Snapchat for Brands: Strategic Guide for Measuring Success on Snap Stories

How do you define success on your social channels?

In the past, brands would focus on follower count. After all, a big following meant more reach (and provided the appearance that you had a huge fan base). It was an easy number to focus on — and a number that could be easily increased simply by spending money on advertising. The more money your brand spent on social ads, the more followers you could get.

This success metric started to decline as social channels (e.g. Facebook, Instagram) changed algorithms to reduce brand post visibility. It didn’t matter if your brand had 100,000 fans on Facebook because you couldn’t reach them without spending money. Fan counts became vanity numbers — and didn’t amount to anything else.

This is why there has been a shift to focus more on engagement numbers (which should have been the most important metric all along). Follower count is only important if you’re able to reach and engage with them. And this is especially true on Snapchat. It’s not about your Snapchat follower count – it’s about snap consumption (engagement).

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Snapchat for Brands: Strategies for Using Snapchat Memories to Build Community, Scale Snap Activity & Improve Branding

The announcement that anyone can now upload photos and videos from your phone’s camera roll might annoy some (who prefer the organic feel of Snapchat) — but could be a huge benefit for brands who have strict rules around content and needing various types of approvals before posting.

Personally, I like the organic nature of Snapchat — and hope Snapchat Memories won’t be abused. I’d hate to see Snapchat become streams of enhanced images and videos (a la Instagram).

Snapchat Memories should not replace your brand’s in-the-moment snap strategy — only enhance it.

Here are 5 ways brands can leverage memories:

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Snapchat for Brands: Focus on Building Relationships Through Private Snaps

Does your brand want to improve view counts and engagement on Snapchat?

The first step to building a thriving fan base on Snapchat is to focus on engaging with others. This means watching other people’s snaps — and snapping back with relevant comments, emojis and/or questions.

Brands need to be intentional about starting a conversation with their target audience in order to earn attention. And this will be more important as ever as the Snapchat algorithm begins to reduce brand visibility (similar to Facebook).

The mistake many brands make is they snap a story and leave (only to return to count views, screenshots, and reply to snaps). That strategy could work if you’re a huge brand with tons of adoring fans — but most brands don’t have that kind of fan base on Snapchat. Starting a community means initiating a conversation — and this is easy to do through private snaps. It just takes time.

Private snaps are the foundation for how Snapchat started — and it’s still the key way close friends communicate on this platform.

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Snapchat for Brands: Steps to Creating Storyboards to Improve Your Snap Stories

One of the best ways for brands to tell better stories on Snapchat is to plan ahead with a storyboard.

Some benefits of storyboarding your snaps:

Storyboarding helps you prepare everything you’ll need in advance (e.g. batteries, tripods, lenses, stylus, props, external microphones, music)

Storyboarding is helpful for brands in highly-regulated industries because story and text can get approved by compliance and legal teams

A storyboard can help you communicate your snap story to your team and senior leaders before an event

Storyboarding saves you time because you know in advance what text, filters, lenses, or emojis you’ll use

Storyboarding can help you plan out potential stories to tell at events, which is helpful when you’re too busy (or feeling less creative)

Storyboarding can help employees who are not comfortable on Snapchat and need direction

Obviously, you don’t need to storyboard every snap story — but storyboarding can be very helpful for times when you want to tell a really good story.

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Snapchat for Brands: How to Increase Snapbacks, Screenshots & Story Completion Rates

Many brands are struggling to figure out how to use Snapchat (and how to determine success).

Unlike other social channels, you don’t get “likes” or “shares” — so the only measure of engagement success is snapbacks (replies), screenshot rates (likes), views, story completion rates, and follower growth.

Here are 10 ways to drive more engagement on Snapchat:
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Snapchat for Brands: Strategic Ways to Grow Your Snapchat Following

Growing a relevant following on Snapchat is difficult.

It’s not as easy as getting a “like” on Facebook or a “follow” on Twitter or Instagram.

This is because it requires your fans to know your username (or have seen your snapcode) and — more importantly — have an incentive to follow you.

Here are seven strategies brands are using to boost their Snapchat following:

1. Promote your brand’s snapcode on other social networking sites

Whenever you launch a new social profile (or seek to grow awareness of another social channel), you need to let your fans know.

One of the simplest ways to do this is to use your snapcode as your profile picture — or feature your snapcode in posts. Brands doing a great job promoting their snaps on social networks include: Forbes, Cisco, MasterCard, Applebees, TOMS, IBM, Target, Taco Bell, and Redbull.

At Experian, we promote our snapcodes on Twitter, LinkedIn, Periscope, and YouTube Live events. We’re always seeing an increase in followers whenever we host live community events (Twitter, Periscope, YouTube Live) — so those are times when we are promoting our snapcodes even more.

When promoting your Snapchat codes, make sure you have great snaps in queue so new followers aren’t disappointed when looking to see what you snapped recently. It’s also important to give people an incentive for following.

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Snapchat for Brands: Steps to Increase Snap Views & Story Completion Rates

According to Snapalytics research, the recent autoplay update in Snapchat has increased visibility of more snap stories, but (as expected) also led to fewer people watching complete stories.

There are many theories on why viewership of complete stories declined. One simple reason is that users didn’t intentionally choose to watch that persons’ snaps; the story just started playing automatically. Another reason is because some people think they are watching a friend’s snaps — and all of a sudden are watching another person’s story — so they swipe away to go back to see what other friends are doing.

Research reveals that the Snapchat autoplay feature increased story opens by 2%, but reduced story completion by around 5%.

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Viewer Engagement: Factors Impacting Audience Attention in Online Learning

Do ever wonder how you can keep viewer attention when live streaming?

Do you want to improve viewer involvement in your online videos?

As the host of a weekly video chat for nearly three years, I’m always striving to increase attention and audience engagement. Some video engagement factors I’ve noticed include: the topic of the chat, day/time of the chat, length of the chat, featured guests in the chat, and number of viewers interacting during the event (e.g. conversations in the Blab sidebar or Twitter conversation).

Right now, I’m digging into research into different types of video productions that are similar to live-streaming. Last week, we looked at factors that increased engagement during live webinars. This week, I’m examining ways professors can improve video engagement in their online courses — and how many of these factors apply to live streamers.

Researchers analyzed a data set of 6.9 million video watching sessions of online courses to find out what factors led to more engagement in online lectures. The video lectures were given by professors at MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley.

Engagement on video content was based on time spent watching the video — and sometimes a video was followed-up by a multiple-choice question designed to check a student’s understanding of the video content.

Here is what the research revealed:

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Live Streaming: Strategies to Increase Audience Attention & Engagement Activity

How do you develop live streaming content that will capture your audience’s attention?

How do you keep viewers engaged and/or entertained so they want to spend time with you?

After all, distractions abound.

Technology is a siren that constantly pulls our attention away.

How many apps provide you notifications? How many emails do you need to read? Do you have any snaps to see? What about Facebook or Instagram updates to check out? Any phone call messages or text messages to respond to?

Some studies suggest that we have attention spans of 8.25 seconds.

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