Ephemeral Snapchat

Two for Tuesday: Ephemeral Advertising

Brands have been following consumers wherever they go for years, and recently that has meant social media more than anywhere else. Likewise, they’ve been experimenting with how best to reach consumers through these services. Facebook posts work best with pictures; Twitter can be used to speak directly to an audience and address concerns, etc. But a new crop of social networks that make use of shorter or ephemeral messaging raise a new challenge for marketers. If the messages are more transient than ever before, how can they be remembered?

This Two for Tuesday, we’re highlighting two newer platforms that marketers are trying to utilize for ephemeral messaging.


The poster boy for ephemeral social media, SnapChat is not unlike traditional texting. You only communicate with people you want to when you want to, except the messages disappear after a set period of time (2-10 seconds). While SnapChat CEO Evan Spiegel has hinted that advertising could be coming soon to the service, it’s unclear how that functionality would be implemented.

With no set system in place, brands have already begun playing with SnapChat to find new ways to reach consumers. Frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles took a coupon campaign they’d devised for Twitter and applied it to SnapChat where they believe it worked better. Consumers were asked to snap a picture of their frozen yogurt and send it to the 16 Handles account to receive a coupon in response. The company said they preferred doing this on SnapChat over Twitter because the temporary nature of the images would help prevent people passing the coupon along without participating.


Twitter’s video offshoot, Vine, makes recording super simple and confines all shots to six seconds. Twitter is no stranger to incorporating advertising into its streams, but it’s slow to roll out similar features to their video product. That hasn’t kept brands from trying to generate buzz.


20th Century Fox was one of the first to experiment when it issued a teaser for the release of the trailer for The Wolverine. Volkswagen encouraged attendees of the 2013 New York International Auto Show to submit Vines about their cars to a website that drew thousands of viewers. Peanut Butter Co. similarly issued a Vine demonstrating how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day to promote their coupon campaign that generated 300,000 impressions and 6,000 coupon downloads. Right now most Vine ads are found via Twitter, so it doesn’t yet stand on its own in terms of reaching the audience. And now that Instagram Video has emerged as a Vine competitor, we’re sure to see more experimentation in this area, considering brands already use Instagram to market through images and hashtags.

It’s hard to say how effective these new marketing tactics are since there aren’t metrics in place to measure these new services. And users may not be so responsive to messaging in apps where advertising has yet to be the norm. Marketers may even be concerned with the longevity of these services. Usage of the apps mentioned above tends to come at the expense of established social networks. By the time advertisers get a grip on SnapChat, the service may end up fading from use like the messages it sends.

Cover Photo Source: Cassandra Bremer – SnapChat Sign at Venice Beach, California

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Kaz is a Junior Executive at SJG. He earned BAs in English Writing and Business Marketing at Illinois Wesleyan University and is currently pursuing an MA in Advertising at The University of Texas at Austin. Outside the office, Kaz consumes gobs of media including but not limited to books, magazines, music, movies and television.[/author_info] [/author]