1 Billion Reasons Why Snapchat’s Brand Filters Are Shaping the Future of Marketing

These “snaps” created with filters are viewed more than 1 billion times per day. As always, advertisers will find a way to follow the eyeballs, which is why sponsored filters have become a cash cow for Snapchat.

You’ve probably seen or heard about the phenomenon that is Snapchat filters. Snapchatters can take a selfie and superimpose a set of dog ears or a fairy crown onto their video and share it with friends.

These “snaps” created with filters are viewed more than 1 billion times per day. As always, advertisers will find a way to follow the eyeballs, which is why sponsored filters have become a cash cow for Snapchat.

In a recent eMarketer report, it is projected that advertising, including sponsored brand filters, will bring in more than $1 billion in revenue for Snapchat alone in 2017, which is impressive considering the fact that Snapchat only began offering the capability earlier this year.

It’s no surprise that this format of advertising is enticing for brands that are starved for more authentic ways to reach consumers on mobile, where traditional, interruptive ad formats are failing badly. Filters offer brands a way to join consumers’ conversations rather than interrupting them or, as Backchannel describes the phenomenon: “No other mainstream ad product has convinced people to reliably, voluntarily brand themselves and then organically spread photos of their branded selves through their networks.”

While Snapchat’s offering fills an important need for brands in that it is authentic and welcomed by consumers, there are some challenges:

Snapchat is, well, limited to Snapchat. Snapchat’s audience is largely a younger demographic, and brands that seek to reach a broader (or just different) audience simply can’t do that on Snapchat.

Furthermore, with Snapchat’s offering, consumers cannot be reached by brands in their own channels or natively in product experiences, and consumers can’t share videos to all their peers across multiple social and messaging platforms–they can only share within Snapchat.

Snapchat offers no brand safety capabilities: Brands must be comfortable knowing that Snapchat users can (and will) do anything and everything with their brand assets.

Snapchat content, by design, disappears after being viewed, which is part of the app’s novel consumer appeal. However, brands then miss out on preserving and republishing the best content that is created and shared with their assets.

With Snapchat, brands have no opportunity to introduce calls-to-action into their brand filter campaigns and, given that Vivoom regularly sees click-through rates of between 1 percent and 3 percent on the CTAs embedded in branded videos, brands are missing out on a massive direct response opportunity with Snapchat.

Limitations aside, Snapchat has proven that people will create content with brand filters and share it with their friends. In fact, this type of participatory marketing has forged a new category of advertising called “shared media,” which is beginning to explode even beyond the confines of the Snapchat community.

Brands that are able to tap their own audiences to create and share branded videos that they can share anywhere–on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and even via messaging–are seeing the full power of this new medium.

And isn’t that the next big opportunity in mobile marketing? If Snapchat can bring in $1 billion in a year, then the opportunity to bring this same capability to any brand across all of its channels, and with brand safety and embedded CTAs to boot, is a multibillion-dollar opportunity.

Katherine Hays is the founder and CEO of user-generated marketing platform Vivoom.

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