Snapchat Wants to Help Register Users to Vote in November

In-house ads feature celebrities

Headshot of Marty Swant

It might take more than a snap to persuade some people to vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, but Snapchat is at least trying to get them registered to vote.

Today until Oct. 7, the social media app will be running in-house public service announcement ads to promote voter registration. The ads, which feature celebrities including Jared Leto, Ciara, Ryan Seacrest, Jimmy Fallon and Dwayne Johnson, encourage U.S. adults to vote in their national, state and location elections. The initiative is a partnership with TurboVote, an online service focused on raising voter turnout.

The snaps themselves can't help would-be voters go quite all the way, but they will direct people to a mobile website to go through the rest of the process. (TurboVote says it only takes a minute to register.)

Engaging Snapchat's userbase of more than 150 million daily users could be a smart way to get millennials to the polls. According a report released last year by Global Strategy Group/Public Opinion Strategies, about one third of millennials surveyed in October who were likely to vote were on Snapchat. A year later, that percentage is likely even higher, as the platform grows its user base and as the increasingly heated race rounds the corner into the final six weeks.

"Snapchat is a powerful vehicle for political campaigns to engage the elusive audience of 18- to 34-year-old millennials who will help decide the 2016 election," according to the report.

Snapchat isn't the only tech company creating new ways to get out the vote. Earlier this week, Google launched a new campaign that features YouTube celebrities talking about how and why to register. (Google even built its own voter registration tool.)

Presidential campaigns have already been all over the app. In August, Snapchat created geofilters in Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention when the party nominated Hillary Clinton. A week earlier in Cleveland, the Clinton campaign trolled the Republican National Convention with sponsored geofilters as the party rallied around Donald Trump. A number of other candidates have also run a variety of Snapchat ads during the 2016 race including John Kasich, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.