Snapchat introduced two new ways for marketers to reach target audiences based on the kind of location, the distance around a map point or foot traffic in an area, according to a company blog post. The image-messaging app with 187 million users wants to give businesses a way to reach customers who are in the right place at the right time to take action.
Snapchat offers 150 types of pre-determined locations that include bars, beaches, car dealers, college campuses, movie theaters and music venues for ad targeting. The radius targeting lets advertisers set a target for a specified distant around a map point, such as an address, city, latitude and longitude pair of coordinates or place of interest.
In addition, Snapchat is testing an analytics tool to help advertisers with brick-and-mortar locations track in-store traffic of Snapchat users. The Foot Traffic Insights tool can provide information about the user’s age, gender and interests, per Marketing Land.
Snapchat is building on geolocation as a defining feature of the app, with its Geofilters, Context Cards and Snap Map features. The platform said 80% of users have opened the app at a restaurant, 67% at a shopping mall and 50% at a gym, making those locations ripe for specific kinds of ads. The app gives advertisers an opportunity to reach an engaged audience based on where they are outside the home. As an example, a sunscreen brand can reach its users at beaches or a movie studio can target them at a theater. Radius targeting can reach people around a specific area, like a sports stadium or address. Advertisers also can narrow location categories by state, city and DMA, among other criteria.
While location-based advertising is one of the unique differentiators of mobile marketing, the challenge for marketers is in understanding what a user's location indicates about their intention to purchase. Marketers also need to be sure they are working with high-quality location data while balancing the fact that they can reach mobile users on-the-go with the need to not seem overly intrusive or creepy by delivering an ad when it's not wanted.
Snapchat’s geotargeting features for advertisers are expanding as the image-messaging app introduces a location-based feature for users called Map Explore to alert people about what’s happening on their Snap Map. The travel and location updates automatically appear on a user’s Snap Map when friends opt to share their location. The feature shows updates for Our Story snaps that include breaking news and other events from around the world. Snapchat said its daily users open the app an average of 25 times a day to send photos and videos to friends, see news and find out what’s happening nearby.
Snapchat may have an opportunity to take advantage on the growing mistrust of rival Facebook, which in the past week acknowledged widespread abuse of its data sharing with third parties without notifying its users. The scandal has led to the creaky routine of public mea culpas by executives and even breathless claims that Facebook is almost indispensable to users. But as the social networking giant faces lawsuits, boycotts, hashtag campaigns, potential fines, increased scrutiny from government regulators and negative publicity from its latest betrayal of user trust, competitors can highlight the ways they reach target audiences without the backlash. With advertisers seeking an alternative to the dominance of Facebook and Google in digital advertising, Snapchat may have an opening.