Snapchat founder: ‘It’s weird when brands act like buddies’

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 22 June 2015

As advertisers dabble with Snapchat and try to figure out the best way to use the photo sharing platform to connect with users, founder Evan Spiegel advises them not to act like they’re people.

Speaking at Cannes Lions festival of Creativity today, Spiegel, who heads up the $19bn social app, said: “It comes back to the beginning of social networks that tried to build products for people and then jammed brands in there. So then if these things have been built for people to express themselves and connect, then [the assumption was that] a brand should just act like a person.

“But the thing that’s different with brands is that brands maintain the same identity and message for a long period of time, but change how they express it. But people change every day, so if you’re building a product for a brand it fundamentally has to be different than for a person. From a more human level we just think it’s weird when brands try to act like your pal. I mean be friendly, but not a buddy.”

When Snapchat was building its ad products, Spiegel said the benefit was that it had no legacy of online advertising to contend with. It wanted to build “the best mobile video product” and experimented with vertical video because no one else was doing it.

Spiegel claims that Snapchat’s advertisers see a 9 x higher completion rate with full screen vertical video.

“We were just stunned that most people were still taking desktop and TV content and jamming it into mobile. You could barely see what’s on the screen, and virtually no one rotates their phone [to watch the other way around],” he added.

Because ads appear in the middle of content “people are more likely to watch it” he claims, saying that it’s more effective than pre-rolls of in-stream ads that just get skimmed over.

In other Snapchat news, the Australian arm of fast food chain KFC today announced it has chosen youth orientated medium Snapchat to launch its Double Soft Shell Zinger Taco, with the snaps being viewed 3,000 times within the first three hours of being active on the app.

KFC Australia’s chief marketing and development officer, Nikki Lawson said that Snapchat made sense as a “natural extension” of the company's digital presence.

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