Using Snapchat geofilter ads at a B2B event is an underutilized digital marketing practice because it’s so new. That’s why we, the team at Human Marketing, have taken it upon ourselves to test the latest and greatest digital marketing tactics and report our findings back to you. Here's our step-by-step guide on how to advertise on Snapchat.
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Snapchat for B2B Marketing...WTF?
You may be wondering, “Why on earth would you crazy marketers use a Snapchat geofilter at a B2B event?” To which our reply would be, “When in doubt, test it out!”
B2B marketers often forget that their target buyer personas are Internet-obsessed people who spend most of their waking life on their devices. At the end of the day, your B2B audience is scrolling through feeds, replying to posts, liking, commenting, snapping, pinning, retweeting, trolling and even memeing.
Even if you’re selling highly-technical, unsexy things like SaaS, IT solutions or cloud services, you’re selling them to people who likely have a childlike fascination with the Internet. Let’s face it. Technology is sexy.
One of the key takeaways from our time at the HubSpot Inbound Marketing Conference was that the digital landscape is evolving and so are B2B customers. B2B customers like being marketed to the way B2C customers are being marketed to: on their devices, in the networks they call their “digital homes.”
During Inbound's opening keynote, Gary Vaynerchuk touted the importance of social media for B2B, particularly advertising Snapchat:
"Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are the new ABC, NBC and MTV" - Gary Vaynerchuk @ Inbound 2016
The wonderful thing about Snapchat is that people use it to tell their daily story and communicate how fun their life is to their friends (even if it’s not). The even more wonderful thing about Snapchat ads is that they’re so new that they’re still relatively inexpensive to use.
1. Plan a Purposeful Campaign
The Human Marketing team was at HubSpot’s annual inbound marketing event in Boston earlier this November. With 18,000 forward-thinking digital marketers in attendance, we were absolutely shocked to notice that no other marketing agencies used the event as an opportunity to show off their brand with a dedicated Snapchat geofilter. Being the crew of experimental, data-driven Human Marketers that we are, we decided to try out a quick and dirty B2B Snapchat filter ad at the conference.
Since we were enjoying our time in Boston, we decided to use a Bostonian euphemism on our Snapchat filter: “Wicked Smaht.” Our friends at HubSpot are, after all, some of the most wicked smaht people we know.
2. Make Social More Social
It really isn’t enough to just throw a Snapchat filter up and expect the world to want to use it. Let your network know that your filter exists. Chances are, if you’re at an event, there’s an event #hashtag. Post screenshots of your geofilter on the networks that event attendees are likely to be documenting the event. For B2C events, those networks will likely be Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat (oh, how convenient!). For B2B events, spread the word on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.
If you noticed that those are the same networks for both B2B and B2C, then you’re catching on. Your savviest customers are using the same key social apps on their devices. These social customers are the ones that you want to turn into advocates. If they’re already liking, commenting, sharing, posting, tweeting, tagging, reblogging and hashtagging, then you’re halfway there to getting them to share your brand with their friends (have you even asked, yet?)
3. Use It or Lose It, Bucko!
The third and most dynamic facet of our campaign was actually walking around the exhibition floor and asking attendees to take a selfie with our team. It’s genius, isn’t it? Not only are we spreading the word about our Snapchat filter, but it’s the perfect icebreaker for the introverts out there. After 4 days of being surrounded by 18,000 people, even someone as outgoing as Kanye West can become an introvert. People are starting to become socially exhausted after spending morning to evening in an enclosed space, being forced to talk to other strangers. What better way to generate some engaging and memorable conversation than walking around a conference and taking selfies with people?
It’s a two-birds-one-stone scenario: Take the selfie, get a screenshot and tag them in the picture on a more public-facing social network (we used LinkedIn and Twitter).
4. Tie it All Together
While the purpose of our campaign was brand awareness, we're still lead-generating inbound marketers at heart. With just a few moments notice, we designed and implemented a modal popup to appear on our homepage. The lightbox was designed to attract the attention of potential talent to join our rapidly growing team. Because our filter didn't have a hard call-to-action, the popup didn't convert, which was expected.
Creating the filter was the easy part. Snapchat’s template builder does a really nice job of helping you create a filter on the fly. It probably took us about 15 minutes to create the actual design. The tricky part was getting it approved. Some rules and restrictions around Snapchat geofilters that we learned the hard way:
1. Underpromote. You can’t use a hashtag in your geofilters.
It makes sense. Snapchat wants to keep the eyeballs within Snapchat and not allow advertisers to send users to other #hashtaggable social networks.
Key takeaway: Go easy on the self promotion. Keep your logo small and discreet. No one wants to have your logo imposing on their selfie. #obvi
2. Pick a few timeslots. Geofilters are still in a beta-ish mode.
After our first filter got denied, the second one got denied simply because they overlapped in timing. It seems like the system reserved a timeslot for our failed ad, but then wouldn’t award it to our approved ad. Seems like a quick-fix bug that Snapchat will work out in coming weeks.
Key takeaway: Prepare to pick a few timeslots to run your ad, just in case one of the time slots is filled by other advertisers.
3. Prepare for delays. Approval turnaround and publish lead times are unclear.
We originally wanted to set our Snapchat geofilter to go live an hour after we submitted the designs. Approval notifications were almost instantaneous, so the short-term timing didn’t seem an issue. However, after our first 2 ads were denied, we were able to select the same, quick lead time for our ad to publish. We had to push the ad out to the next day, which was only a minor inconvenience.
Key takeaway: make sure your ad approved to be published at least a day in advance. A last minute campaign may not run as smoothly as you’d expect.
The goal of our campaign was to generate brand awareness in our industry and possibly even recruit some top-tier talent to join our top-tier team. While we didn't convert any new recruits, our filter was used 90 times and viewed over 4,000 times. The conference was the perfect venue for our campaign. We set up the filter to be shown in and immediately surrounding the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, one of the largest convention centers on the East Coast. Our Snapchat filter covered over 1.2 million square feet and was live for 3 hours. For that large of a geo-area, we only paid $160.51.
In short, the Snapchat filter was a unique way to get more eyeballs on our brand. This was a highly-targeted campaign, because we knew exactly who our audience was and where they were. While there were explicitly hard and fast results that we could attribute to the campaign, our team learned a lot about the power of using a tool like Snapchat for brand recognition.
Our recommendation to our clients: If you’re sponsoring, exhibiting or attending a B2B event, try a Snapchat geofilter. What’s the worst that could happen?