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Snapchat Sells Nouveau Storytelling

By Kim Palagyi

Businesses and causes looking to reach younger markets likely have heard of Snapchat. But, is the platform the right medium for serious commercial storytelling?

Snapchat is used everyday — in fact 6 billion times per day. And nearly three quarters of its users are under the age of 25. The social network’s marketing potential, strengthened by its storytelling features, is evident.

We think Snapchat is a great medium to use commercial storytelling to amplify your brand to the younger public, and for developing a friend-like bond with those audiences. Snapchat not only shows the marketplace that stories must be taken seriously, but changes what modern storytelling is.

 How does it work?

Snapchat’s stories are broken into three parts My Story, Our Story, and Discover. My Story is your story and allows you to share video clips of your life for 24 hours to your friends.

Our Story is published universally or based on your geo tag and presents collective content from users highlighting a specific event, delivered by the app and sponsors.

Released in January, Snapchat’s Discover allows you to watch and read content from publishers like National Geographic, Comedy Central, and CNN. Discover has 60 million monthly visitors, a testament to the effectiveness of storytelling. Snapchat brings the power of storytelling to the public in an updated and tangible context. You can create your own story, but also engage with content creators on you own terms.

What does it mean?

What this means is that Snapchat sells storytelling. You are the hero and you can show off your valiant quests to friends. Snapchat is your trusted mentor and provides gifts of entertainment.

Beyond embodying storytelling, Snapchat is changing how we engage with live events, because the experience is personal. Anyone can effortlessly transform life into a story that greets you on your phone when you want it. Next, stories, though public, have the appeal of being behind the scenes and this renders them more exciting as users feel they are in on something. Similarly, stories have the ability to transport, whether to a friend’s trip to Atlanta or Singapore. Just like a great novel, Snapchat’s stories allow you to resonate and empathize with another’s experience — in real time.

Will it work for me?

Snapchat is changing how marketing takes place, because Snapchat expects more from marketers. The app enables brands to humanize themselves for their audience every single day on an infinite numbers of devices. Ultimately, Snapchat turns brands into friends — companions who offer advice on trusted backpacks and new beauty tips. It’s up to the 3rd party to provide the better brand experience, and marketers need to be up to the challenge.

Snapchat is not the answer if your audience is over 25, but its lesson is in displaying the value of storytelling.

As a messaging app, Snapchat is impressive; in 2013 it turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook. However, Snapchat’s success sheds light on the effectiveness of storytelling and offers a glimpse of the future market; a place where marketing may greet you anywhere you go, but with thoughtful and enriching content that is consumed on your own terms. Snapchat has exceptional value to advertising, reinforcing how we communicate with others not just through words, but visual storytelling.

Kim Palagyi is an intern at Woden. Whatever your storytelling needs may be, let Woden help. Download our free StoryGuide, or send us an email at to discuss how we can help tell your story.