How Broadcast Media Can Squelch Snapchat


By Adam R Jacobson

Short and Sweet.

We’ve heard that phrase for decades.

But, is it possible that being a bit too short amounts to nothing more than causing a “blip,” rather than making an impact, if you’re an advertiser?

snapchatThat’s the debate now circulating among members of the advertising community, following a Nov. 28 report from Ad Age digital technology reporter Garett Sloane that reveals Snapchat ads are averaging less than three seconds a view.

Three seconds.

Rihanna was FourFiveSeconds from wildin’.

Neneh Cherry once sang about being just seven seconds away.

Are three seconds long enough to truly establish a valuable brand connection with consumers?

I say no.

Radio and TV sales executives should be saying the same thing, and share their answer to every new and returning client they speak with.

For those unfamiliar with Snapchat, here’s how these mini-ads work: The ads play among personal videos, popping up as an interstitial and after a video is seen by the user.

Snapchat has been working with its clients on how to keep Snapchat users engaged, and how to provide the best content to connect with these digitally savvy consumers.

Good luck, Snapchat. Three-second content better be really impactful, and long-lasting.

So … is this a mini-video of people giggling while guzzling a Pepsi?

A 16-year-old girl shouting for joy when given the keys to a new vehicle, with the brand’s logo prominently displayed?

An “oooh!!!” while a group watches a great save from a soccer goalie in a promotion for ESPN or FOX Sports?

OK, let’s argue that these are successful. Then what do you do?

How do you expand this to other categories?

How you do build sales from these little blips?

An unnamed advertiser spoke with Mr. Sloane and noted his brand is using the Snapchat ads.

“We still buy it, and are figuring it out,” the advertiser said.

Dude, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Figuring it out?

With questionable metrics and nothing more but buzz, Snapchat is yet another digital challenger to tried and true media that continues to deliver for advertisers what local television and local radio simply do better: bring results.

Naturally, Snapchat declined to talk to Ad Age about the duration of its ad views, and only directed Mr. Sloane to Snapchat research indicating that Snapchat ads are effective.

Can I insert a sound effect of Snoopy laughing hysterically here?

Oh, but the ads play with the sound on.

Oh, but eye-tracking technology shows that Snapchat ads commanded more attention than Instagram or YouTube ads.

Snapchat seeks an initial public offering in 2017, and its ability to attract advertisers will highly impact its IPO and the company’s valuation.

Granted, these little three-second blips may be a great way to remind Snapchat users about a brand.

These blips can also be an excellent accessory to a full-blown campaign.

That’s where radio and TV sales executives can chime in, and steer advertisers and their media budgets further into the orbit of a local TV channel or radio cluster.

In August, RBR + TVBR noted in an INSIGHT piece that Snapchat’s “storytelling platform” is gaining advertiser interest.

I don’t doubt that this will dissipate. But, Snapchat’s best chance at earning advertiser dollars – and trust – will be as an additive tool that can link its users to a much bigger effort that requires the use of TV and radio.

The opportunity for radio is perhaps bigger than that of TV, as savvy radio sales teams can bring to clients a full-picture story of how their stations mesh well with Snapchat.

Look, for instance, at Mark Kaye, a Snapchat host and wake-up air personality on Cox Media Group’s CHR/Pop WAPE-FM 95.1 in Jacksonville, Fla.

Kaye has become a Snapchat master, and is a trailblazer in how a radio station – and air talent – can use the service to help connect FM to a hot digital app.

It’s now time to connect advertisers of FM and AM stations to the app through savvy and innovative sales plans.

To achieve this, hire millennials and put them in positions of authority on all-things tech. Bring your Digital PD on every sales call. Talk about Snapchat, and gauge where the client is with respect to digital app advertising.

Then go in for the kill. Talk up radio’s proven metrics, and its ability to impact a product or service without having to “figure it out,” or come up with some clever new data point to justify its hot status.

Radio and TV stations shouldn’t be struggling to attract advertisers who are hot on digital media. Rather, they should be actively talking about digital media in their sales calls while reminding the client of the power of programmatic, the massive reach of AM and FM, and the social media impact radio can make across every top digital platform.

If this approach is not developed and executed, then maybe Snapchat’s three-second spot is the next big thing.

The ball is in broadcast media’s court to prevent such an insipid and ill-advised thing from happening.