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Snapchat was once a one-to-one means of communication – a way to send embarrassing selfies to your mates knowing they’d self-destruct in 10 seconds (or less).  In 2013, Snapchat added ‘Stories’, the equivalent of a public timeline that anyone who follows you can view for up to 24 hours.  This was a game-changer for brands – all of a sudden, you could share your snaps with a mass audience.

Snapchat has evolved since then, with Ads and a Discover channel featuring Editorial content from big brands. It’s become more and more marketing friendly in order to generate revenue – which is all well and good if you’re MTV or Red Bull but what if you’re a small/medium sized business? Is Snapchat worth investing in for you?

Ipsos MRBI recently carried out their Social Networking and Social Messaging Quarterly surveys in Ireland and the most interesting results were these statistics regarding Snapchat they posted on their Twitter feed:

snapchatipsos

We’ve turned these statistics into a handy bar chart, in order to more easily understand Snapchat usage in Ireland:

snapchart

Snapchat has a number of limitations – there isn’t really a search function; if you’re a small business, you can’t just start snapping away and hope for people to stumble across your content. It’s not like Twitter or Facebook, there’s no sharing or virality, people need to add you by username in order to see your content.  So there’s no point starting out on Snapchat if you don’t have a social presence elsewhere – try Twitter, Facebook or Instagram first.

Snapchat also provides limited analytics so it’s difficult to work out your ROI.  Yes, you can see how many times your snaps have been viewed (and who by), but what can you measure beyond that? Not a lot. So you’ll need to come up with creative ways to use it to understand if you’re making a difference e.g. snap an exclusive voucher code for your online store and measure how many times it’s been used.

With these limitations in mind – it’s not an easy channel for small businesses to utilise and quantify the value of their time spent, but having said that, if your target audience are in that 15-34 bracket, then the usage statistics above would suggest you should ignore Snapchat at your peril.

Not only are the majority of young people there, they’re using it daily. And as always for social media, it’s important to pick the right channel for your audience, so if you’ve already got an active social media presence where you can make people aware that you’re now on Snapchat, and you can come up with some innovative ways to measure the value of your efforts, then it’s probably time to get snap happy.