What the new update looks like, how it changes the way Snapchat encorporates advertising, and what this means for social media marketing.

Since its launch in September 2011, Snapchat has accumulated a user base that sends 400 million snaps a day, at the incredible rate of 8.796 photos per second. 77% of college students use Snapchat daily and 71% of Snapchat users are under the age of 34, the generation known as the millennials. Millennials compromise a growing majority of the workforce, and currently hold the potential for $900 billion in purchasing power. It is vital for companies to learn how to communicate with this consumer base, and in order to do so, they will have to embrace Snapchat.

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Snapchat’s growing net worth is accumulated through increasingly integrated advertising. Snapchat’s initial strategy when introducing advertisements was to avoid targeting specific demographics of users. Leslie Picker of Bloomberg News explains in an interview that Snapchat’s advertising plan was “different than Facebook and Twitter. They’re trying to have less intrusive ads, ads that don’t come with demographic profiles of people…They’re going to just do broader ads, and their way of doing this…is through entertainment.”

The first step of integrating advertising into the platform was the Discover feature, introduced in January 2015. This feature enabled user to stream video content from editorial teams, such as CNN, the Food Network, and National Geographic, to name a few. Snapchat users could now find recipes, stream news stories, or even take a peek at another part of the world, all on the platform that they already use to share moments of their lives with their friends. Companies could purchase spots on the Discover page, at about $20 for every thousand views, with Snapchat raking in up to half the sale price of each ad. This method of advertising resulted in massive amounts of exposure for the featured companies, as Snapchat ads can expect from 500,000 to a million views a day.

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With the Discover feature, Snapchat established itself as a commanding force in a world of social media marketing and advertising, while maintaining their policy to avoid targeting user demographics. It is yet to be seen whether Snapchat’s newest update, which involves interactive photo filters that alter the image of the user’s face, upholds this approach. The filters work for the mere fact that they provide a fun and unique experience for users, something a little off-center and unexpected. And they hold enormous potential for businesses using social media to market their products and services.

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The potential of these alarming new filters is difficult to discern at first, but becomes clear when you examine the possibilities this opens up for advertising. It seems possible that companies will soon be able to design their own interactive filters, and sell them to users through Snapchat. The filter update holds the potential to create branding that can be individualized and communicated to other consumers.

Another aspect of the Snapchat update is the ability to purchase extra replays. A previous update introduced in 2013 enabled users to replay one snap a day, letting them rewatch a snap or video. Now, with the new update, users can purchase packs of replays, and businesses can take advantage of this feature. Companies marketing through Snapchat can now send once-only discounts, and if the user misses it, they can buy extra replays. A pack of three replays can be purchased for $0.99, which will be a purchasing no-brainer when customers can screenshot and cash in coupons for $20 off your company’s products.

The Snapchat update offers hugely potential opportunities for companies that choose to take advantage of this marketing opportunity. Integrating it into your company’s future social media marketing plans will have enormous benefits for your brand.