Our Social Media Officer, Jessie Donnelly, discusses the value of Snapchat for charities and why it shouldn’t be dismissed.
Like all the other big social media platforms, Snapchat is becoming a word that everybody knows. It’s the home of puppy filters and the birthplace of the now ubiquitous Stories feature. Still, there’s no way Snapchat can be a seriously helpful tool for brands, right?
The sheer numbers of Snapchat’s audience prove it’s a mistake to ignore it. The app has a global audience somewhere in the region of 170 million – if Snapchat were a country populated by its users, it would have the eighth largest population in the world. By the end of 2016, around 11.2 million of those users were in the UK, which is expected to rise to over 13 million by the end of 2017. It’s estimated that a quarter of all UK smartphone users have Snapchat installed, which will rise to a third by the end of the year. That’s a pretty big audience!
For us here at Macmillan, the news is even better as Snapchat is dominated by users outside of our usual demographics. 51% of adult Snapchat users are aged 34 or under and 23% of adults on Snapchat in the UK are aged 18-24. In the longer term, this is the next generation of people affected by cancer but, in the short term, it’s an audience of potential volunteers, fundraisers and interns.
But what does that huge, committed user base mean for organisations like Macmillan?
For a platform that’s largely built on content of 10 seconds or less, Snapchat holds its audience – the average time spent on the app by users is 25-30 minutes every day! That means there’s plenty of time to reach your audience and boost your brand awareness on Snapchat, and there are two main ways to do this: Snapchat Stories and On-Demand Geofilters.
Snapchat Stories are a great way to tell the story of a day or an event in small bite-sized installments that can be viewed (again and again) by your audience until they expire after 24 hours. The temporary nature of Stories is a great way to spotlight events and give people an insight into life within Team Macmillan, while the somewhat less polished nature of it all gives the content a more authentic edge. As it’s quick content that disappears, you can be playful and more humorous than on other channels (especially as the audience is younger) while it’s also a great platform to introduce people from around the organisation who our audience might not ordinarily meet (from interns to volunteers to the social media team itself!).
While our Snapchat following is still relatively small here at Macmillan, our viewing figures are consistently growing on our Stories, as is our number of followers so it’s definitely a platform for us to continue building on! The only major drawback to Stories is that the content is only viewable to those who already follow you, but that’s where On-Demand Geofilters come in.
If you’ve ever used Snapchat, you’ve likely added a geofilter at some point. Most towns and cities have at least one, as do landmarks, airports and a whole heap of other places. Tacking a geofilter onto your Snap is a fun way of letting your friends and followers know where you are (perfect for making people jealous if you’re off on holiday!).
But aside from the geofilters that Snapchat provides, it’s possible to design and upload your own to be visible to people in a certain location at a certain time. Compared to Snapchat Stories, this is an excellent way to boost awareness of your brand as they’re visible to everyone in that location at that time, not just your existing followers. Cost-wise, geofilters are an incredibly efficient to spend money – unless you’re competing for prime territory like Buckingham Palace, you can generally cover the space you want for less than £20 per day.
Even better, that geofilter will be seen by whoever a user sends it to or whoever views a story it’s been added to. This is how geofilters set up for events attended by several hundred people can eventually be seen by thousands of people. Take the Macmillan Volunteer Conference earlier this year – though the conference was attended by around 400 people, the geofilter we designed to run on the evening of the Awards Ceremony was seen more than 39,000 times!
Not every geofilter will perform as well as this – even we’re slightly surprised by it. The number of times they’re used can’t be predicted, but competing with several other brands (as could happen at big events like the London Marathon) can have an effect. But as a cheap, fun way to get your brand out there, on-demand geofilters are a fantastic tool!