Here’s How Snapchat Became Such a Hot Platform for Digital Marketers in So Little Time

And what it could still do better

Headshot of Christopher Heine

Considering how Snapchat now arguably holds the claim for digital marketing's hottest real estate, it's hard to believe that it was only 15 months ago that the platform's first paid ad ran for the Universal Pictures horror flick Ouija. Since then, Snapchat has skyrocketed to the top of advertisers' agendas, even as the Los Angeles company has demanded that brands pay as much as $750,000 for sponsorships.

"I think Snapchat has just begun to scratch the surface of what they could do as a vehicle for brand content," said Noah Mallin, head of social, MEC North America. "My sense is its growth will continue and even accelerate [throughout] 2016. What happens beyond that is tied to their ability to do what Facebook has done so well—keep innovating new ways for users and advertisers to find value from the platform."

Snapchat, with its 100 million daily users, is expected to have its IPO in 2016, just four years after launching its ephemeral app. So it has taken CEO Evan Spiegel half the time to get to the same chronological spot where Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg stood in 2012 when he took his site public during its eighth year.

"Snapchat's major advantage is that it's entirely rooted in the user behavior and values of a digitally native demographic, not in those of a demo who started using social media in college," noted Topher Burns, group director, distribution strategy at Deep Focus. "It understands how they want to share and consume content, what they're comfortable divulging, and how to appeal to their interests."

While industry observers have been wowed by the timeline (see details below) on which Snapchat's ascent has occurred, they still want to see more marketing tools. Here's an agency wish list:





This story first appeared in the Jan. 18 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.