Snapchat is a unique animal. When a photo or video self-destructs in ten seconds or less, brands are met with the challenge of making every moment count. The proven key to success is to be casual and relatable, showing users how easy it is to bring a product or idea into their lives. That said, this highly lucrative platform is highly visual, so marketing teams are finding new ways to “show, not tell.”


Snapchat filters are a simple, yet highly effective tool for promotion, and are surprisingly flexible in terms of how extreme brands can go. Beauty brands are finding a natural home with Snapchat filters. In June, Urban Decay launched its 100-piece Vice lipstick collection with a filter that allowed Snapchat users to virtually test out every shade of lipstick. L’Oréal Paris launched a successful one-day filter last month that superimposed beauty make-up onto users’ faces.

20th Century Fox staged the first-ever, compete filter takeover in May for X-Men: Apocalypse. Designed to boost opening weekend ticket sales, the filter allowed users to “become” X-Men characters by combining photos with virtual costumes. In a hilariously disturbing promotion, Taco Bell used the filter to transform users into living tacos for Cinco de Mayo, which proved to be a big hit.

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For online underwear brand, MeUndies, demonstrating their products in funny, “brief” ways has proved incredibly effective. In a video ad called “Lounge Off,” two members of the team modeled the brand’s new tie-dyed lounge pants in some seemingly uncomfortable places like on top of tables and in the street. Using a call-to-action with vanity URLs, the company saw a conversion rate of 16 percent on Snapchat traffic in June.

“For us, user engagement on Snapchat is higher than Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I think how people consume Snapchat now is like how they used to watch TV,” Dan King, head of marketing for MeUndies, told Digiday. “We’ve been hiring writers, comedians and actors to create delightful content on Snapchat, which has done well for us.”


Time Limits Make For Great Teasers

The ten-second time limit on Snapchat is naturally conducive to unveiling teaser content. In May, Volvo teased a new model on the app, using emoticons and captions such as “not your daddy’s Volvo.” Also in May, Musicians, DJ Snake and Skrillex teased their unreleased collaboration with a behind-the-scenes look. Bravo took to Snapchat with a teaser for The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and Activision had fans clamoring for more information when teasers surfaced on the platform for Call of Duty: Black Ops III.

You might say that Snapchat is #adulting—the popular, self-destructing photo and video app made popular by millennials has evolved into a serious marketing tool for brands. From behind the scenes looks to contests, exclusive offers and filter takeovers, Snapchat provides a unique platform with which to interact with audiences.