5 Ways To Maximise Your Online Retail Visibility Using Snapchat

By: Lengow

Less than twenty years ago, retailers had few options for advertising, with billboards, television and radio ads being the dominant mediums. The rise of the smartphone and tablet, as well as the creation of social media opened new doors of opportunity in the ecommerce world. From Facebook and Instagram, to Snapchat and Pinterest, retailers now have the opportunity to sell and advertise their products through social commerce.

Blog articles in this series

How Online Retailers Successfully Can Use Facebook Dynamic Ads

How To Drive Clicks With Pinterest By Creating The Ultimate Pin

This article will discuss 5 ways to maximise your online retail visibility using Snapchat.


What is social commerce?

Social commerce refers to the use of social networks to aid in the path to purchase. This can be anything from social media ads to drive traffic to your ecommerce site, using social media influencers to create more buzz around your product, or selling directly on social media platforms. A study conducted by Sprout Social revealed that over 60% of people across generations are likely to make a purchase from a brand that they follow on social media, which goes to show that social commerce has immense potential for brands to reach a wider audience.

A study by eMarketer revealed that 80% of UK internet users interact with brands on social media, while 12% “consult social media sites every time they want to make a purchase”. Social media plays an increasingly important role in the consumer buying journey and it is therefore important for retailers to understand how social commerce can help them drive their sales and reach a wider audience.

The rise of social commerce has led to consumers connecting more directly with brands, with round-the-clock interactions creating more personal customer-brand relationships. Online retailers need to ensure that they are making the most of the opportunities available to them in the different social media platforms.

Our series on social commerce will look at various social media platforms and how online retailers can use these platforms to increase their sales, gain greater visibility and connect with their customers. We begin by taking a look at Snapchat, a messaging app centered around sharing photos and videos that can last for up to 10 seconds.

The Snapchat Phenomenon

With 166 million average daily active users globally, Snapchat continues to attract an increasing amount of consumers who spend an average of 25-30 minutes using the app daily. The app allows ‘Snapchatters’ to send 10 second video clips or photos, which are deleted after being viewed. The ephemeral nature of the app proves to be popular amongst a relatively young Snapchat audience (over 50% of users in the US are under 25), with 3 billion snaps being sent daily.

In 2016, the app introduced ecommerce ads which give retailers the opportunity to be a part of the Snapchat phenomenon through vertical ad formats that can be tailored to their objectives and increase customer interaction.

How Can Brands Use Snapchat to Drive Sales and Increase Visibility?    

1. Target the Right Audience

Having access to the right audience is crucial to achieve a good ROI. With Snapchat, marketers have the option to streamline their ad targeting to a range of audiences through interest category targeting, basic and advanced demographic targeting, and targeting according to location and device attributes. This means that retailers can use Snapchat to target specific audiences with a range of interests, for example reality TV enthusiasts, University graduates or consumers who visit a certain location.

Similar to features available on Facebook and Instagram, the social network also offers Custom audiences which build audiences based on your data.

Marketers can make the most of Snap audience match, Lookalike audiences and Snap engagement audiences, which enable retailers to match data from existing contacts, target Snapchat users with similar characteristics to existing contacts, and engage with users who have interacted with Snap Ads, Geofilters or lenses in previous campaigns.

Brands can use these targeting metrics help to get their product or brand message seen by the right people at the right time. For example, in 2016, Smirnoff partnered with Snapchat during Wireless, Reading and Leeds festivals in order to target an audience of UK Snapchat users over the age of 18. The precise targeting lead to over 3.9 million lens plays, 2.9 million lens views and more than 979 thousand Snap Ads Views.

2. Drive app downloads and sales

A study by Yahoo Flurry Analytics revealed that among smartphone users, 90% of time spent on mobile is spent using apps. As mcommerce continues to grow, apps are being used at an increasing rate by online shoppers, for example, a study by Demandware shows that customers who use ecommerce apps interact with retailers more than 2.8X more often that customers using a mobile website. There is no doubt that apps are playing an increasingly significant role in ecommerce, as having an omnichannel presence becomes more of a necessity in the retail world.

Apps promise more engagement with consumers, in addition to inspiring customer loyalty as four in five mobile shoppers have used a retailer’s app instead of a web browser.

Online retailers with a dedicated app are therefore tasked with encouraging consumers to download and interact with their apps in order to increase sales. This is where Snapchat comes in. The social network offers a “Snap Ads + App install” option, which allows retailers to create video or still ads with an ‘install now’ option that opens an embedded App Store or Google Play Store page. With a simple tap, customers can install your retail app in the background.

Retailers don’t have to stick to the ‘install now’ option, but can select from a range of 9 call-to-action buttons, including install now, shop now and order now. What does this mean for retailers? The Snap Ads can be used to attract consumers through an immersive format, while the call-to-action button gives users the chance to interact directly with the ads by downloading the retailer app. 

3. Increase web visits with Snapchat shoppable apps

Social media has great influencing power when it comes to consumer purchasing decisions, as a study by ODM group points out that 74% of consumers rely on social networks for guidance on their next purchases.

In 2016, following the footsteps of Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat made its transition into the ecommerce world by launching the Snap Ads + Web View feature in the platform. The feature gives retailers the opportunity to use deep-linking in their Snap Ads, providing users with immediate access to their pre-loaded site when swiping up. The “Snap Ads + Web View” format features a greater number of call to action buttons than the app downloads format, including buy tickets, get now and book now.

In addition to increasing web visits, Snapchat autofills contact information, including name, email address and phone number, into lead-generation forms, both saving the consumer’s time and efforts while giving retailers vital customer information. The “Snap Ads + Web View” creates a direct response for customers, taking out the tedious task of filling in their contact details for a retailer. Therefore, this deep-linking web format is an effective option for promoting a particular product range on your site.

4. Boost traffic to physical stores with geofilters

Retailers are constantly looking for ways to bridge the gap between online and offline commerce and drive more customers to their physical stores. Snapchat created Sponsored Geofilters which can reach consumers based on their geographical locations.

The social network describes Geofilters as “illustrated overlays that surprise and delight Snapchatters daily by allowing them to add a level of context to the moments they snap and share”. These filters identify a brand and location in an innovative and fun way.

There are a range of options, from event Geofilters, to chain campaigns at retail locations and national campaigns that can reach Snapchat users on a mass scale. By using Geofilters, your brand image is being distributed via the hundreds of millions of snaps that are shared between friends, essentially using word of mouth, (or word of snap), to showcase your brand to potential customers while encouraging them to visit your physical store locations.

This proves to be an effective marketing method, with a study by Ogilvy, Google and TNS revealing that 74% of shoppers “identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision”. So, does this method actually work?

Fast food chain Burger King turned to snapchat to announce the arrival of Grilled Dogs by creating two Geofilters : one to be used across the country, and the other to be used exclusively in Burger King stores in the US. The goal of the Geofilters was to drive in-store users to purchase the latest addition to the menu and share their experience with friends.

The results were clear, as 1 in 5 users who unlocked the Geofilter decided to share it with friends and 76% of people who remembered the geofilter said it made them happy.

5. Generate more buzz and excitement around your products

Hosting Snapchat exclusive competitions and giveaways can be an effective way to engage your customers with your brand while also raising awareness of your products. Snapchat is often used to watch stories, see how products are developed or find product inspiration. Therefore, using behind-the-scenes footage or creating stories based on your products for your Snapchat audience can help create a buzz and excitement about your brand.

For example, many fashion brands such as Burberry and retailers such as ASOS turn to snapchat to inspire their followers, provide sneak peeks of collections and share discount codes. Having a large Snapchat following can help build a brand’s audience and encourage sales, whether through sharing products on the different Snap Ads formats, directly on retailer Snapchat accounts, or through influencers with a significant Snapchat following.


Snapchat provides retailers with a range of advertising opportunities, and offers advice on creating vertical ads suitable for the social network. The mobile-only app encourages retailers to make the most of the increasingly mobile nature of customer buying habits while also strengthening customer-brand relationships through interactive communication.

We have seen how Snapchat can be used to drive in-store sales, app downloads and traffic to store websites and have also noted the importance of using snapchat as a channel of social interaction with your customers. However, Snapchat is relatively new to the ecommerce scene, and as clickz.com reported in 2016, the social network has a long way to go until it can be considered a real ecommerce platform. Nevertheless, by using Snapchat as a marketing tool, retailers can spread their brand image, encourage sales and build stronger relationships with their customers.

By: Lengow

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