Stanford dropout Evan Spiegel revealed to the Huffington Post recently that he still lives with his Dad and said that he plans to stay under the parental roof ‘until he kicks me out’.
Perhaps he’s using the long evenings in to draft his eagerly anticipated business plan to monetize the platform. Presumably if he gets that right, he’ll be packed up and into a city-centre penthouse in no time.
Whatever his ambitions for his next pad, he’s bound to be seriously considering how his creation, which is highly popular among teenagers and young adults, can work with brands.
Spiegel has already confirmed that the first phase of the monetization strategy will involve in-app transactions but let’s consider a few of the options for how marketing on Snapchat could look, and how likely it is that Spiegel can cut the apron strings and get his own place based on the strength of those ideas…
‘This message replay is brought to you by…’
Allowing users to re-view messages is one option. Spiegel already introduced ‘stories’ earlier this year where users can choose to allow their image to be viewed over a 24hr period. Spiegel could expand on this idea by introducing message replay options where user messages can be replayed a limited number of times. Revenue could be gleaned from brands who sponsor the replayed message.
Likelihood of Spiegel moving out: Medium
‘You’re nearby, come and shop’
Spiegel could sell user data to retail companies who could then contact customers who are nearby with special offers and discounts to try to entice them in-store. This would be in the form of unsolicited ads that would appear in the users inbox. This is a tricky move for Snapchat and you can imagine there would a few aggravated users who find the ads a nuisance. You would also have users put off by the feeling that their behaviour is being monitored or tracked, which is counter to the disposable spirit of the platform.
Likelihood of Spiegel moving out: Medium/Low
It’s a safe bet that Spiegel will introduce stickers as part of their editing software. Brands could pay to be part of this package by featuring their products as sharable stickers – effectively introducing product placement within Snapchat. This would fit pretty well within the existing platform without disrupting the user experience too much. In addition you can see how this lends itself well to reporting (an area in which Snapchat has so far been non existent to the frustration of marketers everywhere). Perhaps ‘number of Coke bottles/Nike trainers/iphones shared on snapchat’ will soon be included in social media managers reporting…
Likelihood of Spiegel moving out: High
Whatever option/s Spiegel ends up choosing, he’s going to need to be careful to maintain an enjoyable user environment in which people feel free from aggressive monitoring and selling and that conversation is allowed to flow naturally. It would be a shame to see a turnabout in fortunes and alienate the fickle young audience.
And even sadder for Spiegel not to have his own hot tub which he surely deserves.
NB: This is by no means an exhaustive list – nor are they mutually exclusive – but are some of the more interesting options available to Spiegel in my opinion)
Olly Honess is a Senior Account Manager for social agency @cubaka.