Most new followers of brands on Snapchat discover those brands by searching for their usernames, though a fractional but growing number are added through deeplinks, according to a recently-released analysis [download page] of Q4 brand activity from Snaplytics.
The report reveals several benchmarks in brands’ use of Snapchat and their followers’ engagement with content.
Understanding these trends is important given that Snapchat is now teens’ most important social network and that its parent company is poised for its highly-anticipated initial public offering.
The Snaplytics study breaks down the distribution of new brand followers in 2016 based on their method of being added, noting that 64% in Q4 found brand by searching for their usernames. However, that figure was down from 79% in Q1, as other brand discovery methods grew in prominence. In Q4, one-quarter were added through Snapcode (Snapchat icons), up from 14% in Q1, while 9% were added through deeplinks (up from 6%).
Brands’ Posting Frequency
In its analysis of more than 500 brands’ Snapchat accounts, Snaplytics found that brand posted an average of 13 stories per month in Q4, down slightly from the 14-15 range observed in the first three quarters of the year. (A “story” is defined as a group of snaps posted to My Story less than 2 hours apart.)
That 13 story average masks some significant discrepancies among brands, though, and appears to be elevated by some that post upwards of 20 stories a month. The majority of brands (55%, to be exact) are posting up to 8 stories per month, or up to 2 per week.
In terms of frequency by day of the week, brand seem to be opting for the latter half of the week, with activity peaking from Thursday through Saturday. In fact, brands are posting almost twice as many stories on Fridays (~17% share) as they are on Mondays (9% share).
Number of Snaps per Story
On average, brands analyzed for the report used slightly more than 11 (11.3) snaps per story, with this number rising incrementally through the year from 10.7 in the first half. Once again, this average masked some wide variances, as half of all stories contained 6 or fewer snaps, equating to roughly 1 minute or less in total.
Looking at various industries, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) appeared to have the highest volume of snaps per story (17), with beauty (12) following. Advertising and marketing brands had the fewest (6).
Images vs. Videos
Snapchat for brands is more heavily skewed towards videos than images, and that skew seems to be increasing over time. In Q4, videos accounted for 61% of story content, up from 55-56% during the first half of the year.
Interestingly, NGOs demonstrated the greatest bent towards videos, with 72% of snaps being video content. The only industries to skew more towards images than videos were luxury goods (67% images), food & beverage (53%) and fashion & lifestyle (53%), with these theoretically repurposing content from other platforms such as Instagram.
Story Completion Rate
Snapchat boasts a high completion rate on stories, consistent with the concept that the platform boasts high user engagement. During 2016, completion rates (among those who viewed the first snap in a story) ranged between 84% and 93% during the 4 quarters analyzed, with Q4’s average of 88% being somewhere around the midpoint of that range. (Online video completion rates, for an imperfect, comparison tend to be in the 80% range.)
Completion rates were fairly consistent across the industries analyzed, with 13 of the 14 specific sectors seeing a completion rate between 85% and 91%. NGOs represented the lone industry outlier, with a completion rate of 75% that may relate back to longer story lengths. However, in analyzing the relationship between length and completion rate further, Snaplytics found that the length of updates explains only 38% of the variances in completion rates, suggesting that the storyline and content quality are the real determinants of story engagement.
Finally, open rates for stories (the number of opens compared to the total number of followers) averaged 54.8% in Q4. In other words, a slight majority of followers will open a brand’s story. The analysts caution, however, that “there is a margin of error attached to the number, since it is impossible to measure the number of people who unfollows [sic] your account.”
The full report is available for download here [download page].
About the Data: The report’s data is based on an analysis of more than 500 brands, which posted 24,180 stories and a total of 217,000 snaps.