You guys, I’m telling you, this Snapchat thing is going to be big. In 10 years when everyone’s grandma is using it, I want you to remember that we had this conversation. And then I want you to send me a Snap telling me how awesome I am.
A quick primer if you’ve never seen the little yellow Snapchat ghost before. Basically it’s the latest craze in social media. And while it started out as a sort of text and photo messaging service that attracted lots of sexters because the messages disappear immediately after you open them, it has since evolved.
These days, the exciting feature is the stories. Basically you can take photos and short videos of your day and then post them to your story, where they are viewable for 24 hours to all your followers. And then after a day, they disappear.
You can save your videos and photos to your phone library, but if you don’t they will be gone forever after 24 hours. Personally, I find it to be an amazing storytelling medium, and you should definitely be following @CandyIndustry on Snapchat for stories about candy shows, factory tours and new products.
Seriously, go follow us. I’ll wait.
Ok. Now that we’ve gotten the important stuff out of the way, we need to talk about something called a Snapchat filter. Basically, if you take a photo or a video of yourself, you can add a little filter to it that overlays things like a cool graphic of the Chicago skyline if you’re in the Windy City, or, on Feb. 14, a little Valentine’s Day candy hearts design. It’s pretty fun.
They also offer video filters called lenses that do things like turn you into Hawaiian girl, or make it seem like your face is a robot.
And here’s the thing, brands are getting in on this. Companies are sponsoring these filters and lenses for a day, and then users are voluntarily using the various brands’ images on their photos and videos. The result is a hybrid of native advertising and old-fashioned marketing.
I’ve personally seen filters for Hollister, Pretty Little Liars, and last week, there was a lens for Skittles.
The Skittles one was tied into the candy company’s Super Bowl commercial, and it let users turn their face into a portrait made entirely of the fruity candy, a la the Steven Tyler Skittles portrait in the commercial. Click the video above to see all the fun I had messing around with it.
Michelle Green, marketing communications manager for Wrigley, which owns Skittles, says the company decided to run a Snapchat lens campaign because it was a good fit for its target demographic.
“Our fans are playful in how they interact with Skittles and we know they love making things like pictures, recipes and stop-motion films using the product,” she explains. “Snapchat offered a way to channel that behavior online with a custom lens to help even more people to be fun and imaginative with Skittles.”
She said the Skittles filter reached 40 million users, and they even saw celebrities sharing it with their friends and fans.
But how much does it cost a company to sponsor a Snapchat filter? Well, they aren’t cheap. AdWeek reports that Snapchat is asking $750,000 from companies looking to run a filter, and the ad only lasts a day or so. For comparison, the article says that the masthead on YouTube sells for $500,000 a day.
On the other hand, they reach the ideal target market — teenagers. And they are drawing in fans who are choosing to interact with the images, as opposed to just scrolling past them looking for a makeup tutorial on YouTube.
Anecdotally, I can tell you that my 16-year-old sister loves the branded filters, and she is always telling me about the latest one and what it looks like and sharing images of her using it with her friends.
And I’ve had lot of fun with them as well. On the day of the Super Bowl, Gatorade ran a lens that made it look like someone was pouring a big orange bucket of the sports drink all over your head, and I thought it was so cool that I actually saved the video to my phone and then posted it to my Instagram and Facebook pages.
So yes, the ads are expensive. And yes they disappear. And yes, Snapchat is just one more thing that people who aren’t teenagers have to learn about it. But I’m telling, it’s going to be big, so you should probably get in on this. You’re welcome.