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Advertising Using SnapChat Geofilters, a Marketing Case Study


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At heart, SnapChat is a messaging app especially popular among Generations Y & Z... so how can companies utilize SnapChat without coming across as "intrusive" to these key demographics? Geofilters.

Our very own SnapChat geofilter at UW's Spring Commencement turned out to be a perfect platform for a staffing agency on a limited budget. The question was, if we could create a fun, tasteful geofilter that is designed to be used by these new graduates and their families, would we see an increase in interest in the jobs offered by Parker after graduation? Actually, yes!

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Advertising Using SnapChat Geofilters, a Marketing Case Study

  1. 1. CASE STUDY • • • 2200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 925, Seattle, WA 98121 | 206.447.9447 Advertising Using SnapChat Geofilters, A Marketing Case Study CASE STUDY: 1 It started with a joke... A pair of recruiters were talking about an upcoming college graduation ceremony and wished that there was a way to pepper the grads with “now hiring” flyers. Unfortunately, not only would it be highly doubtful that we would be allowed to do so, we did not want to do anything that would seem overly intrusive at this moment in the lives of the students and families. While we were discussing this, another employee overheard us and suggested Snapchat as a potential way to reach these college graduates. The idea was this: Though it uses photos, SnapChat is a messaging app at heart. Students and family members would be using the app to message relatives and friends who could not attend the graduation. After taking a photo, these users would scroll through different options in which to geofilter their photo. This gave Parker two chances at exposure – not only by those who ended up using the geofilter, but even those who looked at the geofilter and chose not to use it. This turned out to be a perfect platform for a staffing agency on a limited budget. The question was, if we could create a fun, tasteful geofilter that is designed to be used by these new graduates and their families, would we see an increase in interest in the jobs offered by Parker after graduation? After submitting the image to Snapchat and getting approval, we let the geofilter do its work. But... Why SnapChat? You may have heard of SnapChat, but why advertise on this platform? • 150 Million Registered Users, with 100 Million monthly users • Over 10 Billion user-created videos in 2016, an increase of 350% from the year prior • 63% of the users are between the ages of 13- 24, a key millennial demographic • 30% of millennials on the platform use it daily • In 2017, college students used SnapChat more than any other social network • The temporary nature of the content demands a user’s undivided attention.
  2. 2. CASE STUDY • • • 2200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 925, Seattle, WA 98121 | 206.447.9447 2 The Goal Our goal was to create a campaign that targeted attendees of a college commencement ceremony. It had to be done in a way that did not intrude on this special moment or offend the school, while at the same time, be embraced by users and seen as being in the spirit of the moment. The challenge would be to find a way to spread brand awareness while providing a fun, convenient way for graduates and their family to celebrate the special occasion. We ended up choosing to create a hand-drawn geofilter with an unobtrusive Parker Staffing logo using images that evoked the campus (while at the same time avoiding any logo or copyright issues). We submitted the filter to be used during the time of the commencement ceremony and were able to select the area where the graduation ceremony would be held. The target of our campaign would be any graduates and their immediate family and friends (who would be viewing the photos) who were posting photos on SnapChat. This ceremony would be attended by over 45,000 family, friends, and graduates. We hoped that viewers would see the geofilter, use it, and later visit the web site to review our jobs. We felt that with a graduation, we had a highly motivated target audience. We would measure interest through measuring website traffic, as well as seeing if we saw any increase in resumes the following week. The geofilter appeared on user’s accounts on June 11, 2016 for a period of five hours. Our UW SnapChat Geofilter artwork
  3. 3. CASE STUDY • • • 2200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 925, Seattle, WA 98121 | 206.447.9447 3 What is SnapChat? SnapChat, a visual-based messaging service, is the most preferred social networking application by teens and the third most popular among young adults in the United States. In fact, nearly 70% of college students post on snapchat at least once per day (compared to only 11% on Facebook with the same frequency). The easiest way to explain Snapchat is that it is part visual direct communication, part media/mass marketing, and completely instant. Users may share photos directly with each other, but unlike Facebook, these messages and photos disappear after being viewed. So therefore, it has more in common with phone calls (in that the audience is private and the message instantly communicated) than any sort of texting. It has gained a mass audience even as its creators have found different ways to monetize their platform. One such way (to monetize) is through a photo geofilter. Prior to sending (or “snapping”) a photo, the user may choose a variety of geofilters (images laid directly over the picture), filters (effects that manipulate the visual quality of the photo itself), or text. This allows users to personalize the photo at their whim. The SnapChat advertising platform allows companies to submit geofilters which are viewable only to users during specific times and within specific geographies. This allows companies to place advertising directly on photos which are then purposely chosen by users and shared with their friends. Results In a five-hour period, 603 users sent an image using our geofilter resulting in over 16,400 total views of those photos. At a total cost of $526, this works out to be about $.03 per view. Although we do not know exactly who used the filter, with a graduating class of about 4,500, we estimate that nearly 13.5% of UW graduates used our filter and even more saw our logo. The big question was, would this translate into new job applicants? Happily, yes! In the week following the geofilter, we saw our website traffic increase by 44%. Our job applicants increased as well – when filtering out all other sources, resumes submitted through our website increased by 35% for the week. We found that the effect of the campaign lasted another week following graduation, with an additional increase of 8% in traffic before leveling out and returning to normal by week 3.
  4. 4. CASE STUDY • • • 2200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 925, Seattle, WA 98121 | 206.447.9447 4 One question was if this increase in traffic was natural, since it would be expected that a staffing firm website would see an increase in visits following graduation. To test for that, we searched for website traffic increases in 2014, as well as 2015 (we did not have the ability to measure resume volume by source prior to 2016). In 2015, the week following graduation saw an increase of 20%, while 2014 saw an increase of 23%. While the week following graduation is naturally a higher traffic week, this alone could not account for the increase in site visits. Therefore, we estimate that the campaign brought in an additional 20-24% increase in site visitors than if we had not done anything. Final Analysis We found that creating SnapChat geofilters was a fast, affordable, and effective way to generate a short burst of interest. We did experiment with other geofilters (during music festivals and parades), but none matched the effectiveness of this campaign. This led us to a few guidelines which we go over each quarter when we meet to discuss upcoming ‘snappable’ opportunities. In short, these guidelines are: 1. The primary audience of this campaign must be “on-brand”. This will differ by company, but for us it’s active job seekers local to the Seattle-Bellevue area. 2. The campaign must be defined. Events such as festivals and parades are great, as there are defined geographic areas and specific times where you know people will be gathered. 3. The event must be ‘snappable’. There should be a large number of people participating in an event that would generate enough interest to be shared on social media. Music festivals are great, as most people have their phones out, taking pictures of the band. As mentioned above, we followed with a geofilter campaign during a music festival, and while we received higher use than the graduation (it was an image of stage lights and a banner with the event name on it), we saw little to no increase in site traffic the following week. We concluded that, while people were appreciative of the filter, they took little notice of our logo while they were dancing in the street. Parades were also tried, but the audience was too broad and the event did not guarantee that our specific target audience would attend. These considerations may not apply to all businesses, but they are important ones for a staffing company looking specifically for job seekers. We know that graduations are fantastic. We meet on a regular basis to review upcoming events to see if there are any fits. Snapchat geofilters remain affordable enough that we feel free to experiment and try different things. This campaign would go on to be recognized by the American Staffing Association as a “Genius” award winner for creative marketing use of social media in 2016. A mock-up of our geofilter
  5. 5. CASE STUDY • • • 2200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 925, Seattle, WA 98121 | 206.447.9447 5 Want to try your own? If you’ve got an idea in mind, and want to try your hand at a SnapChat filter, here are some steps for success, based on our experience: 1. Create a SnapChat account. You don’t have to start snapping, but you will need an account to create, submit, and keep track of your Snap- Chat geofilters. You must go through the Snap- Chat app to create an account, since it is tied to mobile devices. 2. Go to within 31 days of your event, and follow the prompts to see if the date, time, and area are available. It is here you can also get an estimated cost for your geofilter – based on length of time and square footage of the target location. In our experience the earlier you submit your filter, the lower the cost may be, based on popularity of the event. 3. Design your filter! SnapChat has handy guidelines on their website for what is and isn’t approved, so be sure to review those before you create your filter. For best results, the recommended file size is 1080px wide by 1920 px high. Your final file should be a .PNG with a transparent background. Not design-savvy? That’s okay! SnapChat offers some online templates to help those without design skills or software. 4. Upload your filter. When you’re ready, go back to and follow the prompts to upload your own SnapChat design. Watch your email after its been submitted. It typically takes SnapChat 24-36 hours to approve your filter. You will not be charged until the filter goes live at your selected date and time. 5. Measure, measure, measure! SnapChat provides handy metrics for your SnapChat geofilters, making it easy to calculate the effectiveness of each one. These metrics include: • Impressions – Total number of times users saw the geofilter when swiping to select a geofilter for their snaps • Conversions – Total number of times your geofilter was used on a snap • Views – Total number of times that snaps with your geofilter were viewed by a user’s friends or on their snap stories. Parker Staffing Services is a recruiting agency based in Seattle and founded in 1979. Our business is built on personal connections of trust and mutual respect. Parker has been cultivating relationships with experienced contractors as well as many of the Puget Sound’s most progressive, industry-leading companies for over 35 years. With a client portfolio that includes some of Western Washington’s best places to work, we offer our contractors opportunities to gain valuable, career-building experience along with recognition and direct access to rewarding contract and full-time positions. We are a leading staffing agency in our region, winning recognition from the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of Washington’s Best Workplaces for four years straight. We have also been listed by Seattle Business Magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work for. About Parker