As we have already written for Netokracija, despite the skepticism of many Croatians when it comes to Snapchat, this social network still seems to be very cool and popular. On Snapchat, one one can collect fires (fire emojis that appear when one has a constant interaction with the other user), and simply be himself or herself, watch interesting and dynamic content in the vertical format - which makes it easier to build a digital influence and leave mark in the digital world (yes, even though the content is not publicly exposed!). This superpower of Snapchat was used for Pannonian Challenge festival, which was held in June in Osijek. What we have achieved and why we decided to do it on Snapchat and not on Instagram - find out right here.
Young people (the generation Z to be more specific, or all born after 1995) have migrated from Facebook, which they consider to be "dead", and use Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. But according to the conversations we've led with them (because they were targeted audience), it turned out they spend most of their time on Snapchat.
Things change fast, so Instagram has largely 'become Snapchat' (by copying features that were specific to Snapchat Stories) and created an opportunity for “older” users to become Snappers. That Snapchat still continues to be the platform that a generation Z likes was revealed by the last campaign we've been running at Bamboo Lab for our client Vipnet, as part of Pannonian Challenge, the biggest extreme sports competition in our region.
When we talk about the generation Z, the one that comes after the millennials, we are talking about the generation characterised by an open mind and persons who do not care about posting something that will be completely available to the public, but rather post content for their friends daily. We know that firsthand, since we had talked to them right before we started the campaign, which was planned in order to activate the youth on Snapchat. Goals for the campaign were defined as follows:
1.) to activate young people between the ages of 13 and 25 on Snapchat, the platform on which this age group prevails, and on which, according to the latest unofficial research in early 2016, we have about 60,000 users in Croatia;
2.) to provide youth with VIP experience of the Pannonian Challenge and achieve that Pannonian Challenge 2017 is followed through Vip's Snapchat channel.
Let's meet Matej, the Representative of the Generation Z
Matej (18), representative of his generation, and one of Vip's brand ambassadors on Snapchat. Matej is often sad because he cannot find cool and interesting content on the platform where he spends most of his time (Snapchat and Musical.ly). For Matej - Facebook is dead because he is not interested in the recipes that his grandparents post, Twitter is a complete stranger and a place where it is very difficult to make friends, while Instagram is the channel where he often finds new Snapchat users because young people on Instagram tend to put their Snapchat username in their profile descriptions.
At the same time, young people also use Instagram Stories, but then we are talking about the young people who are often over 18, while the younger kids have fallen for lenses and filters on Snapchat - stayed on this social network and continued to come back because Snapchat simply seems cooler. The obvious proof that Snapchat is going a step further when it comes to creative ways of attracting users and marketers, shows their last 'crazy idea' - a huge bright yellow ferris wheel in France during the Cannes Lions Festival.
Although brands in our region don't try to approach Matej through the channel he uses or by using vertical video formats, Matej is happy to be able to talk to peers at Snapchat. Snapchat is a platform that is not congested (there is less pressure for a perfect photo or Story) and it’s a place where he feels free. He likes to collect fire emojis (a frequent conversation with friends on Snapchat generates a fire emoji next to a person’s name, and the more you talk - the more you gather) and loves cool and private Snapchat community.
For the Generation Z Snapchat Makes Sense
But let us go even deeper into the problem of why the generation Z finds Snapchat so adorable, while it is somewhat meaningless for older ones - specially because "the same things" we can now find on Instagram.
At the end of 2016, Adweek conducted a survey on a sample of 511 Instagram and Snapchat users aged 18-34 which revealed that 64% of respondents considered Snapchat was cooler (do you notice how important the “cool factor” is for this target group?). They expect more ads on Instagram and more ads that are not interesting to them. Even 67.3% think Snapchat has better functionalities and features. Note that this is a survey that does not include those under the age of 18 who are still Snapchat's largest audience.
But we don’t want to leave it at the global level - let’s check our local campaign. An interesting insight into the thinking of today's generation Z came through the announcement of the campaign via Instagram Story and Snapchat Story, which we did at the same time in order to compare the reactions on both social networks.The Snapchat audience, from the beginning, showed more engagement, which is another indication that starting a conversation and engaging users means more than the number, considering the fact that Instagram at the start had a larger community that was already built. The completion rate (percentage of followers who viewed Story from start to finish) shows audience’s loyalty and how much interesting is the content you publish. If your audience only watches the first story, while in a large number (more than half followers) skips or give up on the second story, it is unlikely that you will target a good audience and you probably need to change your call-to-action or most of the content.
Ultimately, the completion rate was far greater on Snapchat.
Let's take a look at Vipnet's community on Snap Map, a new feature Snapchat has recently introduced. On the Snap Map, you can view Snaps submitted to Our Story from all over the world – including sporting events, celebrations, breaking news and more 🗺️ Friends can also share their locations with each other and see what’s going on around them! This is how Vip’s Snap Map looks like in Croatia:
How to Activate Matej in an Interesting Way that is Close to Him?
After we've confirmed that Snapchat is the right place to launch this campaign, the second step was to activate brand ambassadors’ channels because the target audience trusts them, especially on Snapchat, as this is the platform where activation tends to be challenging. That's exactly why we spent a couple of hours daily communicating with the users. Since we did not have big budget for ads, sponsored lenses and business geofilters, we relied on platforms like Ghostcodes to find new and interesting people to follow. The beginning may be more difficult, but over time, the word about the campaign starts to spread among the active user groups.
During this campaign, we did not only focus on ads and giveaways to attract young people to follow us on Snapchat, instead, we've decided - Vip will have its own street team.
Vip Flames, as they have been called, will best represent Snap Culture in Vipnet's name - and will consist of Snapchat influencers.
Recruitment of Snapchat Influencers or Vip Street Team
Instead of attracting young people through Facebook and Instagram, in this case, a street team of young Snapchat users was formed. It consisted of members of narrow target groups who know what their friends like to watch, want to watch and who can easily connect with their peers and show them exactly what they want to see! Such experience will always be connected with the brand and truly represent #digitallife which generation Z lives in a full sense.
The Street Team consisted of influential individuals on Snapchat - Matej’s peers whom the target audience believes and identifies with. Their task was to share the best moments from Pannonian Challenge with Vipnet's audience, as well as from their own Social media channels.
The team was recruited in two phases. During the first phase, Bamboo Lab found the initial two Snapchat influencers through its own Snapchat user network and research that needed to meet certain criteria, such as a minimum of 200 views per Snapchat Story. In the second phase the contest “Become Vip’s Flame” was launched!
Through this contest, the other three representatives of the Vip street team were chosen.
'Vip Flames' have ensured that the audience was provided with a backstage and V.I.P. experience of Pannonian, while the local audience, that we have engaged through Snapchat stories, ensured that the experience was authentic. Vip Flames successfully spread the word about Vip's channel on their channels and did takeovers.
How Did We Activate the Youth?
We have already concluded that Matej and his peers like to boast on social networks (though not necessarily publicly, but in their private groups), but at the same time need motivation. We have provided the Vip street team with an exclusive access to all parts of the festival: backstage, performers, drivers, the first rows in competitions - which was an excellent incentive for those who like to boast with V.I.P. treatment that everyone doesn't have. They also had the opportunity to win various rewards such as free Gigabyte, cell phone, glasses, #NemaDaNema (which was the slogan (in Croatian) of the overall campaign targeted to youth) T-shirts.
Online activations we completed:
- #NemaDaNema Challenge - The Snap audience was sending challenges to our Vip Street Team and the best ones team completed on spot. For example, the youngest 'Flame' - Tomislav got the challenge to demonstrate his skating skills in the skate park.
- Collect fire emojis with Vip - and brag about it to your friends
- Cross promotion via Vip channels
Communication on Snapchat: Private, Authentic, in a Circle of Friends
It was interesting to observe how content spreads through Snapchat, since it is not public. We noticed that young people are often socializing in groups based in one specific geographical area, so in one day we received more than 6 entries only from Dubrovnik! All conversations were private, authentic, and most often remained in the circle of close friends, which is backed up by global research - Snapchat is a network used to keep in touch with friends (89%), create and share photos and video content (56 %) or keep the Snapchat score (karma) on a high level.
When it comes to Snapchat campaigns, Snapchat Spectacles contribute to the autenthicity of your campaign even more. Snapchat Spectacles are newer Snapchat's product that hides a little camera for recording and photographing. They are linked to the Snapchat app and help you capture the best moments - from your own perspective! They record in a circular video format that is close to the perspective of the human eye. You can buy it on several locations where SnapBots are located - like Berlin or Cannes.
And What About the Results?
Let's switch to the digits. In 14 days, our Stories had more than 87,902 views. During Pannonian Challenge Stories counted 57,034 views in only 3 days. The number of followers increased by 52%, while followers often sent us private messages and screenshotts of the content we posted. The screenshots show that the content was interesting enough for your audience. They wanted to save it on their phones so it would not disappear forever. The Snapchat Score or Karma, how it is called by young people, is a special equation combining the number of Snaps you've sent and received, Stories you've posted, and other factors. As your activity on Snapchat increases, the Score becomes bigger. During the 14 days of activation on Vip's Snapchat profile, Vipnet's Snapchat Scorek has increased more than it had in the last few years - which shows that conversations with users were frequent.
The Eternal Question: Snapchat or Instagram?
Wouldn’t your numbers be bigger on Instagram? - many would probably ask. Comparing Snapchat to Instagram is sometimes really fun - especially for the Silicon Valley, as reported by journalist Taylor Lorenz in a recent article for Mashable:
Instead of focusing on metrics, we should all think critically about the different ways people use these platforms to connect with their friends.
Snapchat has the active community of younger users who communicate daily in a private environment, even in Croatia, as we have been proven through the campaign. Let's not forget that Snapchat is closer to the chat app (yes, and Instagram has the ability to send private messages, but that's not it's primary function) and provides "deeper communication" with smaller groups of friends, which eventually leads to greater engagement. Part of the people over the age of 18 really left Snapchat as more people are watching Stories on Instagram. But let's move away from the fact that the number of views measures success because that is really predefined learned behavior - in this case, driven by the development of Instagram. That's exactly what happened when Instagram just "plugged" the Story into a community that did not understand it and which was already built on other norms.
Your mom, dad or someone who is older than 25 years will not understand Story the same as a generation Z understands Story on Snapchat, and that is why Snapchat and Instagram will never be the same and each will have its purpose, depending on what you want to achieve and which audience you want to target. It will be interesting to track further development of the situation. Undoubtedly, Snapchat changed the way we communicate, introduced some new rules and standards, and will not wait long to drop something new like the recently launched Snap Map or Snapchat Spectacles that let users snap underwater! ;)