Why Snapchat Is More Than Just Selfies

By Michele Weisman Snapchat has quickly become a high valued, popular social mobile app. In just less than two years since its launch, Snapchat has an estimated value of $800 million with about 200 million snaps sent per day. To compare, Instagram users post 45 million photos per day. With the rise of bite-sized social content, Snapchat's success should be no surprise to marketers. And here's why:

One-third of Americans own a tablet and 91% own a smart phone. Mobile internet usage is skyrocketing, which has critical implications for businesses. Multimedia apps like Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat, are continuing to include and improve their photo and video capabilities to keep up with social consumption.

So with Snapchat's popularity set to continue soaring, what does this mean for brands?

1. Surprise and delight. Taco Bell was one of the first major brands to join Snapchat. In May, the fast-food chain tweeted that their fans should follow them on the app to reveal a secret announcement. Taco Bell sent messages to their fans that they are reintroducing the Beefy Crunch Burrito. This promotion proved that Snapchat can be used as a marketing tool to communicate surprise product announcements with their fans directly one on one.

2. Reach an exclusive tight knit community. Acura recently decided to experiment with Snapchat when it wanted to preview a new prototype NSX supercar. The first 100 users to add Acura_Insider as a friend, received a six-second clip of the NSX supercar speeding around a racetrack. With the use of Snapchat, this savvy marketing tactic lets consumers feel like they are getting a sneak preview of something that is exclusive.

3.  Reward your community with a secret offer. In January, 16 Handles, the New York frozen yogurt chain, launched the first Snapchat campaign. Dubbed "Snappy New Year," the campaign urged 16 Handles' Facebook fans to send a photo of their frozen-yogurt to 16 Handles' Snapchat account. Participants then received a coupon from 16 Handles via Snapchat to be redeemed at the register. By using a unique coupon code, ROI can be directly tracked once the code is used.

Snapchat forces users to create  meaningfully content in a one to ten second window. Content must be so compelling that the person receiving the message is either captivated, rewarded, or amused.

What is your favorite feature about Snapchat? Will your brand be joining the popular social app? Share in the comments below!