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November 30, 2021·6 min read

How to Use Snapchat Video in Your Brand Marketing Strategy

Users are highly engaged with Snapchat videos. Learn the benefits of the platform and how to create a quick Snapchat marketing strategy.

Snapchat video has quickly turned from a fun way for teenagers to send video messages to each other, to a global phenomenon and business revenue stream if used right.

As Snapchat’s audience has grown, brands have taken notice and are now taking advantage of the video marketing opportunities available on the platform.

A Snapchat video is referred to as a “Snap” and believe it or not, on average there are 5 billion Snaps created every day. That means there is a serious influx of user-generated content being created, viewed and shared on one social media channel.

Although all of their users are there for video content, Snapchat’s younger audience is particularly open to engaging with video content shared by brands. Especially if businesses post video Snaps that are relevant to the audience and fit in with popular Snapchat video content styles.

Your business can grow its audience and connect directly with customers by creating a Snapchat marketing strategy. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to get started marketing your brand on Snapchat.

  1. Contents
  2. The Top Benefits of Snapchat Video Marketing
  3. How to Use Snapchat Video for Your Business
  4. How to Create a Snapchat Marketing Strategy

The Top Benefits of Snapchat Video Marketing

For brands looking to connect with Millenials and Gen Zers, having a Snapchat marketing strategy within an overall video marketing strategy has serious benefits.

The platform itself started as a way for friends to share photos and videos that disappeared after 24 hours. The short lifespan of its content makes it an intimate medium that encourages users to share often.

Since Snapchat’s conception, it has focused on user-generated content as its primary focus. They have since branched out to also allow businesses to market their products and services on the platform through Snapchat video. But, that sense of personal connection is still there, which makes it a great opportunity for brands looking to communicate directly with fans and customers.

There are three key benefits of sharing content on Snapchat video for businesses.

1. You Can Reach a Wide Audience

Snapchat is known for being loved by Millennial and Gen Z users. And while that’s true—making it a great platform for connecting with younger audiences—Snapchat’s user base is expanding. Snapchat users are loyal to the platform and prolific in their posting: Snapchat has 293 million daily active users worldwide.

The ephemeral sharing app’s user base still skews younger than most social networks: 65% of users on the platform are under 30 and 71% of users on the platform are under 34. This means that, with the right strategy, you can reach a diverse audience using Snapchat video.

2. You’ll Reach an Engaged Audience

Snapchat users are a highly engaged bunch. More than half of Gen Z users check Snapchat 11 times per day. And overall, its users spend around 30 minutes on the platform daily. With such a captivated audience who revisit the app multiple times daily, you can push out a lot of video content on your business account without overwhelming your followers.

You’ll Reach Users That Engage with Brands

Snapchat users are more open to engaging with brands than users of other social networks, even if they’re not familiar with the brand in question.

One survey of Snapchat users found that almost three-quarters would open a Snap sent from a business and, nearly half of the users surveyed said they’d open a Snap from a brand they didn’t know.

That’s great news for smaller or newer businesses since it means you’ll find an audience on Snapchat that’s willing to hear your message even if they aren’t already familiar with your products or services.

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How to Use Snapchat Video for Your Business

Now that you have a better sense of how your business can benefit from marketing itself using Snapchat video, let’s take a closer look at the different ways you can leverage video on the platform and the best way to connect with audiences using video content.

Snapchat Video Stories

Snapchat Stories are a collection of Snaps that you can add to on an ongoing basis. Each individual Snap from your story will be live for 24 hours before disappearing from your account.

Specs for Snapchat Video Stories

Since Snapchat is a mobile app, you’ll want to make sure all your video is optimized for vertical viewing on a mobile device.

Here are the ideal specs for Snapchat videos:

  • Recommended Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Aspect Ratio: 9:16
  • File Type: .mp4 or .mov
  • Maximum File Size: 32 MB
  • Video Length: 3 to 10 seconds long
cover graphic for Social Video Specs Guide
Get the Social Media Video Specs Guide cover graphic for Social Video Specs Guide Every different social platform has its own requirements for videos. Every single one is in this guide. Get the Specs

Best Practices for Snapchat Video Stories

You want your Snapchat videos to suit the platform and resonate with its users. Here’s how to make the most of your Snapchat video marketing plans:

  • Blend in With Your Surroundings: Make sure your creative fits in with the overall aesthetic that Snapchat users have come to expect from the platform. Give it a user-generated feel, rather than focusing on creating heavily produced video content.
  • Keep it Simple: People tend to view Snaps on the go and check in frequently for short bursts of time. Knowing that your audience’s attention span isn’t long and they have a lot of content coming at them on Snapchat, make sure you keep your messaging clear and simple. Don’t pack too much information into a single video.
  • Speak to (and Like) Your Audience: Knowing who your audience is can help you communicate with them better. Just as you want your video to look like it belongs on Snapchat, you also want your content to sound like it belongs. Don’t be too polished and scripted. Speaking directly to the camera can feel more natural on Snapchat.

How to Share Video Stories on Snapchat

Now that you know how to optimize your video content for Snapchat, here are the nuts and bolts of how to share video Snaps to your account:

  1. Open the Snapchat app, which will immediately take you to the camera screen
  2. Choose your camera mode by clicking the button in the top right hand corner to toggle between front-facing and rear-facing
  3. You can add a Snapchat lens to your frame, an AR effect that changes the way the subject looks or adds objects to the frame. Just tap and hold anywhere on the screen and your lens options will appear
  4. When you’re ready to shoot your video, press and hold the Capture button
  5. When you want to stop recording, just release the button and you’re done
  6. Press the blue arrow button in the bottom right to navigate to the sharing page—choose to share to My Story and/or send to any contacts
Learn From the Pros

Starling Bank is one of the UK’s leading digital challenger banks and they provide a great example of how they successfully collaborated with Snapchat. Starling leveraged Snahpchat’s AR technology to create a bespoke Lens experience in order to increase its brand awareness. The lens experience allows Snapchatters to interact with the brand and become a part of their message to empower people to feel confident about their finances!

How to Measure the Success of Your Video Stories

Once you’ve started sharing video Stories on Snapchat, you’ll want to keep track of how they’re performing with your audience. Here are some of the key metrics you can monitor through Snapchat Insights:

  • Unique Views: See how many people watched your video
  • View Time: How much time users spend watching your videos, broken down by week and month
  • Completion Rate: How many people watched your story in full, from beginning to end
  • Screenshots: How many people took a screenshot of your story, which is a major form of engagement on the platform

Snapchat Video Ads

Snapchat video ads are videos you can pay to promote to a wider audience. They offer more flexibility in terms of video length and you can feature interactive elements including custom filters and lenses.

Learn From the Pros

In this clever Snapchat Ad campaign, Subway used popular emojis in their ads to try and catch the attention of a younger demographic. And it sure worked. Snapchat helped offer Subway an 8% incremental reach versus TV alone.

Specs for Snapchat Video Ads

Here are the ideal specs to ensure your video ads look their best:

  • Recommended Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Aspect Ratio: 9:16 or 16:9
  • File Type: .mp4 or .mov
  • Maximum File Size: 1 GB
  • Video Length: 3 seconds to 3 minutes long
cover graphic for Social Video Specs Guide
Get the Social Media Video Specs Guide cover graphic for Social Video Specs Guide Every different social platform has its own requirements for videos. Every single one is in this guide. Get the Specs

Best Practices for Snapchat Video Ads

Make the most of your video ad budget by sticking to these Snapchat video guidelines:

  • Start the Action Early: Get your viewers hooked right away by dropping them right into the action. The sooner you grab attention, the more likely viewers are to stick around to see the full video.
  • Feature Your Branding Right Away: Not everyone will watch your full video ad and that’s okay. You can still make an awareness play for viewers who drop off by including your branding within the first two seconds of the ad.
  • Stick to a Single Message: Simple creative works best for Snapchat video ads. Aim to get one clear and concise message across in your video, for maximum impact.

How to Measure the Success of your Video Ads

To track your campaign performance and learn from every execution, be sure to pay attention to these key Snapchat video ad metrics:

  • Total Impressions: The total number of times your ad was served up to users
  • 2-Second Video Views: The total number of times a user watched at least two seconds of video
  • 15-Second Video Views: The total number of times a user watched at least 15 seconds of video
  • Completions: The number of times your video was viewed to at least 97% of its total length
  • Average Screen Time: The average number of seconds users spent watching your video ad, across all paid impressions
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How to Create a Snapchat Marketing Strategy

When using Snapchat for business, it’s important to create a Snapchat marketing strategy so that you can optimize your engagement and make all the work worth your while. There is no sense in creating videos if no one is watching. Try working from the top of the funnel when starting out. The goal is to get as many eyes on your content as possible. Then when you have a following you can hone in on particular audience segments.

Let’s walk through what a Snapchat marketing strategy might look like for a hypothetical business like a financial services institution that we will call Vidyard Financial. The following are tactics that Vidyard Financial should consider when their marketing team is planning out what their brand identity and content should look and feel like on Snapchat.

1. Decide on Your Voice, Tone and Direction

Probably the most important tactic in a Snapchat marketing strategy happens before you even get your account off the ground. Gather the creative brains on your team and decide together on what the voice and tone of the account will be. Once that has been nailed down, make sure to document it in a detailed style guide so that anyone who will be contributing to the account will do so in the desired brand voice. The voice and tone of Vidyard FInancial can be more playful on Snapchat than it might be on other social media platforms because Snapchat video should be used for an intimate look at a business and brand rather than large ad campaigns. 

Vidyard Financial could use their Snapchat account to document what a day-in-the-life of a financial planner looks like, or a playful video on what financial advisors talk about on their coffee break. Think behind-the-scenes type of content.

2. Create a Buzz

What better way is there to get people’s attention than to create a “buzz”! If you want viewers on your Snapchat video then feature exclusive content on your account to drive people to the platform itself and your page. Contests and giveaways always do well and can be a great way to get new followers.

Vidyard Financial could hold a contest where everyone that shares their video in their own Stories then gets entered to win a gift card to a local restaurant. By including other businesses in a giveaway or promotion, you also widen your audience reach.

3. Work with Influencers to Gain Followers

Social media marketing is an art that influencers have mastered over the last decade. Influencers are people who have gained a mass following on their social media accounts often because they are experts in a particular field. Whatever they touch and show on their own accounts gain traction because of their following base. Influencers can be paid to advertise on their channels or do a channel takeover of your social media account for an agreed-upon time. Building on the fact that social media is now the most popular distribution channel for B2B video, it is no surprise that working with influencers in your own industry would be a great way to gain followers.

If Vidyard Financial wanted to work with an influencer for a channel takeover, then they could look to work with an influencer who is a budgeting expert, a stock trader, or even just a celebrity who uses their services.

4. Cross-Promotion is Your Friend

Although Snapchat is a stand-alone social media channel and the content you feature on it is different than on your other channels, you should always be cross-promoting content. These days you would be hard-pressed to find a person who isn’t signed up for multiple social media accounts on a variety of platforms. So that means that if you have a follower on Instagram, they most likely follow you on Snapchat too. If you are running a contest on Snapchat, you should be advertising that on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook too. Doing so will drive more people to your account and will widen your audience reach.

5. Get Creative and Have Fun with Filters

People who use Snapchat expect to see the filters that it’s famous for in the content they are viewing. When you’re making a Snapchat video, don’t be afraid to get creative and embrace all the tools they have within the platform to spice up your videos. You can even create and purchase a filter that has your business branding in it for others to use. This would be a great tool for Vidyard Financial to use. They could create a branded filter and encourage people to use it when taking a photo within their establishment or use it as part of a digital marketing campaign.

This post was originally published on August 18, 2020. It was updated on November 30, 2021.

Phoebe Powell

Phoebe is a freelance copywriter and content strategist who writes for tech companies, startups, and nonprofit organizations. When not at her desk, you can find Phoebe cycling the streets of Toronto, checking out local breweries, or exploring Ontario's parks with her dog Pippy.