
  • 77% of college students use Snapchat daily
  • 45% of college students would open a snap from a brand they didn’t know
  • 73% of college students would open a snap from a brand they did know
  • 58% of college students would be likely to purchase a product if sent a coupon on Snapchat
  • 67% of college students would like to receive discounts or promotions from brands on Snapchat


Check out the usage in Belgium as of the first quarter of 2015: This thing is BIG!!


The Power Of Letting Go, Letting Go Of The Metrics

Snapchat isn’t about the ordinary metrics retailers are familiar with.
You can’t track clicks. There are no page views to track. No forms to fill in. You can’t even browse through people like you would look up people on Facebook. If Snapchat would give you those metrics, I’d reckon Snapchat shouldn’t even exist! Frankly, I love it because it challenges you to go out and do something to find that audience on Snapchat.

There is only one metric that is applicable to figuring out if Snapchat is working for you and that is engagement!

First, get the attention. Then, stimulate and work on engagement.
After all, engagement is acquisition & profitability in the end. And with the “hold the button to chat” function, it’s even more keeping your attention right there in the app.

The Perfect Platform For Interactive Story Telling

Last years marketing trends were all about content marketing and story telling. This year it’s all about big data. Whatever! Get your shit together and just do what you have to do.

Snapchat is definitely a channel you want to be on as a retailer when focusing on 14 till +30 year olds. The success of Snapchat isn’t because of the randomness we might think it is, but the way the younger generation (Millennials, Z, Y, … i don’t care how you call them) likes to communicate is totally different then five up to ten years ago. They don’t wanna text. They want context. And how to give better context than using images and video!

The counter side of this, is the amount of selfies being taken that aren’t mostly posing and “how I want people to see me” pics. Beme is an alternative for that, that I’m waiting for to give a try when it’s available on Android. Can’t wait to be on Beme. I think they will do very well in a particular subset of 20 up till 40 year olds who love legit pictures.

Any way, I’ve been following some brands for the last couple of months and this is what I’ve noticed:

Snapchat Retail Examples

Well, this is where opportunity comes knocking on your door.
There aren’t that many retailers on Snapchat yet. Love brands mostly, but not really retailers like multi-brand stores or other retail formats. There’s an audience waiting to be inspired.

The closes thing that can relate to a retail mindset (eager to selling products instead of a story), is Taco Bell.
They are doing a great job. Soon, they will be able to use Snapcash, so… you might get in on Snapchat too a.s.a.p.
It’s the next thing. Facebook is planning it too.


Taco Bell is pulling the humoristic card on you. With two hosts, they succeed in purposing a product and some discount now and then to get you to Taco Bell. It’s fun to watch and actually, it’s tempting to just try out a Taco.

An example of a good snap story: Challenging each other to take on a serie of hot taco’s


daredevilchallenge2 daredevilchallenge3 daredevilchallenge4 daredevilchallenge5 daredevilchallenge6

Snapchat Love Brand Examples


Frankly? The Coke snaps are a disappointment. You would expect some serious investment of this brand into new channels, but it seems like they have no inspiration at all, at least in Belgium that is. They’ve only managed to show some snaps about some Coke booths at festivals and some slightly creative “find smiley faces in things” to support their claim on Happiness. Coke, you can do better than this! I’m still following Coca Cola for now. You never know something interesting might happen in the upcoming weeks.






Red bull uses a mixture of behind the scenes and x-game/aggressive sports celeb interviews/showcases. If you’re a fan of the extreme sports, it’s a cool channel to follow. Snaps aren’t always available day-in day-out but the update ratio is pretty good and quiet relatively high. I’ve seen some snowboarding, BMX, Skating, Motorcycle races, Acrobatic plane flights, even Breakdancing, etc.

It’s interesting to see that almost every time, one of the celebs on the scene get the handle for a day because they know what to show the fans. Sometimes, not quiet that often, but occasionally a can of Red bull passes by when people get thirsty and delivered some acrobatic efforts. Something every food or beverage brand could do, if the context is right!



I haven’t seen any interaction being asked by their followers,
but they passed the handle over to another reporter, while two events were happening at the same time.
Kinda nice, kinda cool.


Vox Media, in Manhattan blogs and vlogs about technology news and is a media network (hence the blog/vlog/docu material) using Snapchat in a cool way. Obviously cool already because of the newish tech they’re reporting on, they give a good mix of internal behind the scenes (a part of the office is behind a secret book closet door!), snaps of tech and other events and did the beef (cool) or bust (lame) show. On friday’s, they snap about new artists and show a part of their youtube clip. Fun to watch. Give it a shot.

Not sure if they will continue with the beef or bust thing (video), because Sam Sheffer left The Verge.
Really liked that short rapid sort of ‘reviewing things’ snaps.


On friday, Lizzie shows five new videos of music clips on Youtube.
Consistency is essential. Something I find myself cheating on regularly, although I shouldn’t.
Consistency is such an underrated factor! Really, it is! Even when testing for a certain amount of time or a longer period. Testing for a month or three should give you enough insights to get you going or to quit.



MTV is all about artists and behind the scenes. It’s very American focused, so I got kinda lost if it comes to upcoming artists. I didn’t knew any of them. So… in Europe, there is a huge opportunity to claim music events (like an other thing American actually, Europe is far behind).

Some crazy lady reporter asking questions. I really love her quirkiness. Matches the MTV tone of voice really well, like they manage to get some quirky tv programs on late at night as well.


Sometimes, they ask some famous people to take over the handle of MTV. In this case, a real Snapchat designer. I didn’t knew that even existed, until now.


And she throwing a hook while she’s got the opportunity to do so for a large following.


Also… and I haven’t seen any other Snappers do this: ask for replies and effectively reply’ing as well to them.
The only one I’ve noticed doing this is Hannes (check below the article). Don’t think Joy used it up till now, or at least I didn’t see it passing by, although she did manage to claim the hashtag #joy and turned it into #thejoyof (well done, on Twitter that is). Not sure why she doesn’t hit it up cross-channel.


Some other examples

Paige Hathaway is a fitness model sponsored by SHREDZ, a brand that sells bodybuilding and fitness products. She snaps about her workouts, the SHREDZ events and crew, lots of food (boy does she loooooove pizza), her own youtube cooking sessions (behind the scenes stuff), some instructional fitness movies, her dog Banx (kinda funny fellow) and her BMW i8.

It’s interesting to see how she uses Snapchat on a more personal level (snaps of her walking Banx, videos of her going to the vet with Banx, etc…) and the other material she posts on Instagram, lots more focused on fashion and the health/fitness aspect.

The obligatoire duckface


The posing fitnessmodels do. By the way, check out the iPhone cover with pizza slices ;)


Banx getting spoiled


Behind the scenes of her video/youtube show



She’s sure killing it in the gym, at late hours (something we’re not able to do with the opening hours of the gym here in Belgium, up till now). She might cut down on the posing part if you ask me, but hey… she’s a bodybuilder. It comes with the hustle. I’m not sure why I keep watching but it’s like Arnie mentioned in one of his interviews on bodybuilding: a bodybuilder is the closest thing that comes to the mythological gods that were sculptured by the greeks. It’s nothing we’ve ever seen before, so it keeps us fascinated. By the way, her cameraman does a great Arnold impression :)

Maybe Consider A Featured Story, If Your Wallet Allows This

Not sure if you can freely subscribe yet, but there have been a few Discover stories up and running for a while with some major brands like Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, MTV, CNN, Vice, National Geographic, etc.

The cool part about the ads is that they are extremely interactive.
It sure gets the attention of people once clicked their way into the commercial (clicking the logo that is).

Snapchat Discover stories get between 50.000 up to 1.000.000 views per day. Full attention views that is! Prices are between $50.000 and $100.000 dollar.

A small example below of how the interactive is taking place within the app: swiping and clicking! That’s it. You’ll get movies, images, animations, … I really love this. All Ads should be like this. Interactive and, if possible, potentially smart (real-time adaptable according to the data that comes in at that particular moment & beyond). Facebook could do that (Mark, if you’re reading this, I wish, pls set a new benchmark for ads)!

Check the example below: swiping to skip the line. Genius, right? :)
Nobody wants to wait, right? Getting them to start swiping with a simple sentence.


How to use ads to get attention & get votes:


After swiping you get all sort of suggestions like this one below (don’t know who that man btw). Tap & Hold to vote. Interaction like it should be: easy & straight forward based on how people are used to use actions in several apps on their phone.


Give something to watch out for, soon.


Encourage them to come back and keep the interaction and attention high.


Tip: You can do the same with e-mail ;) Give it a spin.

Some Ideas To Find A Following On Snapchat

Finding new people to follow on Snapchat isn’t easy.
You have to know their nickname or you won’t find them.
There isn’t a phone number you can use, no real name (if they don’t use it as nickname), … nothing.

Dutch interface below:


So, … building a following is pretty harsh on Snapchat itself.
And that’s where marketing comes in, with some simple things you can do to gather a following:

  1. Create a QR code (with animated GIF, if wanted) (Snapchat uses the QR code like it should be used: as machine to machine language)
  2. Spread the handle on other social media channels
  3. Spread the handle on your offline folders, flyers, bags, etc.
  4. Invite/pay a celeb/influential to mention you on snapchat

You can do all sorts of things, like for instance, get a car sticker and more...


time for my right hook ;-)

I myself am using Snapchat to give people some random snaps of my live,
but also, about 50% (need to get up to 80%) is music related, as in… I’m recording snaps of electronic music playing in my car. Demos I get to feed my label, some tribute to some tracks I personally love or related to memories I nurture, some cd’s and artists I like, … up to some random snaps of things that caught my eye. Often, I try to play a little bit with stop-motion (big fan of the format), by simply snapping 1 or 2 sec pics. Gives a great effect. You should try it out sometimes!

For instance, these are snaps (videos) from the 326 sec long tribute to trance from the late 90’s.
I’ve noticed that some of my followers watched all through to the end, so thank you for that!
Not sure, but for now, I’ll keep using this format of spreading music that I care about.


Saying Thank you for the attention & their time invested in my snaps!


You should join me on Snapchat.
It’s fun! Find me: DriesBultynck

See you there!

Some Ideas To Get You Started With Snapchat Offerings

It’s obvious you’ll only reach a small amount of people on Snapchat, but engagement could be very high. So… might be worth a shot to give the following ideas a spin:

  1. Offer in-store coupons on Snapchat only: Show the snap at the register when picking up the product. An extension to this is sending snaps via Bluetooth in the store itself to redeem an offering
  2. Snapification (not sure it’s a word): build up to a launch of a new product & offer special deals when interaction on Snapchat or even in-store is happening
  3. Give aways always work nicely – give it a spin
  4. Send the handle of your friend & get both a coupon instead
  5. Use a snapchat story
  6. Encourage people to use geo-filters (so you know where there at, at this moment) & do something with it!
  7. You might try a sponsored sticker like McDonalds did to show others when clients are at McDonalds
  8. Or go a step further and open a secret shop only open at certain snapped hours

Careful how you use those filters.
You might end up like you’re having some fries up your nose.


Don’t forget that Snapchat, like Facebook could make your brand benefit from organic impressions & visits by steering on social media content. Test with a simple campaign and follow-up the numbers! It’s hard to measure, but doable if you’re patient and willing to test this thing out. Keep it simple to begin with.

Have fun. I’m having a blast Snapping!
Snapchat: DriesBultynck

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