Marketing is all about getting the brand in front of as many eyes as possible as many times as possible for long as possible. It’s what makes the 30- and 60-second format of a television commercial, the glossy page of a magazine, the enormousness of a billboard and the proper placement of a website banner ad so effective.

It would seem then that Snapchat, the social media platform whose success is linked to its quickly disappearing images, would not be the go-to spot for ad dollars. But advertisers will indeed find advantage even in the fleeting-image format.

In an Oct. 9 post on the Marketing Pilgrim website, blogger Cynthia Boris wrote of Snapchat’s plans to incorporate advertisements into its platform, on which photos, videos and messages can be instantaneously shared with a network of “friends.” Recipients tag the communications they want to keep, but all other transmittals disappear into the ether seconds after being opened.

Snapchat use has spread like wildfire, particularly among teens and adults under 30, who have embraced the format’s main selling point — a vapor trail, rather than a paper trail — as a better option than texting, instant messaging (IM), Facebook or Instagram when privacy matters.

Launched in September 2011, Snapchat reportedly now has million users, according to Boris. She cited other user data furnished by Business Insider that would justify a marketing budget set-aside, even for ads that appear, then fade away:

  • Sharing of Snapchat Stories increased 100% in the last two months. Stories are now getting 1 billion views daily, while 760 million disappearing photos and videos are sent daily.
  • Two-fifths of 18-year-olds in the U.S. use it “multiple times daily” to communicate with family and friends
  • Snapchat has reached a top three rank in the iPhone app store in many of the world’s wealthiest and most developed consumer markets, including Sweden, France, Australia, Norway, Canada, and the U.S. and U.K.

Boris wrote that Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel described the proposed advertising program as, “Not fancy, not targeted. Just simple, no-frills ads in the stream that would also disappear within 24 hours.”

She noted, however, that advertisers are not waiting for the official launch of Snapchat’s ad program. Major brands have already established a presence on the app. And Dove has launched a major campaign, making use of the fade format to target young women with a self-esteem program that has already generated 130,000 views.

So how does the small-budget marketer and small business owner take advantage of Snapchat? Boris wrote that the key for businesses large and small is still about “spreading the word,” using offers and leveraging other social media platforms to do so.

“Since images are designed to disappear, traditional social media sharing is off the table,” she wrote. “The key is building a friends list and to do that, most companies offer some type of incentive in return for the follow. Of course, the best way is to urge your current social media followers on Facebook and Instagram to add you on Snapchat, too.”


Boris, Cynthia. Ads Coming to Snapchat; Marketing Pilgrim. October 9, 2014.