You’re too old for Snapchat (but is your brand?)

May 7, 2015

Mashable recently picked up on a Twitter trend among teens—screenshots of their parents’ failed attempts to use Snapchat (i.e., be cool).

Alamo Square Too Old for Snapchat photo 

Seeing these screen grabs hit a little close to home for me…because it’s exactly what my snaps looked like when I joined the social network to research this article.

Look—I’m not that old. I’ll be 31 in this month. And yes, I have two kids and I’m not in college and if I were to live-snap my Spring Break escapades it would just be a static picture of me reading a book. But am I really to old to understand the inner workings of this phone-only phenomenon?

Maybe. But I’ll try—so that marketers like you and me can benefit from a deeper understanding of who is using Snapchat, why they use it, and how brands can benefit.

Snapchat is: A phone-exclusive social network where users share personalized videos and images as they happen—and which disappear after they’re viewed. 

Who are Snapchatters? There’s a heavy high-school contingent, but Millenials up to their mid-20s still appear to be snapping. Make your cutoff consumers in their late 20s and beyond—they’re too old. (Find them on Instagram.)

Why do they use it? Snapchatters are not interested in cultivating an historic record of their communications with friends. (Considering that’s so much of what Facebook is, this is an interesting departure.) Instead, they want to share what they term “throwaway” or “nothing” moments—stuff they can experience together, as they happen, and then forget about.

Can brands sponsor Snaps?  Yes. Right now, there are three ways brands can make a media buy on Snapchat.


  • Launched: January 2015
  • Notable Brands: BMW, Starbucks, T-Mobile
  • Cost: Varies by publisher
  • How It Works: When a Snapchat user is tired of talking to their friends and wants to check in on the world at large, they can use Snapchat’s Discover feature. Launched with 11 publishers including CNN, Cosmopolitan, and National Geographic, Discover allows Snapchatters to view curated videos, articles, and other snackable content. While not all of the publishers currently on Discover accept brand sponsors, some do—and the results of such sponsorships have been what one anonymous insider called “f***king incredible.”

Our Story Sponsorships

  • Launched: November 2014
  • Brands: Samsung, Amazon, Hollister, and others
  • Cost: Undisclosed
  • How It Works: Our Story is a Snapchat feature which allows Snapchatters to contribute snaps (personalized photos or videos) to a broader cultural event—provided their phones are physically within the confines of a certain geographic location. And since November of last year, brands have had the opportunity to join in. Samsung was the first brand to sponsor an Our Story: the 2014 American Music Awards.

Snapchat Ads 

  • Launched: October 2014
  • Notable Brands: McDonalds, Universal Pictures
  • Cost: $750,000 per day, says AdWeek
  • How It Works: These ads are anything a snap can be—a photo, a video, a drawing with text, a combination of all three—and like every other snap, they last just 24 hours. They appear in a user’s Recent Events feed, and it’s up to the Snapchatter whether they want to tap them to view.

Don’t have $750,000 (or more) to spend on paid advertising on Snapchat? Stay tuned for our next article, how to maximize your impact on Snapchat without a media buy. We’ll announce when it’s live on our Facebook page!

Can’t wait? Contact us directly and we’ll give your brand a personalized Snapchat recommendation.

What else is on the horizon?

Snapchat isn’t the only social network currently making the rounds among the world’s youth. YouNow, another personal live video broadcasting service, has gathered over 4 million monthly users, most of them under 20. YouNow hasn’t reached the marketing potential of Snapchat as of yet, but with its built-in gifting and monetization system, we think it’s worth keeping an eye on. 

by Katie Rottner 
Senior Copywriter