Snapchat may baffle many marketers but Adidas has a clearer role for arguably the most interesting social network right now despite measurement still being a challenge.
A local channel and more content are what the sportswear manufacturer has in store for a platform it arrived on just last year. The ‘what you’re doing’ versus ‘what you say you’re doing’ nature of the ephemeral app has turned it into Adidas’ outlet for ‘behind the scenes’ broadcasts from the world of football.
“It’s our raw and real platform where we offer a look behind the curtains at life in the Adidas family,” said global social media director Dan Bulteel. “Users can see what it’s like to be an insider in football, hanging out with the world’s best football players or clubs, all in real-time.”
Adidas is mining Snapchat’s appeal to a group of people who are increasingly telling their life stories in images – whether photographic, film or emoji. That said, the sports marketer admits the challenge for 2016 is staying consistently relevant on the platform and it is monitoring how other advertisers have used it for insights.
Among those Snapchat services to pique Adidas' interest are geo filters and ‘Lenses’, a way to augment selfies with photos and animations that are less likely to be ignored because unlike ads they are attached to real content – they put a brand alongside a person’s face.
“The idea to add an interactive ‘Lense’ to a selfie is genius as it plays right into consumer behaviour,” added Bulteel. “Moving forwards, Snapchat needs to continue to take these products and offer a way for a brand to be part of it in a meaningful, non-intrusive way. There’s already been some advertiser successes with geo filters and Lenses in the past year or so, which is a good sign.”
While it has a handle on talking to Snapchat users, Adidas’ key issue is in ascribing effectiveness on the social network and isolating its impact within the wider marketing mix.
Bulteel explained: “As well as advertising products, data is key – if we spend on Snapchat we want to make sure it’s highly targeted so we are relevant and efficient in our communication. We also want to be able to interpret the results and learn more about our consumer through the platform. The introduction of a data/insight model is important to us for the future of our relationship with Snapchat.”
Adidas’ need for more data comes as the social network transforms from messaging app to a source for quick, effective news updates. That shift gives the sportswear business both its own channels and also those publishers on Snapchat to host its content, in turn opening up new native ways to ensure people view and engage with its ads.
Bulteel added: “When publishing on your own channel, you are in full control of the narrative and content, and you talk directly to your advocates who subscribed already. You can also create moments which travel into earned media without needing to partner with a publisher.
“Given the nature of the incredible access we aim to deliver, our stories are often picked up by the press. The benefit of working with a publisher is the opportunity to reach a new community and communicate at scale in a highly engaged platform.”
Looking forward, Adidas is focused on how Snapchat can help push its sponsorship of this year’s Uefa Euro championship, something that will lean heavily on the platform’s newly established European team. The social network has been hard at work staffing up its London team in recent months, meeting with agencies and brands to try and get on more pan-European media plans, though the lack of marketers with the confidence to talk about Snapchat's role suggests there is still much work to be done.
Adidas has flipped its marketing model in recent years from being TV-led to something much more akin to a social CRM model. Should Snapchat continue its rapid rise, the sports brand will no doubt look to exploit what you can do within the app as all mobile messaging expands beyond direct communications to services like payment transactions and group chats.