Meet the Snapchat Generation

What defines this huge community of Snapchatters?

New behaviours and values are changing the world and the 249 million people who communicate using Snapchat are in the vanguard. 

The “Snapchat Generation” is less defined by age than by attitude - and it’s one marketers need to wrap their arms around if they are to appeal to tomorrow’s mainstream consumers.

So what are the attitudes they share? How do they use Snapchat and - crucially - how can brands engage with them on the platform?

In a content series of articles, film and a podcast - all hosted on a Campaign-Snapchat hub – we’re shining a light on this vast group of tech-savvy young people who are determined to make their mark and taking a look at how brands can join them on their journey

In these pieces, we examine: how brands can tap into close friendship messaging-groups and the rise of individuality within them; how to create campaigns around social responsibility that resonate; how Snapchatters are changing buying habits, giving brands a compressed route from discovery to purchase, and how today’s Snapchat Generation might be those who will have the most impact on the post-Covid economy and society as a whole.

The Snapchat Generation is a community of close-knit friends who talk to one another face-to-face, send photo or video Snaps instead of texts, explores what’s happening in their town and all over the world using Snap Map, consume and share content from trusted media sources on the app - and who aspire to shape a better world. 

Snapchat’s appeal to users is that, at its heart, it’s about close friends communications, with no “town square” in which to broadcast; that messages are private by default and disappear; that there are no public vanity metrics such as likes, shares or comments; that it’s immersive and visual, and that it’s packed with market-leading AR and premium, curated video. And more. 

The app’s privacy credentials generate trust among users who feel free to express themselves authentically and enable brands to forge a more direct connection with them - building awareness and consideration, as well as guiding them to action or purchase, often using bespoke AR

Brands such as Adidas, Gymshark, Depop and Starling Bank are already tapping into this super-engaged, highly-principled community to great effect. “One fantastic thing about the Snapchat community is their overall ethos and their positive outlook on where we’re going,” says Charlotte Swead, senior performance marketing manager at social shopping app Depop.

Snapchat research has found five characteristics that broadly reflect the attitudes of the Snapchat Generation, a group that Snap Inc chief marketing officer Kenny Mitchell describes as “the most informed, tolerant, active and diverse in history”.

The characteristics are: 

  • taking social responsibility
  • building community
  • celebrating individuality
  • nurturing friendships 
  • communicating in new ways 
Social conscience
Driven by growing consumer expectation for brands to reflect their own values, it’s more important today than ever that marketers don’t sidestep important societal issues. Social awareness is pronounced among Snapchatters, 82% of whom believe they have a personal responsibility to create the change they want to see in the world, while, most pertinently for brands, eight of 10 Snapchatters believe businesses should play a part in solving social issues.

For advertisers and their agency partners, this clearly means finding messages and a tone of voice that resonates, rather than jars. Brands can bolster brand love by ensuring their campaigns align with users’ values. “We’re here to change the world and we’re certainly here to change how people shop,” says Depop’s Swead.

The importance of community
Aligning a campaign with Snapchat’s community-centric audience makes commercial sense – Snapchatters are 34% more likely than non-Snapchatters to buy from brands who support their local community.

While a sense of collective responsibility is the very basis of community, communities themselves consist of individuals. It’s a notion reflected by Gen Z Snapchatters, who deem “be yourself” to be the slogan that best defines them.

Individuality and diversity is core to a Snapchatter’s mindset, with nearly three out of four saying they like to be surrounded by different people, cultures and ideas.

What does this mean for marketers? Avoid being prescriptive and certainly don’t tell Snapchatters what to think. Instead, give them the tools, such as lenses and filters, to let them express your brand message in their own voice. 

“I think the exciting part about the diversity of the Snapchat Generation is that they have stories that have yet to be told,” says Frito-Lay’s vice-president of marketing Sadira Furlow. “They are the generation that wants to make more room for everyone to show up more authentically.”

The persuasive power of friendship
The ephemerality of Snapchat’s disappearing messages is just one of the ways that the platform gives users a safe space to be themselves with their friends. It’s an important point for marketers who may be used to targeting social influencers to disseminate their message. The fact is: Snapchatters say close friends are over five times more influential than influencers when it comes to purchase decisions.

And these are friends who are imbued with positivity. Over 80% of Snapchatters believe it’s important to bring joy to others every day; and this year, users wrote the words ‘happy’ and ‘love’ more than any other in their Stories. Starling Bank’s senior acquisition manager Maria Milenkova points to an alignment between the bank’s customers (“Starlings”) and Snapchatters which works well for the brand. Positivity is a common trait between them, she says, and “the positivity, it’s entwined in our brand, in our tone of voice, in our brand identity and even down to our ads.”

Content and calls-to-action around friendship and positivity will be those that engage and stick.

Communication revolution
Having grown up with the smartphone, the Snapchat Generation has new expectations around how best to communicate. Texts are replaced by photos or video - and vertical video is the norm; indeed, three-quarters of Snapchatters say vertical video is more personal and immersive than horizontal video. And an average 180 million of them engage with AR every day.

“This is a community that loves interacting with brands in immersive environments,” says Publicis Media’s chief digital officer Helen Lin. “AR is going to be that expected experience that everyone — the Snapchatters and future generations — are all relying on.”

For brands, the message is clear: get to know the Snapchat Generation, act with empathy, and embrace the language fuelled by the camera to connect with a valuable, super-engaged audience.

Snap Inc. is a camera company. We believe that reinventing the camera represents our greatest opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate. Find out more about advertising opportunities on Snap here >>>