What the search feature means for brands on Snapchat

16K Agency founding partner, James Towers
By 16K Agency founding partner, James Towers | 23 January 2017
James Towers

Ahead of Snapchat’s 2017 IPO the platform is impressing with metrics and search, which is all good news for brands and marketers.

Last year was a big year for Snapchat. We saw the continued rise in use and popularity of the platform, their foray into hardware with Spectacles and some fairly blatant copying by Instagram with the launch of stories; perhaps the highest form of flattery.

2016 also saw the experimentation phase really kick off for brands using Snapchat. Marketers seemed to put aside their usual thirst for metrics letting their FOMO firmly take hold. This was a golden era for Snapchat, as the private company could remain coy on data, earnings, metrics and insights yet command staggering rates for sponsored lenses and geo-targeted filters. However Snapchat was growing up fast and realising the frustrations of many marketers with the lack of third party auditing on other major social platforms.

To date Snapchat has enlisted the help of no fewer than 15 partners including Moat, Nielsen and Millward Brown to help drive independent analytics. At the same time a series of data fumbles from mature platforms like Facebook and Twitter only added to the notion that Snapchat is listening to what brands and marketers want and it’s willing to act fast in delivery.

A bugbear of users, brands and marketers has been the fairly awful search and discovery functions within Snapchat. These were major drawbacks seeing most users need to promote outside of Snapchat with the aim of bringing in and building their audience within. Content posted to the platform to a small audience was unlikely to garner the desired eyeballs and virality was hindered with the lack of sharing in app.

With the 2017 IPO looming for team Snap, avenues for monetisation need to be realised and established. Snapchat’s new search feature as reported by Tech Crunch is no band-aid fix. It’s a well-designed and welcomed update that’s rolling out over Android and soon to be followed on iOS. Search might give advertisers the opportunity to pay to be featured. This would be an easy to manufacture income stream for the social media darling and something most brands would happily fork out money for.

Search will improve the ecosystem

The new search feature will reduce the need for users, brands and marketers to reach out to their audience off-platform. It’s this factor, coupled with better clarity around audience insights and content consumption that will see brands tip more money into the platform just as the experimentation phase dies down and the hard questions get asked. The search functionality will deliver insights about what content certain demographics seek out and consume, what they share, when and with whom. Brands will use this to refine the content they produce.

Brands confident with Snapchat are set to reap the rewards

It’s time brands sitting on the edge with Snapchat jump in. The marketers that hung up their data capes for a while and threw themselves into the learning pool now have more knowledge on what does and doesn’t work here. There is less focus on the ability to pull in an audience from elsewhere and more merit given to slick in-app content creation.

Snapchat may have been bruised by Instagram Stories milestone of 150 million daily active users being achieved so quickly, but it’s listening, reacting and gearing up for a major 2017.

16K Agency founding partner and Kwickie head of agency, James Towers

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