As social media marketers, it’s always beneficial to keep up with the latest and greatest. In particular, Snapchat is one social media platform making waves amongst users for its originality and inventiveness. But it’s this same originality and inventiveness that leaves businesses a little confused on how exactly to use the app to tap into their specific consumer base.

Snapchat, in a nutshell, is a photo-based social media platform based on vanishing content. Yes, vanishing. Each picture or video, better known as a “snap,” is sent, and once opened by the recipient, is only viewable for between one to 10 seconds – and then it disappears from the platform and the recipient is no longer able to access it. Since its 2011 introduction, Snapchat has implemented additional components to the app. One of the largest added components allows users to post photos and videos to “My Story” – which keeps the snaps viewable for a 24 hour period by anyone on the user’s friend list.

The vanishing nature of Snapchat is not necessarily a negative for marketers. Snapchat provides an opportunity for marketers to promote content right into the attention-grabbing timeframe of most mobile users – about 10 seconds, according to Nielsen. Brands that can communicate within those 10 seconds are almost guaranteed to connect with the user.

When Snapchat began selling ads in late 2014 advertisers reportedly spent anywhere from $275,000-$750,000 a day for a spot – for just one product, for just 24 hours. Recently, however, ad costs have dropped to a reported two cents per non-interactive view (20 dollars CPM), and about five cents per interactive view (about 50 dollars CPM). Interactive ads allow for users to “swipe-up” on the snap, revealing extended content such as long form videos, articles, app installs, and websites. According to Snapchat themselves, the swipe-up rate is five times higher than average click-through-rates on comparable platforms.

Snapchat is undoubtedly becoming more open to brands, especially since implementing On-Demand Geofilters for individual users and small businesses. While On-Demand Geofilters probably won’t come close to the reach of National Sponsored Geofilters (reaching an estimated 40-60 percent of daily users) it is a big step in the right direction for marketers. 

The biggest complaint brands have had since 2014 is Snapchat’s inability to accurately track and measure campaign results. Well, apparently Snapchat heard marketers loud and clear. The hit app is currently partnering with third party analytics companies to improve its measuring accuracy. Snapchat is also building its own API (application programming interface) to automate measurable data on a large scale. Oh, and did I mention Snapchat is also partnering with third party tech companies developing software to improve ad targeting? Well, they are.

Given a little time, marketers of all sizes should start seeing actionable ROI on Snapchat. It’s a pretty safe bet that if your market is mobile users, you’re missing out by not boarding the snap train.

The infographic below breaks down Snapchat’s key points and how companies are using it as a marketing tool.

snapchat 101