You may have heard about Snapchat in the news recently as hackers were able to successfully download 4.6 million user names and phone numbers. This hack attempt, however, was purely for show and a statement to the company regarding just how easy it was to break their system. So let’s dive into what exactly Snapchat is and why users are signing up.

Released in 2011, Snapchat is a photo messaging app where users can snap photos, add text or drawings to them or record up to 36 seconds of video (longer than Instagram Video at 15 seconds or Vine at 6 seconds). Users can then send their photos or videos, known as “snaps” to other users, assigning a time limit for those snaps to be viewed – this could be anywhere from 1 to 10 seconds. Once the time has elapsed the snaps are deleted from Snapchat’s servers and hidden from the recipient’s device, unless you’re quick on the draw (no pun intended) and can capture a screenshot before it disappears. With the recent iOS and Android updates, Snapchat gives users a second chance to sneak a peek as they are now allowed to replay 1 snap every 24 hours.

Here’s an example of what a snap can look like. The selfie with a twist…

Snap Chat Selfie
Photo courtesy of

When a company turns downs a $3 billion all-cash buyout offer from Facebook, people take note. With over 400 million snaps being sent each day, Snapchat’s demographics focus on tweens and young adults, ages 13 to 25. Big business (Taco Bell, Seventeen Magazine, Acura and the New Orleans Saints) have adopted this increasingly popular app and is actively using Snapchat for their marketing efforts. This is an excellent way by which brands can connect with customers and solicit user-generated content.

TacoBell Snap Chat
Photos courtesy of Taco Bell

So why should you care? If you share the same demographics as Snapchat or are interested in showcasing your brand in a more playful way you could be missing the boat. Here are some interesting ways you could use Snapchat for social media marketing:

  • Special promotions – snap coupons or offer sneak peeks of new products or stores
  • Contests – scavenger hunts & competitions – Ex. “First one to send us a snap of you enjoying yourself at our movie theatre receives a coupon for 50% off!”

Are you using Snapchat already? Let us know how the platform is treating you by commenting below.

The social world can be abstract, we can show you where the web meets reality. Gray Digital Group is a full-service interactive agency that combines creativity and technology to develop websites and web-based marketing strategies for clients. We specialize in ideas, solutions and results for your marketing needs. Contact us today to build your website and create your digital marketing strategy.