Digital & Social Media

Tapping Into Snapchat


What Happened: Brands want in on Snapchat, alcohol companies included. In late May this year, Bud Light had a live story for its own branded event “Whatever, USA.” And now Jim Beam is running ads on the app through October for its new apple-flavored bourbon. It’s risky business for alcohol companies to advertise on an app where 63 percent of monthly users are between the ages of 13 and 24. Although Snapchat doesn’t generate a bunch of data on its users, it does require a person’s birthday before he or she signs up for an account. The alcohol ads are only shown to users ages 21 and over.

What This Means for Brands: Anonymity, the very trait that makes Snapchat appealing to its users, can frustrate advertisers and marketers. Snapchat founder and CEO Evan Spiegel thinks collecting data on users is creepy. Targeted marketing is difficult without a target, but a short hiccup for brands looking to advertise on the app. Advertising on Snapchat will be one year old in October, and the potential it holds for brands is still unknown – but it seems promising so far.

According to an Adweek article, 100 million people use Snapchat daily. Several brands have already dipped into this massive customer base with advertising and some brands, like Macy’s, sponsor specific ‘Discover’ feeds. The ‘Discover’ feed features media outlets such as ESPN, Mashable, CNN and Cosmopolitan that produce content for users. Another feature brands can advertise on is called ‘Live Stories.’ The app spotlights events from around the world with user-submitted content.

Snapchat is a fast-paced app that challenges potential and current advertising brands who want to advertise on it. Combined with the little-to-none demographic information available to them, and brands are forced to be creative with Snapchat advertising.

But with themed live stories, many brands can jump in on the story – especially alcohol companies. The events featured in live stories generally promote fun, youth and partying. Jim Beam is running its ads in the upcoming Oktoberfest and the Mid-Autumn Festival live stories.