My New Snapchat Friend: McDonald's

Please, McDonald’s, get in touch. I joined Snapchat, just for you!

Seriously, though, the Social Media Insider is curious. When she read that McDonald’s had joined Snapchat last week, she just had to check it out. And while my timing for actually getting around to downloading the app meant I missed some early week snaps from LeBron James in support of a new sandwich that “drops” on March 10, I remain hopeful that this foray into the world’s most ephemeral social platform will change my relationship with McDonald’s, my smartphone, and all of the handful of people I asked to be my Snapchat friends. While I know very little, this much I do know: I’m not the demo.

Ok, the sardonic in me just came out, but I remain curious, which means I’ll probably soon find myself signing up to be Snapchat pals with Juicy Couture (aged out of it), HBO’s “Girls” (never seen it, but I did go to high school with Allison William’s mother), NPR (more my demo) and Taco Bell (ate there just two weeks ago). I just gotta know: How will advertisers use this platform  -- and what does it mean to them when an ad vaporizes?

The short answer is surprisingly simple; if McDonald’s entry into Snapchat is any guide, they won’t. Maybe that seems antithetical to the platform, but the fact remains that the more friends a person or brand has, the more likely it is the snaps will be captured by someone. Screen grabs of the McDonald’s effort are currently living in perpetuity not only on Mashable, but also at Adweek.com, Time.com, and the occasionally NFSW Snapsexposed Twitter handle, currently about 2,250 followers strong.

Brings a whole new spin to this ephemeral business, doesn’t it? Granted, the reason everyone -- or at least the business press -- is so interested in McDonald’s snaps is that they exist. A blurry picture of LeBron James with the caption “March 10!!!’” does not a great ad campaign make. And, surely, advertisers aren’t in the Snapchat game because of the off chance their snaps will become more permanent, anyway.

So what’s the point? Since McDonald’s hasn’t gotten in touch yet, I don’t have much insight, only questions: Given that Snapchat has no revenue model and doesn’t lend itself to ad units, will it -- unlike other social platforms -- charge advertisers merely for having an account? Will it, according to its very nature, be mainly for ad efforts that are in and of themselves ephemeral, like 24-hour sales? But the biggest question is this: Once the novelty wears off, will brands be ignored? In Snapchat, has social marketing met its match?

I’ll let you know, as soon as I hear from McDonald’s -- and then, as usual, the Social Media Insider will have all the answers.

Tags: social media
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