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Snapchat?s Our Story drives emotional brand connections with personalized, crowdsourced content

While many sports marketers have flocked to social media application Snapchat?s ?Our Story? feature to leverage crowdsourcing techniques and bring live events to large numbers of consumers, the strategy is likely to work well for brands in any sector as users appreciate seeing snippets of real experiences to fuel future participation.

Snapchat users received crowdsourced content directly from World Series games this past fall, which was compiled from moments captured by attendees that consented to share their selfies, reaction videos and game photos with the ?Our Story? feature. Although this tactic is certain to gain traction in the sports marketing world, which hinges heavily on live events, more sectors such as music, film and politics will likely turn to personalized crowdsourced content to connect emotionally with consumers and offer a more in-depth glimpse at their services, events or products.

?Consumers and fans alike are spending an increasing amount of time multi-screening events, whether you?re live at an event and want to engage further with the team or sponsoring brands, or at home and want to take part in the conversation through hashtags, or Snapchat?s My Story feature,? said Danny Kourianos, senior vice president of product at Rakuten Marketing, Salt Lake City, Utah.

?The Oreo Super Bowl moment on Twitter is probably the most famous use of a marketer taking advantage of a real time event,? he said.

?The key is for brands to engage in a way that doesn?t come across as forced. The social media app user is going to respond to authenticity.?

Optimal opportunity
Snapchat?s ?Our Story? feature is an optimal opportunity to leverage real marketing materials: other users? experiences and interactions that display the event or product in real-time. For sports marketers, distributing ten-second clips of fans? post-game reactions or favorite plays can spark interest in a plethora of consumers that want to experience the same feelings.

?The thrill of attending a live event can be an exhilarating experience,? said Djamel Agaoua, CEO of MobPartner, San Francisco. ?People attending live events have an affinity to share moments, experiences, and engage with their network of friends.

??This enables social media apps to act as a viable tools? for brands and marketers seeking to draw awareness and attendance to their events.?

However, while the strategy is optimal for large-scale events such as the World Series or college football games, experts believe that other marketers will soon cotton on and begin enticing consumers with snippets of video advertisements on Snapchat as well. For instance, a politician seeking to gain more voters may distribute a clip from a recent rally, and a music marketer wanting to attract ticket sales may entice fans with a behind-the-scenes video from a well-known band or panoramic video from the festival?s stage.

?I think this is a great tactic for any marketer, not just sports marketers,? said Shawn Aguilar, digital marketing manager at TapSense, San Francisco. ?It is a very powerful tool especially when it comes to showing events that are truly relevant to a respective audience.

?I think the key thing with this is that the brands are trusting Snapchat to pick the best snaps for the event. It is up to Snapchat to create a story that users actually want to see,? he said.

?I have seen some great ones that have me intrigued and then others that I instantly have removed.?

Untapped potential
Snapchat?s crowdsourced content leaves a wealth of relatively untapped potential for a slew of marketers. While a product can certainly be shown with the ?Our Story? feature, either with a 360-degree view or a display of how it can be used in a consumer?s life, the real potential lies in marketing live events and driving brand awareness.

?Live events are ideal for crowd-sourced material,? said Mark Ghermezian, CEO and co-founder of Appboy, New York. ?Each individual submission provides a unique perspective, allowing viewers to feel like they are attending and entice them to join in on future events.

?There is plenty of opportunity for crowdsourcing at music festivals, fashion shows, concerts and political conventions.?

Users initially feeling hesitant about attending a live event, regardless of sector, may be swayed after viewing real-life encounters on Snapchat that they may not otherwise have been exposed to. Social media is also an optimal method of communication for many consumers that enjoy large-scale events, as they can sort through compiled feeds of relevant Tweets, photos or videos from fellow event-goers.

?Sports fans are one of the most vocal groups on social media,? Mr. Ghermezian said. ?Mobile allows fans to directly interact with players, teams and other fans from any device, whether they are at the game, watching at home or on the go.?

Ultimately, while many consumers might think of Snapchat as a social media app solely for exchanging snaps with friends, marketers and brands can find a simple way of connecting with mass amounts of potential clients via the ?Our Story? feature in a way that plays mainly on emotions and experiences.

?I think marketers in the event, entertainment, sports, musicians, and even politicians can use this,? TapSense?s Mr. Aguilar said. ?I think as Snapchat starts to get better targeting options, they will be able to open up their services to many more local business rather than just big brands.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York