Should Your Brand Still Be on Snapchat?
By: Sophie Maerowitz
May 15, 2019
Over the last year, some marketers have pulled the plug on their brands’ Snapchat presence (or have reduced resources around it). One of their biggest pain points: Snapchat’s lack of native analytics compared to Instagram Stories, which started as a clone of Snapchat and has pulled many brands back into Mark Zuckerberg’s orbit.
This is understandable given the rate at which Facebook continues to turn Instagram Stories into a robust platform in its own right. Brands have taken differing routes to using the platform and measuring success in 2019—even those who have reduced or restricted the use of Snapchat for their organizations.
Carmen Collins, #SSU2019 speaker and senior social media and talent brand manager at Cisco, was frustrated by Snapchat’s scant analytics at the outset. “When we started, we were literally waiting until 23 hours and 55 minutes had passed to manually count the numbers,” Collins said. So, Cisco turned to third-party software: “We got smart and proved a need for a tool, and began using Delmondo [recently acquired by Conviva]. Their metrics were invaluable.”
After the Snapchat redesign in 2018 (which reportedly lost the platform millions of users), Cisco saw fewer peak unique views and a concurrent increase in Instagram Story metrics. “But we weren’t giving up on an award-winning program that easily,” said Collins.
With an eye to Snapchat’s youthful demographic, Cisco asked its 2018 summer interns to do Snapchat takeovers, arming them with specific guidelines, as well as the account username and the password. Cisco immediately saw an increase in peak unique views—back to pre-redesign levels—and a high completion rate.
After the summer, Cisco saw its Snapchat numbers decrease again. “When our content creators went back to school, we saw those two metrics drop, and with the uptick of Instagram Stories, we decided to focus our [Instagram] efforts and retire our Snapchat account,” said Collins.
Conviva—Cisco’s saving grace for Snapchat metrics—is among the few firms to crack the code in terms of measuring Snapchat efforts, benchmarking Snapchat organic and Discover channels for brands and media publishers. “For organic accounts, most clients measure success by looking at completion rate, peak unique views and screenshots,” said Nick Cicero, vice president of strategy.
Looking outside of the world of organic, at approximately $50,000 a day, Snapchat Discover is likely out of most brands’ price range. However—as one might expect given the price tag—Discover metrics are more robust and offer more angles for analysis than organic accounts, said Cicero.
“Specifically, we see publishers looking at subscriber growth from stories on Discover first and foremost,” said Cicero. Conviva’s clients look first for new followers and subscribers, followed by average time spent per story, shares, views on swipe up content and completion rate. Cicero added that his firm’s Snapchat Discover metrics also include demographic information for better targeting. (Brand marketers can get a free trial of Conviva’s social insights tool here).
Which begs the question: Should brands without a budget for Discover be using Snapchat at all? “I don’t think Snapchat is dead, quite the contrary,” said Collins. Keeping the primary goal of talent recruitment in the forefront, Collins’ team is still “review[ing] our metrics consistently and mak[ing] the right choices for our needs. Snapchat may make us rethink our retirement as Facebook starts to get stricter with the Instagram algorithm, and as our audience changes. But we’ll use the metrics to guide us.”
Follow Sophie: @SophieMaerowitz
Follow Carmen: @CShirkeyCollins
Follow Nick: @nickcicero