Snapchat is rolling out a new major feature, called “Snap to Store,” which will allow its advertisers to track and analyze foot traffic into their stores as a result of the platform usage.
The process, revealed in Snapchat’s S-1 filling, is pretty simple. When a user visits a brick-and-mortar business and applies a geofilter — a custom overlay on the image that shows the location — to their snap and sends it to friends or adds it to Stories, the network’s tool tracks all the friends who’ve seen the snap to determine if they visit the business in the following seven days. Interestingly, it also analyzes whether friends who did not see the snap still visit that business within a week.
A few large companies, such as Wendy’s, Paramount Pictures and 7-Eleven participated in the trial run of the feature. Wendy’s, for instance, found that the “Snap to Store” helped drive 42,000 additional visitors within a week.
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Now that the feature is tested, it will be offered to all brands that spend a certain amount in advertising budget with the platform (Snap, Inc. declined to specify the spending level).
However, the new feature has its flaws. For example, it can’t track visitors who are not actively using the app on the business’ premises, so the data, at least for now, is partial at best. Plus, although Snapchat will pass along to advertisers information like aggregate data on gender and age of the visitors, it won’t give out the specifics on individual users. On top of that, as a user, you can choose not to share your location and deny the given permission in settings. This will stop you from using Snapchat’s geofilters, but you will need to decide on some priorities here.
Snapchat is stepping up its advertising game, partly because of recent serious moves from Facebook and Instagram. The two apps already have more user data than Snapchat, and all the shameless cloning of Snapchat’s features doesn’t help the latter either.
The company, however, still boasts more than 150 million daily users who spend an average 25-30 minutes on the app. Plus, Snap Inc. recently partnered with Oracle to take advantage of offline sales data, which will further enhance the platform’s ability to track purchases and store traffic. The same data has been used for years by major competitors, such as Google and Facebook.
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The company also touts “a new way to understand what’s happening in Snaps that are submitted to Our Story, and to create new Stories using advanced machine learning.” All of those strategies are welcomed by advertisers, but users? Not so much.
Snapchat famously avoids being “creepy” with its advertising, yet they are closely following the playbook of other networks in their advertising approaches. Snapchat has still a lot of catching up to do in terms of accessibility and usage of its advertising platform, which directly translates into monetizing the network. Only time will show whether Snapchat will stick to its words.