Snap Inc: Digital Upfronts 2020


Catch up on Snap Inc's Digital Upfront that looks at making empathy the centre of every new product, Generation Z's power of ad recall and what they have coming up in 2021

Snapchat has come a long way since it was the new kid on the block, as European General Manager Ed Couchman said, opening Snap Inc.’s 2020 Digital Upfront. From demonstrating leadership in areas of tech like AR, to partnerships with the NHS and ITV News, Snapchat has become a home for all types of content - whether that’s mental health support during lockdown, catwalk trends from LFW or trying out the latest AR lenses with friends (time spent playing with lenses was up 25% MoM in March 2020). 

Snapchat is “all about keeping people connected and looking for new ways to have fun” said Couchman - and the fact that it reaches 70% of all 13-34 year olds, rising to 80% for all 18-24 year olds, makes it an ideal option for brands looking to authentically reach young audiences.  

Here are some of the key takeaways from Snap Inc’s event:

Empathy is essential 
Jacob Andreou, Snap Inc’s VP of Product, took us through the four pillars of the company’s 'empathy imperative' - a framework that puts the people and brands using Snapchat at the centre of every product. These are: 

  • Don’t be a slot machine: Why? Because slot machines drive behaviour without delivering any value to the user (the majority of the time). Instead, Snapchat seeks to always honour its core product value: giving people a place to express themselves and stay close to the people that they care most about. 

  • Do it like Disney: Whether in Paris or Florida, Disney’s commitment to bringing storytelling to life via its theme parks is what creates the magic. To do this, it has four priorities to build trust with its visitors: safety, courtesy, maintaining the show and efficiency. It’s a formula that Snapchat emulates, designing for trust via its closed Discover platform and maintaining its focus on real friendships.

  • Use a quilt, not a blanket: An empathetic product always feels like it’s been made a few blocks away, anywhere in the world, explained Andreou. Rather than taking a blanket approach to its global presence, Snap Inc. aims to hire local and create with specific markets in mind, so that products suit the needs of the user-base and resonate well - such as hiring local artists to create Snap filters. 

  • Hug your copycats: They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and that’s Snap Inc’s approach to copycats. The motto is to innovate generously and share - such as with the development of Bitmojis, which are now available widely. 

Gen Z are better at recalling ads
“A lot gets said about Gen Z’s short attention spans,” said Kantar’s Global Head of Media Effectiveness Jane Ostler, but new research shows that 18-24 year olds are able to recall advertising just as well - if not better - than older age groups. In a survey of 2,000 Gen Zs, Kantar found that they spend around 35% less time watching ads on Snapchat, but are 123% more likely to be able to recall the advertiser and they process 24% more pieces of content than other groups. As Ostler explained: “They’re paying attention in their own way and at their own pace.” 

With brand loyalty forming at a young age, and younger people more likely to try out new brands and influence their peers, this is a vital audience for any business looking to build a brand for the long-term. This age group is most likely to discover new brands via family, friends and digital channels.

Snapchat = creative opportunities
180 million Snapchatters engaged with AR daily in Q2 2020, giving brands a huge opportunity to get creative and deliver value. Whether that’s allowing people to try on new trainers, a different shade of nail varnish, or launching a bespoke lens, brands can stand out via bespoke creative to engage young consumers. 

When it comes to branded videos on the platform, a three-pronged approach helps to create impact: “Think like a friend, a publisher and a director” explained Product Marketer Zahra Abdullahi. Thinking like a friend equates to being playful and varied, a publisher to how you use graphics and text to enhance video, and a director to framing and pace. 

To help brands maximise the video opportunity on Snapchat, the platform is launching a new video product, First Commercial. With 60 shows attracting over 10 million monthly viewers, the offering will allow brands to secure the first commercial impression on a show. 

Giving us first-hand insight into how brands are using Snapchat, Channel 4’s Head of Social Media James Smart, LADBible Group’s Head of Programming Benjamin Powell-Jones and Barcroft Studios’ Alex Morris explained the key things that Snapchat advertisers should bear in mind. Ensure you have an authentic voice, be responsive to what the data is telling you and, crucially, don’t underestimate people just because they’re young. 

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