What can digital marketers learn from Snapchat?

Snapchat is one of the biggest mobile apps of the moment. The premise is simple: take a photograph on your phone and send it to one or multiple contacts. But there’s a twist: that image only remains on their screen for a matter of seconds before disappearing forever.

It’s easy to wonder what the point of all this is. It is mostly intended to be used among teenagers and younger adults as a way to share funny photos of themselves with each other. However, it would seem as though there is also some potential for digital marketing teams to learn some lessons from this very ephemeral form of social sharing.

Woman taking a photo on her phone

If you’re about to release a new product and want to keep your customers interested, how do you do this? Lots of companies will post clues or teasers to keep their customers guessing and engaging with the new product. So, what if you could take a photo of the product which would last for just a couple of seconds before disappearing again?

This concept could easily be transferred into the marketing world. If companies could add all of their clients on a similar, professional platform, they could send a quick snap of anything new in the pipeline and share it with their clients and customers before it vanishes. This would also help to prevent the image being leaked, as Snapchat informs the user when a screenshot of the image has been taken, so you would know that the image had only been seen by the intended recipients.

This ephemeral, fleeting encounter with something makes it all the more enticing and exclusive. Humans are naturally curious, and giving them something to pique that interest will get people talking and keen to see the final, finished product. This is why TV shows often display clips of next week’s show at the end of a programme – to get people talking and excited about the next episode. Giving customers a tantalising couple of seconds with your product is enough to get them interested, but not so much that they won’t care about the launch anymore.

Maybe the next step is a web version of Snapchat. A link which works for a couple of seconds before ceasing to work. What with Snapchat and Vine, which we recently wrote about, it would seem as though the visual side of marketing is storming its way to the front of the pack, and digital marketers should sit up and take notice of the increasing importance of visual marketing.