Published On: Mon, Aug 25th, 2014

Snapchat – The Next Great Advertising Platform

Levi-ShapiroHow valuable is ten seconds of Millenial mindshare? Brands like McDonalds, Taco Bell, Audi and the NBA are ramping up their advertising efforts with Snapchat, the photo and video app that disappears in 10 seconds. Although there are many skeptics , I am not one of them. Snapchat is poised to become the next great advertising platform.

Brands crave scale, demographics and engagement. Snapchat can check all three of those boxes.

Scale: Every day, 700 million snaps and 1 billion stories  (a thread that can be viewed for 24 hours) are viewed. There are more than 30 million Monthly Active Users and 16.5 million Daily Active Users. Their loyalty is impressive- average users visit the app an astounding 14 times per day. Snapchat’s growth is far outpacing its rivals. Between Q3, 2013 and Q1, 2014, Snapchat grew 67%; faster than any of its competitors (GWI Social). 70% of those users are female .

Levi Shapiro

Demographic: Advertisers, and their agency minions, crave one group more than any other- Millenials (18-34 year olds).  According to comScore (June, 2014), Snapchat is the #3 social app among Millenials (32.9% penetration), behind only Instagram (43.1%) and Facebook (75.6%).

Levi Shapiro

Engagement: Mobile banner ads have proven to be a disaster. One agency estimates click through rates of only .01%. Snapchat’s unique advantage as an advertising platform is the format, which literally requires engagement. In contrast to display advertising, which is passive, Snapchat users must hold their finger over a photo or video to view it. Brands know with certainty if their ad has been viewed and by whom.

The demographic is ready to engage on this platform. According to Sumpto, (usually referred to as “Klout for college students”), 73% of college students would open a Snap from a brand they know and 45% would open a Snap from a brand they don’t know.

To date, the most effective Snapchat advertising strategies have been exclusive content and authentic voice. Below are three examples from 2014 of brands successfully engaging with their consumers via Snapchat.


Brand: Audi

Strategy: Partner with The Onion to engage with future luxury auto buyers

 Execution: In the weeks leading up to Super Bowl, Audi partnered with The Onion for the ongoing Snapchat theme, “All The News That Isn’t Football”. The pairing of Stock Photos with ironic captions helped Audi achieve 37 million impressions .

Levi Shapiro


You can see more about the Audi campaign here


Brand: Free People (fashion)


Strategy: Turn fans into “Insiders”

Execution: Exclusive sneak peek for upcoming collections featuring top models. The company’s Milllenial staff is also a tool for connecting with their demographic. This includes tours of the company office and features like Question Wednesdays, where Free People employees answer questions from the community.


Levi Shapiro


Brand: NBA

Strategy: Behind the Scenes at the NBA’s marquee events

Execution: The league used Snapchat to provide a different vantage point during the 2014 Draft as well as the All Star Game. Those successes led to the exclusive locker-room interview at the League Championships, where Hall of Famer Bill Russell spoke with Series MVP Kawhi Leonard.

Levi Shapiro


Brands, this is your call to action. Learn about Snapchat and start Snapping. Snapchat may well be the next great advertising platform.




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About the Author

- Levi Shapiro is a Partner in the JIMMI Fund (, working with global tech companies to invest in Israeli start-ups. Concurrently, Mr. Shapiro provides strategic advisory to global technology, media and telecom companies as a Senior Partner at TMT Strategic Advisors. Mr. Shapiro is also an Adjunct Professor in the Media Innovation Lab ( at IDC Herzliya, teaching Digital Media Entrepreneurship, Mobile Marketing and other entrepreneurial courses. He is also the organizer of the Transitioned Media ( mHealth Israel (www.mhealthisrael) and MATI- Marketing & Ad:Tech Israel ( conferences. Mr. Shapiro’s “Unleavened Media” column (, about technology and digital media, appears in the Jerusalem Post and is syndicated across other publications. His education includes Tulane (History), Cornell (Asian Studies) and MIT (MBA).

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