Look Out, Foot Traffic Metrics, Here Comes Snapchat

In full disclosure, I wrote this in between laughable moments of me trying for the nth time to figure out how to use Snapchat. Unlike the 41% of 18-34 year olds, I am in the majority who haven’t quite got it yet ... . But I continue to be impressed by advertising formats Snapchat is championing such as sponsored lenses. Gatorade’s lens is genius. Matt Damon, who protested the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge because of all the wasted water, should be sending letters of support to Snapchat for their novel way of saving the water but keeping the social media-worthy facial effects at an all-time high. It may be even funnier when people fake it. 

Regardless of your willingness to “dunk” yourself, what Snapchat’s platform continues to do, and where content aggregation sites have failed, is keeping the focus on the individual and/or their environment as a consumer (willingly), and not only on the content they can send out as a broadcaster. The broadcast moment — now automated or scheduled with just a few clicks — has forced brands to consider if these posts or messages are just one way of yelling into a large crowd compared to a large volume of small, emotionally charged networks that seem to be forming around watering holes like Snapchat. 



So, why should platforms with deep profiles or existing location technology start to feel the pressure now? Because the headache that accompanies setting the geo coordinates for location-based filters or zoning in on the appropriate point in the customer journey just got a cure. It appears Yext Inc has come to the rescue and, like all great things that happen successfully on the Internet, allowed the geo filter setup experience to be boiled down to a few clicks, exciting hungry agencies looking to implement the next era customer acquisition techniques before someone else does. 

Agency and brand enthusiasm over this platform isn’t just hype. Boasting 150+ million daily users, Snapchat is a rising force providing a unique way to not only verify location, but now to also verify demographic information, store quality and emotional states while still getting traditional metrics like network views and time spent. I can imagine a number of companies that would want to integrate with the filter layer such as Affectiva (which uses technology to interpret what emotions are present) or Clarifai (visual recognition of objects) to provide a full picture of the consumer’s state and not just how they are interacting with the application.

If you add up the location, moment of truth captured, environment, emotion, and quite a bit more, you are only left with the question of “Did they buy something?” I would predict that Snapchat is already well underway — with its 10 partners such as Nielsen — towards proving its effectiveness. If that happens, they’ll have the magic intersection of a mostly likable format, embraced by consumers with richer context for delivery and distinct metrics to prove it worked. I think that’s the way the Internet is supposed to work.

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