By Alistair Errington
Over the years, Snapchat has consistently defied its most ardent critics. The platform has grown from strength to strength rather than fading away as existing social networks mimic its features, and new ones, such as TikTok, target the same audience. This illustrates how people want more options and choices when it comes to social media (something that its critical advertisers understand).
As recorded by Statista, Snapchat boasts 347 million daily active users in Q2 2022, up more than 50 million from the same quarter in 2021. Data Reportal also sheds light on Snapchat’s presence with a total advertising reach of more than 617 million people. This puts it in the top 10 social networks globally. It is, in other words, a platform that advertisers simply cannot afford to ignore. This is as true on the African continent as it is anywhere else.
In Nigeria, for example, Snapchat has more than 9 million users in addressable reach for advertising. This puts it on par with Instagram, and well ahead of platforms such as LinkedIn.
With this in mind, it is worth looking at what makes Snapchat so popular, why it’ll continue to be a good marketing option, and how advertisers can best take advantage of it.
Embracing technological evolution
The key to Snapchat’s success in recent years has been its willingness to continue evolving and embracing new technologies as they emerge. In particular, it utilises augmented reality (AR) in ways that appeal to its user base. Snapchat is a camera-first app, encouraging its audience to create personal authentic content featuring themselves.
For instance, some 250 million users make use of AR tools that allow them to add 3D experiences in the real world and overlay graphics on images every day. But the platform’s AR ambitions go far beyond augmenting the world only for entertainment. Earlier this year, Snapchat announced updates to its AR shopping features which make it easier for users to try out AR versions of a retailer’s product and to buy directly from the AR experience on Snapchat.
As a result, Snapchat isn’t just a place where brands can advertise to their customers. In fact, it’s more like a virtual showroom that allows people to see what products would look like on them or in their homes. ‘Product trial’ has a whole new meaning.
But even its more prosaic offerings give advertisers a lot to work with. Take Spotlight, its short-form video offering, for example. Spotlight offers a place where an infinite stream of full-screen videos can be engaged with, tailored to the user’s interests. It saw instant success, growing 60% in activity year on year since mid-2021. Based on this growth, Snapchat announced earlier this year that they were testing ads on Spotlight, having successfully rolled them out in a revenue-sharing model with Snap Star creators.
Hyper-connected digital natives
It’s also important to highlight that Snapchat has been developing its technology for 10 years, and its followers have remained loyal through that evolution. Retaining a community that has grown with the app, Snapchat capitalises on the millennial generation and is constantly accruing a younger generation of users due to the cutting-edge experiences it offers.
Zooming into Africa, these younger generations are becoming the centre of attention for Africa. The majority of purchasing power will reside in this audience, not to mention how connectivity in these countries becomes ubiquitous. Nigeria serves as a prime example of a market that is well positioned for digital growth – both in digital users and an audience to be capitalised on. With the combination of internet penetration currently sitting around 51%, and over 70% of the users on Snapchat being 21+ in Nigeria, the opportunity for advertisers is there in the short term to bring returns and prepped for the long term to invest in. Bundle this with a median age of 18 and the expected addition of 35 million more internet users by 2026 in Nigeria, and Snapchat anchors itself in the helm of a booming economy.
There is also a very exciting convergence taking place in the digital sphere with this spike in internet users: by 2025, nearly 75% of the global population and all social/communication apps will be frequent AR users. Right now, Snapchatters spend over 3 minutes a day engaging with AR experiences alone and more than 30 minutes on the app every day – nevermind the fact that they open the camera over 30 times a day resulting in 2.4M snaps every minute around the world. And one of the most interesting nuggets to these behaviors is that it’s done by an audience barely found anywhere else. On any given day, 95% of Snapchat users aren’t on TikTok, 84% of Snapchat users aren’t on Twitter and 47% of Snapchat users aren’t on Facebook. Snapchat hosts a unique audience.
The right messaging with the right partnerships
Of course, advertisers can’t simply hope to slap their existing messaging onto Snapchat templates and expect great results. They have to ensure that the messaging matches the platform and that they’re reaching the people they want with it.
Here, the right partner can help. Brands should look to work with a media sales partner that not only understands platforms such as Snapchat inside out but also has extensive experience working in growth markets like Nigeria.
In doing so, they can reap the full benefits of being on a rapidly growing platform that’s becoming increasingly significant on the African continent.
Alistair Errington is Snap Partner Director at Ad Dynamo by Aleph