Snapchat as an Influential Tool for Marketing Communication: An Exploratory Analysis of Brands Usage: An Abstract
Social media is an influential tool that can give more reliability on consumers’ perceptions of products and brands (Goldsmith & Horowitz, 2006; Mangold & Faulds, 2010). Many marketers today are communicating and advertising using different types of social media sites which are authentic and can lead to better brand knowledge among consumers and fans. For instance, Snapchat is one of the most unique social platforms today among young users. In a time span of 2 years from 2014 to 2016, Snapchat usage rose from 40% to 70% within the 18–24 age group (Weinberg, 2016). Snapchat, due to its ephemeral nature, presents specific features that offer a new and unique way for young users to communicate; hence, this platform presents a powerful opportunity to marketers for reaching millennials. This study examines how active brands on Snapchat are using this platform for marketing communication purposes.
This exploratory study uses a quantitative content analysis technique to code and examine 363 snaps among brands on Snapchat. A sample of eight brands (food and beverage, travel, retail, beauty, industrial machinery, and e-commerce industry) were chosen. Findings give insights on how social media concepts and other factors are employed by companies for promoting branding in Snapchat. Overall, brands are starting to make emotional connections with fans through storytelling and post-triggered content that is entertained and informative. Brands are using Snapchat for posting content in real time that is authentic and spontaneous, but they are not taking fully into account innate features of the platform that can boost audience resonance. Findings also showed that Snapchat was poorly used among brands for community generation through the engagement of dialogues and conversations and for encourage mobilization, which engage users to act or do something in favor of the company. Companies eager to increase its brand equity should concentrate on efforts to build awareness to their marketing by focusing on the social media concepts (influence takeover, practical value content, triggers, storytelling, mobilization) (Berger, 2013; Lovejoy & Saxton, 2012), which are elements that contribute to brand awareness.
This work is the first study in analyzing marketing communication practices in Snapchat among brands using a quantitative content analysis technique. It has implications for theory in serving as a starting point in the discussion and application on how firms can use ephemeral social media platforms like Snapchat to boost message resonance and promote brand awareness and knowledge.