A Hotel Social Media Marketing Budget Reconsideration
In 2011 Snapchat launched as a fun and simple messaging app that reached out to a young teenage audience. The concept was to share images with users’ friends that then disappeared in seconds.
Then they introduced Stories: A chance to put together all user images into a succession of snaps to tell the user’s story. It was a big hit with the younger crowd and quickly caught on with millennials.
Even Facebook’s subsidiary, Instagram, realized the potential when they created their own version of Snapchat Stories. 600 million users strong, Instagram’s version caught on well with users who didn’t have to learn a new social media platform to use the feature. In fact, Instagram became a very strong competitor and their version of Stories became popular enough to stall Snapchat’s growth.
Clearly Facebook and Google also knew that Snapchat was onto something when, in 2013, both giants made bids to acquire them for $3 billion and $4 billion respectively. But Snapchat owners were having none of that. They had bigger and better ideas in mind.
Snapchat Paving Their Way into the Future
If Snapchat was going to make it into the future as a vital social media platform, they needed to think beyond their niche market and open themselves up to a wider audience.
According to an eMarketer forecast, this year Snapchat is expected to grow to 70.4 million users in the U.S. and to 89.2 million users by 2021. Their largest user base continues to be between the ages of 18 to 34 but users between the ages of 35 and 44 have been steadily increasing and predicted as jumping from 6.6% in 2017 to 9.8% in 2021. Users between the ages of 45 and 54 are predicted to climb from 4.5% in 2017 to 6.7% by the year 2021. This slight shift in age demographics becomes a consideration for hotels trying to reach their target audience.
Snapchat Inc. became Snap Inc. in September 2016 in preparation for its decision to go public with the Snapchat app being its main product. Its value now is at approximately $28 billion. According to Snap Inc.’s IPO filing, they:
- Have 60 million active users from the US and Canada
- 60% of all smartphone users are now on snapchat
- 50% of U.S. daily new users are 25 and older
It is evolving and working hard to increase their number of users within a wider audience. They need to show value to their investors by proving they are a viable social media platform well worth the investment. If the numbers increase as predicted, hotels would want to reconsider adding them within their social media marketing plans.
The company introduced their first consumer product, Spectacles, that became available for online purchase this February. It is a strong indication that Snapchat wants to delve deeper into consumer products and now, having gone public, their interest toward e-commerce can show investors that they are serious about expanding and growing into a solid investment.
Snapchat 3Vi (Vertical Video Views and Interactive) advertising are ads in vertical format that tailor content to the mobile app. Snapchat popularized this format and it allows users to make purchases through the Snapchat app. According to Snap Inc.’s S-1 filing, over 90% of those that participated in Snapchat’s advertising saw a rise in sales. 3Vi ads also promise to provide a way for hotel advertisers to track ROI. This might make it an alluring way to get hotels to consider joining the app and giving Snapchat ads a try.
Snap Inc. has the incentive and drive to prove they are a viable player against competitors but they have to delicately balance this with the young public that followed them and brought them to this stage in their vision. Also there are so many things happening – and fast – that hotel digital marketers need to keep an eye on the developments to see whether or not Snapchat is worth a second glance.