By Bronwyn White
If you’re a marketer for a tourism destination, product or service, should you be on Snapchat?
MyTravelResearch.com says you do need to be on Snapchat if your main market is youths and travellers in their 20s, especially if you’re trying to attract them in a cost-effective way.
“Snapchat seems sexy, but it’s a lot of work to maintain,” advises Bronwyn White, strategist and co-founder of MyTravelResearch.com, which has just released a 60-page ‘how to’ guide for Snapchat marketers in the travel industry.
Snapchat has momentum. It is growing rapidly and is already massive among teenagers and people in their 20s. “Intriguingly, the fastest uptake is now among people over 35, particularly women,” says White
Research from MoffettNathanson shows 19.5 million unique female users over 35 in the United States in Q4 2016, up from 4.6 million in the previous year – a rise of 320%. That is momentum.
However, Snapchat still only reaches about 8% of the over 35s in the U.S. By comparison 88% of people over 35 are on Facebook, 45% on Instagram, and 42% on Twitter.
Furthermore, users over 35 spend about 30 minutes a day on Facebook, versus a mere three minutes on Snapchat.
“On Snapchat, there is no true 'engagement' of the kind we see on other social platforms. There is no sharing, liking, or commenting – and there isn’t a continuous stream of content on display,” observes White.
But that’s not the point. “The fact that the snap disappears is what makes the app so exciting – because what you are viewing is practically live and only available to see once before it turns into a memory. Snapchat is designed to be highly ephemeral,” says White.
Because snapshots are temporary the relationship between user and influencer seems to be stronger, compulsive even.
“Snapchat is perfectly of its time – an era defined by short attention spans, an impatient desire for the ‘now’, and an addiction to dopamine hits from a mobile device that stands in for real interaction.”
However, there’s no easy ‘in’ for marketers. Advertising on Snapchat is expensive. White therefore says the five best ways to utilise Snapchat for tourism marketing are influencer marketing, Snapchat takeovers (where a leading social media influencer takes over a company’s Snapchat output for a short time), using Snapchat geofilters, working with coupon and discount codes, and running hashtag campaigns.
She warns: “Don’t scoff. Get on board – especially if you’re in tourism marketing targeting younger people.”