Mastering Snapchat Marketing On A Budget

How Snapchat works and what mar­keters are doing to make sure they are suc­cess­ful­ly uti­liz­ing it even if they don’t have a big bud­get to work with.

Sam Hollingsworth By Sam Hollingsworth from Acronym. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to send and receive “self-destruc­t­ing” pho­tos and videos, or dig­i­tal media that is only tem­porar­i­ly avail­able for view­ing. The pho­tos and videos tak­en and shared on the app are called Snaps, and users are able to per­son­al­ize them in unique ways. But how does this tool fit into a big brand’s mar­ket­ing approach? Like most social plat­forms, it has evolved since its incep­tion, and it’s cer­tain­ly been tweaked to bet­ter suit mar­keters (and gen­er­ate prof­it).

Brands are con­stant­ly chal­lenged with dis­cov­er­ing new ways to use social media chan­nels, which are cre­at­ed with the indi­vid­ual user’s expe­ri­ence in mind as opposed to a brand’s abil­i­ty to mar­ket or sell prod­ucts (at least in the begin­ning). First, mar­keters exam­ine audi­ences: where the peo­ple are and who they are. Once they’ve iden­ti­fied the right chan­nel for their mar­ket­ing efforts, the real chal­lenge is how a brand sends an effec­tive mar­ket­ing mes­sage to the right users in a way that is not inva­sive, but use­ful and in the best case, sought-after. Dat­ing back to the begin­ning of the social-mar­ket­ing rev­o­lu­tion of the 2000s, many old-school mar­keters dis­missed Face­book and Twit­ter as unnec­es­sary. Now those mar­keters are on both of those social net­works, as well as LinkedIn, Insta­gram, Pin­ter­est, and Snapchat, among a pletho­ra of oth­er avail­able options depend­ing on your audi­ence and niche. Let’s exam­ine one rel­a­tive­ly new chan­nel that has been hav­ing mon­u­men­tal suc­cess, Snapchat. We’ll ana­lyze how it works and what mar­keters are doing to make sure they are suc­cess­ful­ly uti­liz­ing it even if they don’t have a big bud­get to work with.

Brands Discover Snapchat

Snapchat added its “Dis­cov­er” fea­ture in Jan­u­ary 2015, an ad-sup­port­ed fea­ture made up of videos and pho­tos pub­lished by out­side orga­ni­za­tions as well as by Snapchat-hired jour­nal­ists and video­g­ra­phers. Dis­cov­er allows major pub­lish­ers — “cre­atives” as Snapchat calls them in its release of the fea­ture — like CNN, Com­e­dy Cen­tral, ESPN, MTV and Vice to share sto­ries with all of Snapchat’s users. These sto­ries can also be re-shared by users to their fol­low­ers. Brands that aren’t one of the 20 pub­lish­ers on the Dis­cov­er fea­ture have had to get cre­ative to find what works best in their mar­ket­ing approach on the always-expir­ing social plat­form, though.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell (user­name taco­bell on Snapchat) recent­ly offered its users some menu hacks on Snapchat. A clever and sim­ple way to not only grow its com­pa­ny base direct­ly, but also cre­ate engage­ment with users.

Taco Bell menu hacks on Snapchat

It prop­er­ly end­ed its menu-hack­ing mini-series with a call-to-action (CTA) to increase engage­ment:

Taco Bell on Snapchat

Once a user mes­sages the brand account, the brand can reply with a pre-con­struct­ed Snap con­tain­ing a dis­count code or oth­er CTA. This is the mod­ern-day coupon of Snapchat.


Wrestling enter­tain­ment giant WWE, which has been com­mit­ted to a wide vari­ety of dif­fer­ent social media plat­forms over the years, has also done its part to stay rel­e­vant on Snapchat. The com­pa­ny often posts Snaps from events, both tele­vised and non-tele­vised, sim­i­lar to the images and videos it shares on its oth­er social chan­nels, but with unique Snapchat fea­tures like geofil­ters and emo­jis over its images.

WWE on Snapchat

WWE, like many oth­er brands, also uses the plat­form to rein­force hash­tags. This increas­es the expo­sure of its con­tent and increas­es engage­ment with users.

IHOP & Cheerios

Restau­rants exer­cise sim­i­lar tac­tics in their cross-chan­nel mar­ket­ing efforts. IHOP recent­ly pig­gy­backed on Nation­al Pan­cake Day with a hash­tag and event cov­er­age that includ­ed a cameo from the com­pa­ny pres­i­dent, a reminder to grab free pan­cakes from the near­est IHOP, and more.

National Pancake Day IHOP on Snapchat

Brands also have the abil­i­ty to get unique spon­sored fil­ters added to the app for a spe­cif­ic amount of time and for the right price, of course. Some of the most pop­u­lar brands have uti­lized these, includ­ing Chee­rios for Nation­al Cere­al Day and IHOP for Nation­al Pan­cake Day.

Cheerios & IHOP on Snapchat

Effective Snapchat Marketing Tactics

Oth­er effec­tive Snapchat tac­tics include con­tests, behind-the-scenes con­tent, celebri­ty takeovers, prod­uct pre­views and details sur­round­ing cus­tomer ser­vice issues. Some tac­tics work bet­ter than oth­ers depend­ing on the indus­try and prod­ucts, but there is cer­tain­ly no lack of cre­ativ­i­ty for the best mar­ket­ing on Snapchat. Like many social chan­nels, Snapchat gives users the feel of a per­son­able line of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with a famous per­son, fig­ure­head or brand itself. This is why celebri­ty takeovers are fair­ly com­mon and rather suc­cess­ful, not just on Snapchat but on social net­works like Twit­ter and Insta­gram, too.

Sam Hollingsworth

Written by Sam Hollingsworth

SEO Manager, Acronym

Sam Hollingsworth is an SEO Manager at Acronym with an emphasis on client relations, content marketing, and social media.

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