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Snapchat logo with QR code background

Get snap-happy

If you’ve had the pleasure of seeing a dog-face or rainbow vomit lens and felt scared, confused, or indeed delighted, you have Snapchat to thank for that. Social Media Officer, Hayley Devlin explains the who, what, and why of Snapchat – the five-year-old chat app that’s surprised everyone.

Snapchat is having its moment in the sun. Since launching in 2011 the platform has grown rapidly and is hailed as the go to app for teens and millennials. In 2015 Snapchat’s estimated project revenue was $50 million and its creators turned down an offer of $3 billion from Facebook. Not bad for disappearing images.

But why? What is it is about Snapchat that’s taken it from faddy-app to social media powerhouse? And why is it that ‘old’ people just can’t seem to get on board? (As of March 2015 over 71% of all Snapchat users were under the age of 34).
On a personal level, Snapchat is great fun and is a growing platform; in 2015 it had 100 million daily active users. It’s a platform that businesses and organisations simply can’t choose to ignore.
Snapchat is like being the star of your own reality TV show. To me, that’s why so many teens and millennials can’t seem to put it down. Thanks to the ‘My Story’ function, we’ve been able to film our lives in 10 second clips and pictures and leave them for all our friends to see for 24 hours. Snapchat gives users the chance to share intimate/funny/personal moments with the people they care about in a way that feels more personal and private than Facebook or Instagram.
Snapchat is creative. The ‘draw’ feature (the pencil icon that appears in the top right corner when once you’ve taken a picture) allows users to turn their pictures into works of art and ‘face swap’ has turned into a craze. If you haven’t had a play with the face filters yet, I’d highly recommend entertaining yourself for 15 minutes or so. Simply switch to your front facing camera, hold a finger on your face until Snapchat recognises it and swipe through the filters you want.

The real, and new found, power of Snapchat comes when you step away from the personal and begin harnessing it to reach a much wider audience. Some of the biggest players in online news and entertainment produce content for Snapchat’s ‘Discover’ channel on a daily basis. Celebrities such as Chris Pratt, the Kardashian-Jenner clan and DJ Khaled (king of Snapchat) are using the platform to deliver self produced content straight to their fans. Football teams and brands are also on board with the likes of Manchester City, FC Barcelona, Selfridges, Nike and McDonalds all creating content to add to their ‘Stories’ on daily basis. You can even follow the White House.
It’s also being used for good. In India, Rajshekar Patil, Avani Parekh and Nida Sheriff are using the app in a way that allows young people in abusive relationships to reach out to them and get help they wanted to create a helpline that young people would feel safe enough to use. To add them and see for yourselves just search for ‘lovedoctordotin’ on the app.

In February, Snapchat released it’s ‘On Demand Geofilters’ and opened up another way to advertise on the platform. Geofilters are banners you can add to your pictures according to where you are. To access them you have to have allowed Snapchat location access and all major cities, landmarks and universities have them.The Shard with Snapchat Geofilter applied. Text reads, ' The City'.

These Geofilters are free and known as ‘Community Geofilters’. ‘On Demand Geofilters’ give brands the opportunity to pay for and create their own geofilters set to a location of their choosing. Individuals can do this on too, with Snapchat touting weddings as the perfect excuse for something so personalised. With prices starting from $5 they’ve made them affordable and accessible. The process is fairly simply, you design your geofilter, upload it to Snapchat, select the date and how long you’d like it to run, select the location, and send it off to Snapchat for approval or denial. If they deny, they’ll usually give you a reason why.

 It was a no brainer that Macmillan had to have Geofilters for the upcoming London Marathon, so I worked with the creative team to get a few designed. We’ve got four filters being used across the day, so if you happen to be at our cheer points in Monument, Embankment or Canary Wharf, be sure to snap and use our filter. There’s also one at the finish line. You can find them by taking a picture and then swiping left or right until you find ours.

Beyond the frivolous fun of Geofilters, Snapchat opens Macmillan up to a wider audience. It’s an opportunity to showcase our various challenge events and adds extra buzz to our fundraising events. It gives us the opportunity to run intimate Q&As with our experts that will remain on the platform for 24 hours at a time. We already know that our main demographic is women aged 35-55 and at a time where we’re trying to get younger audiences to care about our cause, Snapchat could be the key we need.

Snapchat how-tos

Find a Geofilter:

  1. Take a photo.
  2. Swipe right or left until you come across an image like the one above.
  3. Press the arrow in the bottom right corner, select who you’d like to send it to and send your snap.

Take a selfie with a filter:

  1. Switch to front facing camera by tapping the camera icon in the top right hand corner.
  2. Hold a finger on your face until Snapchat recognises it.
  3. Swipe through filters (rainbow vomit is my favourite).
  4. Press the circular button to take a picture or hold it down to film.
  5. Tap the arrow in the bottom right corner, select who you’d like to send you snap to and send it!


Three different Snapchat lenses - Aged, rainbow vomit, and scary.

Questions about this post? Leave us a comment below or tweet us @mac_digital. We’d love to hear from you!

Big Vinnie meets Little Vinnie

Ever wondered what hardman Vinnie Jones was like as a child? Haven’t we all? Now thanks to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), big Vinnie meets little Vinnie.

Following the success of their previous CPR awareness video (which we blogged about earlier) the BHF has created a kidsspoof complete with mini henchmen to encourage the teaching of CPR in schools. And big Vinnie even makes a guest appearance.

Tig Notaro – LIVE! (rhymes with give…)

Wow! This weekend I listened to one of the most incredible things. American comic, Tig Notaro, had been booked to play at a comedy club when, just before the gig was due, she was diagnosed with cancer in both breasts. Somehow she agreed to perform and delivered one of the most arresting, emotionally honest and funny shows I’ve ever heard. Bringing in the fact that her mother had recently died and she’d split up with her long term girlfriend, the audience reaction goes from nervous laugther, to openly upset, then appreciating the humour she uses in her fight to understand and deal with the situation through to a truly supportive, group protection of her. The show’s available for download here

with a share of the profits going to cancer research or read the Huffington Post article here. Astonishing.

You’re invited


Here’s the new campaign from Visit Britain. Using ‘well British’ celebrities, they’re hoping to entice tourists to come on over to the British Isles and spend loads of euros, dollars or rubles in what they promise is a wonderfully vibrant and exciting place. There is a slight London skew though, it would have been nice to see Cheryl Cole chatting in her (now) trademark Geordie drawl about the merits of the north.

The interviews are sincere and well presented, but with the exception of Dame Judy Dench, they don’t really offer me any inside info that I couldn’t read about in a second-hand Lonely Planet guide. Where are the secret tips, the bits of hidden Britain that Johnny Foreigner wouldn’t know about? If you’re using local experts, get them to divulge the real hidden gems that make Britain a land of such wonderful contrasts. Surely it’s the lesser-known but local-approved treasures that get the tourists excited enough to jump on the next EasyJet to Stanstead?

It occurs to me that the celebrities interviewed know all this but have strategically made a very important decision not to share. They obviously don’t want their favourite hangouts overrun with tourists – best to send them to Leicester Square instead.

PS Why is Dev Patel wearing lipstick?

What’s small, furry and fashionable and packed with info?

OK, it’s not that furry, but Rabbit – the new pocket-sized newsletter for our celebrity supporters – does come loaded with stories and facts. And as it’s shortly heading out to our rapidly-growing list of celebrity supporters it’s bound to be seen in all the best places this autumn.

Hopefully the little chap will help encourage even more A-, B- and C-listers to get on board with Macmillan, and those already involved to do even more.

Rabbit is a Lara and Alex co-production.

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