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And the Winner of the Olympics is ... Snapchat

There’s a division in the Brandfolder office amongst those that ‘get’ Snapchat, and those of us that don’t. I’ll admit I was a late adopter to the platform, shamelessly viewing Snapchat how-to videos in an attempt to learn the app, because it was a little overwhelming at first. Like, why so much swiping? But fast forward a few months and I’m a giddy, addicted part of the platform’s 150 million daily active users, who on average spend at least 25 to 30 minutes on the app. Every. Single. Day.

My aha moment came during this year’s Summer Olympic Games. Snapchat’s behind the scenes coverage of the event has been nothing short of impressive. For the first time ever, US network NBC agreed to partner with Snapchat, allowing them to share video coverage of the event. According to Bloomberg Technology, “Snapchat will set up a dedicated channel on the mobile app for the games in Rio De Janeiro. Media company BuzzFeed will curate short clips and behind-the-scenes content into a Discover channel on the app for two weeks, while Snapchat creates daily ‘live stories’ using content from NBC, athletes and sports fans at the scene.”

This blanketed approach to covering the games from all angles has worked. Financial Times reported within the first seven days of the Olympics, almost 50 million viewers watched app coverage of the event. And nearly one in three daily users viewed Olympic coverage in Live Stories, showing engagement metrics that should pique rivals’ interests. (We’re talking about you, Facebook and Twitter.)

And last month, Snapchat rolled out some new features to further incent brands to advertise on their platform. One of the more notable features, Expandable Snap Ads, allows a user to swipe up on Snapchat’s ads to install a promoted app, watch a long-form video, visit a mobile website or view an instant article formatted specifically for Snapchat. This gives brands more flexibility to drive consumers towards their intended call to action.

With a rapidly increasing market share and engagement metrics outperforming those of competitors, Snapchat is certainly looking like social media’s newest homecoming king. A recent study conducted by MediaScience shows, “Snapchat ads garnered twice the visual attention of Facebook and 1.5 times more than Instagram. They were also 1.3 times more effective than YouTube. When compared to those platforms and TV, Snapchat ads generated greater emotional response and twice as much intent to purchase.”

These engagement metrics are hard to ignore. And with a slew of advertising options available to brands, if Snapchat isn’t part of your 2016/2017 marketing strategy, it should be. There are inexpensive options, from creating Snapchat Geofilters for as little as $5, all the way up to customized Sponsored Lenses, which can cost upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Our friends at Hootsuite have put together a great guide that can help you learn more about how you can make Snapchat work for your business.

So why does this matter? For me, it’s a game-changer. Brands now have the opportunity to generate real-time content that is directly relevant to their target audience. And by using the right channels to promote the right types of content, they can mimic the Snapchat/NBC approach to reach higher levels of engagement while collecting new data to better understand their consumers.

NBC leveraged Snapchat as a partner to grab market share of millennial viewers who are part of a generation more in love with their phones than their TVs. By providing them with unique coverage into the daily lives of Rio athletes, they hoped they’d become more interested in the overall Olympic games. NBC bet viewers would buy into Snapchat content which would translate to tuning into live event coverage on NBC. As evidenced earlier, it looks like this experiment is paying off. It’s also validating Snapchat as a legitimate player in the social media space.

As marketing channels continue to grow and expand, it’s important for brands to understand those that provide them with the best opportunities to reach their target audience. I think we’re only seeing the beginning of the Snapchat revolution. How will you leverage their real-time mobile platform to tell your brand story?

And of course, with the addition of more channels, you also need to create and manage more content. If you’re interested in learning about how Brandfolder can help you dominate that piece of the puzzle, we’d love to show you exactly how we can help.