Snapchat Makes Huge Marketing Move with Free Credits

Snapchat, a chat application used by millions around the world, has begun offering marketers free credits when they choose Snapchat over competitors. The company may be rebutting the efforts of Instagram, the widely popular photo sharing social media platform, which was recently absorbed by Facebook, and which has been accused of stealing ideas from Snapchat. Is this some form of marketing revenge or simply a new tactic to stay on top of their game?

An earnings report published by Snap, the parent company to Snapchat, showed that the social media company has stayed afloat despite competition with some of the most popular social media apps in the world. Going up against Facebook and Instagram takes guts, even in a world where Facebook is undergoing extreme scrutiny for their latest privacy debacle. To further increase their popularity and try to climb back on top of the competition, Snapchat has extended their advertising services to those using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms for marketing, with the offer of free credits for their trouble.

The free credit offer is applied to those companies which have used their marketing money to purchase vertical video ads from digital retailers. A vertical video advertisement is a digital video played in portrait view, instead of landscape view, which was the norm prior to the introduction of this style of marketing. Snapchat is reported to be the first to introduce it, likely because of the way that their application receives and loads images from its users in portrait mode. Facebook and Instagram followed suit quickly, of course, which has only made Snapchat work that much harder to maintain the product they designed.

Statistics have shown that the vertical video format is preferred to the alternative, possibly because is more visually appealing on the display window of a mobile device than that of its predecessor. In the past, horizontal videos were thought to be best because they displayed the wide angle view popular for watching movies and displaying high definition images on computer screens. Unfortunately, mobile phone users tend to prefer watching videos without having to flip their smart phones onto their sides for video rotation and the vertical video does just that.

Applying for Credit

Those businesses seeking to use the Snapchat credit offer can do so by applying via the official website of the social media platform. An easily accessible form is filled out by those new to Snapchat marketing. Unfortunately, at this time, Snap is only offering the credit to marketers who have not yet advertised through the platform, so those currently using the vertical video campaign are not eligible. The credits being applied for are used directly for the Snapchat vertical video marketing campaign and can save companies hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars depending on the structure of their campaign.

The Battle Between Platforms

This strategy can be seen as a direct assault on Facebook and other social media platforms as it aims to collect their partners and possibly create a lasting bond for marketing purposes. The free credit, only offered to new users, is meant to contain current marketers and draw in new ones to add to the Snapchat lineup.

Strategically, this could be a good move by Snapchat, which is often seen as being lower on the totem than Facebook and other platforms. The prices Facebook charges for their marketing services have been on the rise lately, and Snapchat can use this to their advantage as they offer free advertising perks through their vertical video campaign.

The thought that Facebook is losing traction within the social media game following their privacy scandal, and the growing use of Snapchat among younger mobile phone users, dictates a possible flip for all social media marketers. Companies who want to target younger users may be more likely swayed by the offer of free credits via Snapchat, while businesses targeting older adults could stay steady in their current marketing tactics with Facebook.

Of course, the largest source of video marketing competition comes from YouTube, a video based social platform, which allows businesses to create accounts and market directly through popular videos. With millions around the world logging in to see their favorite YouTubers in action, Snapchat will still have their hands full trying to monopolize the video marketing industry.

So, will Snapchat see a big return on its latest marketing tactic? Conversion tools will be able to determine the success of this company vs. other social media platforms in the coming months. For now, only Snapchat will know how popular the offer is as more marketers roll in to fill out the form for free credits and switch their business from Facebook and Instagram to Snap. The advantage here is, of course, that with a free marketing tactic, there’s zero risk, whereas paying big bucks to Facebook has its drawbacks if the ad flops and nobody bites.

If for no other reason, marketers may turn to Snapchat for its novelty among partners. Facebook has been in the advertising game far longer than Snapchat, which could be a benefit to those starting out. It’s all been seen and done before, and while Facebook users might not take a second look at the multitude of ads streaming across their sidebar, Snapchat users could be more apt to pay attention because it hasn’t been seen a hundred times before. Social media users and marketers alike will have to keep their eyes peeled to see how this latest battle stands up.


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