Go Go Gadget SnapChat: Measuring the modern day self-destructing message

hqdefaultSitting cross-legged in front of the TV scarfing Lucky Charms and watching Inspector Gadget in the 80s, I never would have guessed that he was so ahead of his time. While we’re still waiting on a Kickstarter campaign for a functioning helicopter hat (fingers crossed!), messages that self-destruct have been au courrant since SnapChat exploded onto high schoolers smartphones in 2011.  Ephemeral messaging services like SnapChat, Slingshot, Pluto Mail, and Burn Note are the proverbial exploding paper of the digital age – and thankfully, a heck of a lot less dangerous, because #teenagers.

If you have a smartphone, you’re likely using one – or if you’re not, your college-aged cousin is. A remarkable 77% of college students report to using SnapChat every day; 58% of them say they’re likely to purchase a product from a brand that Snapped them a coupon, yet a meagre 1% of brands are using SnapChat. Creative applications of ephemeral messaging for brands are endless: pop up party or concert invitations, product sneak peeks, and time-sensitive deals. If your target is millennials or younger, ephemeral messaging might make sense depending on your program objectives. As digital marketers, ephemeral messaging platforms are simply another tool in our digital tool kit – but one that makes it even trickier for us to measure ROI; consider the rudimentary functionality of a platform like SnapChat in contrast to the robust reporting insights provided by Facebook. While SnapChat has added functionality that has made it easier for brands to play on their platform (namely Stories), the base functionality is one that’s built with consumers, not brands, in mind.

Like any marketing initiative, KPIs are important regardless of channel – however, perhaps tantamount to KPIs by channel is meeting overall program objectives. At the end of the day, if you’re not moving the needle (be it driving awareness, trial, relevance, frequency, or any other high level objective), you’re failing. If we can assign measurable end actions to ephemeral messages – for example, coupon redemptions, event attendance, or even brand health score – that ladder up to our main objectives and targets we can integrate ephemeral messaging into a program in a way that’s both measurable and (potentially) effective for a client. So…will you be considering ephemeral messaging platforms for any upcoming campaigns? Seen any cool applications of by brands? Leave a comment below – don’t worry, your messaging will not self-destruct.


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