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Snap Adidas Marketing

Adidas claims retention on Snapchat is ‘insane’ compared to YouTube but maintains it’s a ‘work in progress’


By Seb Joseph, News editor

September 19, 2016 | 7 min read

Adidas is yet to know the full role of Snapchat in its marketing but it does know that its content is likely to be viewed for longer when it’s on the app compared to other platforms.


Adidas claims retention on Snapchat is ‘insane’ compared to YouTube but maintains it’s a ‘work in progress’.

It’s one of the early takeaways the sportswear brand has garnered from the 20 or so Stories it has posted over the last year. Such has been the level of engagement from those posts that “retention on Snapchat,” is insane for Adidas, claimed Dan Moseley, its account director at We Are Social. Speaking at Social Media Week London, he explained how this was particularly true when retention rates for its Snapchat Stories were compared to its videos on YouTube, which have played a pivotal role in the brand’s revamp over the last 18 months.

“It’s [Snapchat] is regularly topping out 80 to 90 per cent much higher [compared to YouTube],” he said. “That’s really important in showing that we can deliver something that people don’t drop off on.”

Statements like this are few and far between given the unfamiliarity many marketers still have with the platform and the limited experience many have with what metrics they should use. For example, retention is measured by the amount of time someone spends viewing a Snap from beginning to end or how long they engage with a Story. Snapchat shares how many views each post gets in your Story, which Adidas has used to determine whether people are finding its content entertaining from start to finish.

If the performance is to be believed, then its testament to how the sportswear maker has been able to harness the reach of its football and fashion influencers at a time when it is notoriously difficult to drive views organically on social media. Whether it’s Stormzy creating a Snapchat Story of his music video with Adidas athlete Paul Pogba or Pharrell Williams sharing moments from the LA launch of his own Originals line, the brand is adamant that its success on the platform is down to the influencers it partners rather than accounts it owns.

“We’re really proud of what we’ve done on Adidas Football and Adidas Originals in terms of the accounts but you don’t those [accounts] to be effective on the platform,” said Chris Watt, social media manager at Adidas, at the same event.

"For a brand like ours with so many stories to tell like those for our rugby brand around the World Cup last year or categories for the Olympics this summer, we decided it [using accounts on Snapchat] wasn't always the best route to take and that it was actually better to use paid for media options and influencers for those instances."

While being able to pit Snapchat Stories against YouTube has been a fillip for its marketers’ efforts to secure more budget for the channel, there’s also the work they are doing with the app’s other features that is turning heads internally.

More than 500,000 people have used one of the brand’s Geofilters – that’s half a million pieces of user-generated-content within 24 hours on a platform the brand knows over-indexes on its target user. When Stormzy had his birthday at Thorpe Park this summer, Adidas’ present to the rapper was his own Geofilter over the venue that was seen by almost three million people even though there was only 400 at the event. Proof for Adidas that “if you have the right influencers then using Geofilters can have huge reach,” said Watt.

“We all know that a brand isn’t what it says it is, it’s what other people say it is. Increasingly, in this conflicted world of influencer marketing it’s potential not always what an influencer says about your brand is up to as well [that can be trusted],” he continued. “We’re looking to create genuine relationships with influencers and to help them to reach their goals as much as ours… We want to create long-term relationships with these guys and we’re really proud of some the examples that are unfolding on Snapchat.”

Elsewhere, the brand has been testing Geofilters around its stores; at the store for its Originals brand on Foubert's Place, London, Adidas has erected a Geofilter around it and claimed is seen by around 100,00 people each month – “nice advertising for us,” chimed Watts. Geofilters have been around for a while, but last month the upstart made the on-demand feature more accessible by launching a toolkit for brands and ordinary users to create their customised location-activated overlays for the messaging app. The format gets to work when a user turns on the app’s location services, giving advertisers the opportunity to offer branding images, logos and other promotional content for as a little as on hour or longer than a week depending on how much they’re willing to commit to a fee that starts at around $5. Moving forward, the brand plans to set-up other Geofilters around more stores.


“We’re confidently creating real-time advocacy via Geofilters and seeing how they do down,” said Watts. “And we’re confidently allowing our ambassadors to tell Adidas stories on Snapchat and we’re confidently positioning our channels as a place where you can find out the latest news on our products (see above).”

Like other brands easing their way into Snapchat, Adidas has only recently begun experimenting with its Lenses, which launched last September. Last week, the brand debuted its first bet on the feature that allows people to add special effects and animations to selfies to encourage fans to see what they looked like wearing its new Z.N.E hoodie.

However, it won’t know how successful the move has been for some time. “You don’t necessarily get stats back as quickly [as you do from other platforms] so we don’t know the full impact it’s had yet,” explained Watts. “But from the examples we’ve seen from our partners at Chelsea and our different athletes we’re excited to see how that went down across Europe.”

The insights will be welcomed by Snapchat, which is amid a drive to educate advertisers on the merits of its platform over others. Mindful that brands are aware they need to shift more spend into mobile, the app’s strategists have been talking up its offering, which is being pitched as a more native and dynamic experience than alternative apps like Facebook. Indeed, Snapchat’s head of strategy Imran Khan took a thinly-veiled swipe at the world’s largest social network at Dmexco last week (14 September) when he argued that its competitors are essentially selling “moving banners” by not putting enough emphasis on sound in video.

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