Snapchat users tend to be aged between 18 and 24, with 45% falling into this age group, and the app’s monthly active users reach more than 300 million.

However, when it comes to using Snapchat for business, how useful is the social media platform?

While Snapchat is more popular with the younger demographic, several brands use it for marketing purposes and swift engagement due to the 24-hour time limit for uploading stories.

According to digital marketing solutions company Thrive Hive, a few ways to enhance a business’s Snapchat marketing strategy include sharing milestones such as preparing for an event, launching a new product or opening another location, offering exclusive deals, rewarding loyalty and driving traffic to the website.

In regards to rewarding existing customers and encouraging engagement, Thrive Hive content marketing manager Kristen McCormick said: “You could reward your loyal Snapchat followers by offering a discount or promotional code at the end of your Snapchat story. Only those who watch until the end will have the information and instruction they need to get the prize.

“Another way to use Snapchat in this manner is to craft a message in your story that tells those who respond directly to you that they will get a reward.

“For example, if they send you a snap of themselves using your product or service, they will get a coupon. In addition to increasing brand loyalty, these tactics will increase your Snapchat engagement overall.”

Amazon has its own Snapchat account to share gift ideas, exclusive deals, competitions, and recommendations. The app’s latest update allows users to swipe up if a link is attached to take them directly to the website.

Taco Bell’s Snapchat use is also an example of the advantages of using the app for business.

The company has used it to announce new additions to its menu and share tips on how to secure a Valentine’s Day date. Marketing doesn’t always have to be dull and tedious, as the app’s features allow for creativity.

However, Digital Marketing Specialist director Tom Davenport is not convinced by Snapchat’s usefulness for business.

He said:

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Snapchat may give access to a particular demographic who can be harder to collect on other platforms, but there’s no clear way to follow up with its users after an initial awareness campaign.

If I want to drive a call to action, and make a behaviour happen after someone first engages with, say, an initial video for awareness, then on Facebook and Instagram I can follow up right there in the same platform with a static image and link which will drive more clicks.

Snapchat isn’t even on our radar despite marketing for major pop artists, as one example of a client whose audience would be using Snapchat. We get a more than satisfactory return on Instagram via Facebook’s ad platform.

Snapchat hasn’t done anything to engage or educate me as an agency owner and if it wants me to sell its inventory to our clients, it will have to do better to explain how it will help and why we should care.

So far it’s failed in reaching me, which says plenty about its marketing ability. Facebook and Google have done just fine from us and our clients.

Controversial update for Snapchat users

The camera company’s latest update received massive backlash when it mixed in Snapchat stories with direct messages in an attempt to redesign following a revenue loss of $443m in Q3 2017.

Users took to the App Store to review the update, with 83% of people ranking Snapchat with two stars or below, while 17% of the reviews ranked between three to five stars, according to mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower.

Users threatened to abandon Snapchat and its market value fell by $1.3bn following celebrities announcing they were ditching it, which highlights the app’s volatile nature.

Freelance digital marketer Dan White said the businesses he tends to work with have “incredibly little” to do with Snapchat.

He said:

The majority of businesses I work with either have no idea about what kind of content to create should they approach it, feel that it doesn’t align with their brand (most businesses I work with a fairly corporate) [or] feel it’s another channel they have to maintain.

A lot of businesses are fatigued by the number of channels and number of changes that happen to stay on top of updates.