In light of our latest eBook on the psychology of Snapchat marketing, we had the pleasure to interview Torben Einicke, the founder and CEO of F9, a consultancy company for digital communication and business development. Read his entire interview below and find out how you can measure the success of your Snapchat campaign, which tools to use, how Snapchat marketing strategies in Europe differ from those in the US and how you can overcome the challenges that Snapchat poses for brands and influencers alike.
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1. When did you start using Snapchat?
Torben Einicke: It was around March 2015.
2. And when you started using it, was it for you or was it for marketing purposes?
Torben Einicke: It was a new network and I had to check it out and see how it works.
3. I know that you’re managing the Snapchat presence of music bands or singers. Could you tell us a little bit more about that? How does that work?
Torben Einicke: Snapchat is linked to an email address and you have only one active user, that’s the biggest problem. So, if you want to manage the Snapchat presence of an artist/ brand/ influencer, you just enter the account and use it as if you were the artist. But that defies the purpose of Snapchat because if you try to be someone else on Snapchat, be the artist for example, it wouldn’t work. Why? Because the content that an artist can create for his followers is totally different from the one that an agency can create for the followers. So we’re just using the login credentials for analytics. Every fact we get from Snapchat, we get from our analytics software but we don’t reveal everything to the artist because we don’t want to change the way in which the artist is using Snapchat. It has to be authentic. If we realise that some content isn’t very good, maybe we will tell the artist that this type of content is not working for his audience, or maybe it doesn’t work but the artist should do it to be authentic. We do a lot of analytics for the management. We see how many views there are and if there is something that doesn’t work we tell the management and not the artist.
“If advertising is too strong on Snapchat, the platform will disappear fast.”
4. What tools do you use to measure everything?
Torben Einicke: We got our own development. Our software is very complicated and it’s not for sale as SaaS products are. We’ve built really secure ways of using Snapchat without getting banned from the platform. On the other hand, we’re collaborating with Snaplytics.io. Their solution is really good, It’s similar to what we use with the difference that their solution is working for everyone without using the API. They are trying to protect you from getting banned.
5. What can you find out with the tool?
Torben Einicke: We can access 16 different metrics. For example, the number of views, the number of followers, how many views one snap or story has had, when a story is boring, when the user does a screenshot, how fast the response time from the user is when using chat, etc. One of the most important insights is where the users come from, which channel the user uses to access our Snapchat (QR code, link, name). That’s useful for when you are doing advertising campaigns and linking into Snapchat. We also know the gender of the person, the country, etc.
6. I’m sure that many people would like to have access to these….
Torben Einicke: Yes. On the other hand, too many people have been using metrics lately. We get a lot of advertising into Snapchat and I think that’s going to be the worst thing that could happen. Some days ago, they announced that they got advertising partners and I kind of got mixed feelings when I heard the news.
The biggest challenge for Snapchat is to get money. They’ve got different ways to generate revenue from the platform and, of course, advertising is one of the easiest ways to earn money. Snapchat had been looking for an advertising partner for over a year and had tried to get advertising available for brands. What they are doing now is clever because they don’t open the advertising gate to everyone like Facebook did. They partnered with agencies that I hope will be creating really good content, not just advertising content. I really hope that advertising on Snapchat will be great content because agencies are doing it. Maybe it won’t be annoying for the users. The biggest problem I see is when a lot of brands try to get on the network and try to do the advertising stuff like on all other networks. That will be the death of Snapchat. So I hope that the way they will be using ads won’t be annoying.
7. So if you want to have an ad on Snapchat you have to go to one of those agencies?
Torben Einicke: Yes. You have to contact one of these agencies to try and get on the API and get published into stories. In what concerns targeting, I think they will do the same as for the filters on demand. So, location-based targeting will be possible, I think. As far as I know, the API does only deliver ads into Snapchat and you get feedback about the views of the ads, not more. So the analytics will also be the same as for any filter. Snapchat is still trying to hide a lot of data from us.
8. How do you measure the success of a Snapchat campaign?
Torben Einicke: Nowadays, we don’t care about followers anymore. If you create boring content, nobody will see your snaps again. So for us the most important data is the number of views we had on a snap compared to how good is the completion rate (the views from the first snap until the last one). Sometimes users are skipping snaps, other times they are interacting with us. Also, we’re looking at whether they’re taking screenshots or not. So, views, completion rate and screenshots are our key metrics.
“Snapchat isn’t about engagement, it is about attention.”
User interaction is also important but the truth is that it’s impossible for any artist to manage chats. You really can’t prepare your answers and the copy-paste them. Chats are not easy to handle on Snapchat. For us, engagement is measured in the number of screenshots we got per snap.
9. What is the difference between snaps in the US and snaps in Europe in terms of content?
Torben Einicke: Oh, there’s a big difference. To be honest, content is better in the US. They are more creative, they are trying to get more interactions from one snap while in Europe it’s all about telling followers what you are doing now, nobody tries to get interaction. For example, imagine doing an unboxing video on Snapchat. Normally, in Europe, the person shows the package and says “I got this big present from …” and then you see what’s in the package. That’s kind of boring because there is no interaction and no engagement created between the users.
If you’re following someone from the US, you will see that they do it a bit differently. They show you the package “I have a surprise package from…” and the next point is that they take a photo with the package and draw something onto the picture like “tap for unboxing”. So when the user is tapping on the screen it’s an interaction. And then they open the package but don’t show the content and do it again for the next interaction. The are asking “What should I do next? Should I look into the package or should I …” Users take a screenshot and that’s the next interaction. They are trying to work with the followers more than Europeans do. It takes more time but you have to be creative.
I remember this actor from the US standing in his dressing room and asking “Which sunglasses should I wear?”. Then, he snaps his fingers, puts on the first pair and asks: “do you like it? Take a screenshot!” Then snaps his fingers again and has another pair on and so on. So there are many creative ways to use Snapchat and get people out of Snapchat and to your website. There are also tools that allow you to paste a link in Snapchat and when the user takes a screenshot of the link he lands on your web page. But I can’t tell you the name of the tool. Magicians don’t reveal all their tricks 🙂
In the US, they’ve got many features that we don’t have in Europe. For example SnapCash that allows you to transfer money to friends. In the US, they’ve also got filters on demand. You can create your own filter for your event or for something you want to show, upload it and pay a very small price for it. This is going to be a very big thing for Europe. However, I’m afraid that brands will be using these custom filters for simple and stupid advertising. Snapchat is different.
10. I read somewhere that Snapchat penalises you if you take a screenshot. Does that really happen?
Torben Einicke: In the past that happened but now I’m not so sure. Screenshots are the easiest way for a user to interact with someone. So I don’t think that this is happening.
11. Many people believe that Snapchat is a fad? Do you think that it will disappear just as fast as it appeared?
Torben Einicke: It depends on what’s going to happen next with the advertising market. If advertising is too strong on Snapchat it’s going to disappear fast. If advertising is ok and people are getting used to it and it’s not annoying, I think it’s going to work. Snapchat is something like a normal, standard, tool in the US. In Europe, it’s a big hype and nobody knows how to use it and get it into their marketing strategy. If it disappears in the US, we’ve got maybe 1 year before it also disappears in Europe. Because we’ve got so much delay in Europe in what concerns content production and Snapchat that I think it’s still going to work well throughout 2017 and 2018. It all depends on how much advertising is going to be on Snapchat.
12. Snapchat challenges in Europe
Torben Einicke: Brands should forget their old techniques. I think that this is the biggest problem here in Germany and I think that it’s also going to be a big problem in Austria. Agencies and brands are trying to use the same strategy on all networks and that simply doesn’t fit. One big problem for Germans is that all content is going to disappear after 24 hours. So they are creating content and paying a lot of money to agencies for content that will just disappear. It’s like a mindfuck for some major brands “Why should I use Snapchat if I can’t search it and do normal link building with it?”.
At the moment, a lot of people in Germany are doing a “Good morning” snap and a “Good night” snap. So they start a new story in the morning and then the story ends. I think that they don’t realise that on Snapchat stories have no end and no beginning because people can be on different time zones. They are doing that because most German Snapchat users don’t have followers on different time zones but that’s still wrong. It’s not a creative way.
Another problem is that if you’re creating a story that needs more than 10 or 20 snaps for example, normally you have to take a snap and then upload it and then take another one and upload it and so on. For the people following you, it’s quite annoying because they have to wait until they see the next snap. There is a delay between snaps. In the US, you see a story from the beginning until the end, you don’t have to wait. They are uploading all snaps at once and they do that by switching the phone in flight mode. They do the snaps, upload them and then switch back to active mode.
Lastly, I don’t think that many Europeans realise that they can create fantastic drawings on Snapchat to support their stories. They are writing a lot of text but nobody uses the drawing tools to create interesting drawings.
Businesses need to decide what their goal is with using Snapchat. Does it fit their preferred audience? They don’t have to be creative when using Snapchat as a brand. I know brands that are using Snapchat as a support channel and it works. For example, we’re using Snapchat as a communication tool in our team. And people love it!
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Nobody knows where all of this is going. I think that even Snapchat doesn’t know what the next development will be. It’s not like all employees know what’s going to be the next big update. They don’t know and that’s how they also make sure that the info doesn’t get out there.
We’ve recently done the world’s first music video on Snapchat. The artist has had to choose between having a video with a normal production company, which in most cases is very expensive, or creating a video on Snapchat. And he chose the latter. It took 2 weeks to create it but it worked. We even got mentioned by MTV UK.
About Torben Einicke
Torben Einicke is founder and CEO of F9, a consultancy company for digital communication and business development. As a trained business and PR consultant, Torben now has more than ten years of experience in digital channels. Together with his team, he develops successful digital strategies, concepts and content for their customers. He has recently designed a software for Snapchat and is also helping Snapchatters (artists, brands, influencers) with their developments.
Want to learn all about Snapchat marketing? Read all our interviews or download our free eBook!
- Ana-Maria Birsan, Lieblingswort: “How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing”
- Lisa Stadler, derStandard.at: “How and Why We Do Snapchat Marketing”
- Judith Denkmayr, VICE: “How Snapchat Marketing Works for Agencies and Brands”