AdamPrzezdziek; Flickr
AdamPrzezdziek; Flickr

It’s no secret that Snapchat is exploding in popularity — there are 60 million daily active users in the U.S. and Canada, according to Bloomberg’s September 2016 report. This creates an exciting opportunity for sports marketing professionals.

The ad revenue being generated is astounding — eMarketer’s September 2016 report predicts that Snapchat will reach nearly $1 billion in ad revenue next year. It’s hard to ignore how it’s changing the marketing game.

Let’s take a look at how Snapchat is revolutionizing sports marketing:

Connecting Brands to Fans

What makes Snapchat so unique is how personalized it is. Users get to create their own stories and post fun videos and snaps for their followers. But what’s more interesting is how Snapchat creates a sense of immediacy with content.

Brands are capitalizing on the direct communication features of social media. Snapchat, especially, delivers this unique sense of urgency, motivating users to follow their favorite teams and brands to check their stories regularly.

The NBA, for example, delivers a unique live-streaming experience. They post exclusive content like sideline photos and videos. They even connect with fans during the drafts to share footage from behind the scenes, such as players arriving at the event.

Creating Exclusive Content

Sports marketing professionals are offering extra content exclusively through Snapchat. It adds some excitement to news and updates with Snapcodes. Users engage with the brand — they point their cameras and take a photo of a company’s logo or picture that’s associated with the ghost icon.

A great example of maximizing the reach of Snapcodes was seen in September 2015, when the Seattle Seahawks partnered with Starbucks to produce coffee cup sleeves with branded Snapcodes on them. These codes delivered exclusive content to fans, engaging them in a unique, fun way.

Adding Emotion to Stories

Marketers can tell personal stories and add emotion to their brand with compelling content. Some people may be skeptical about how short clips and photos can make an impact on followers. However, the results are surprising.

Snapchat partnered with MediaScience for their How Mobile Video Ad Formats Drive Attention survey in 2015. It found that Snapchat video ads delivered significantly higher emotional response than Facebook and Instagram. What’s more impressive is that video ads on Snapchat delivered over two times the lift in purchase intent compared to the other ad formats.

Given the fact that ads are making such an impact on users, marketers are capitalizing on the media by producing emotional content. The format is authentic — it gives your community a different perspective of your brand that is immediate and real.

Another benefit is that fans can give immediate feedback, so marketers can make adjustments to their strategy in real-time. For example, if you’re launching a new product and offer promo codes through your company’s snaps, you can measure how effective your campaign is in driving sales. This is especially important in helping your sales professionals on your team.

Using Filters

Snapchat offers several types of filters, including Geofilters and colored ones. They even encourage designers and artists to create and submit Community Geofilters so local users can use them.

Companies like Gatorade create interactive filters to promote and inspire engagement with their brand. For the Gatorade filter, a user can pose in front of their camera as a an animated cooler of the iconic sports drink is dumped over the user’s head.

These types of engagement are especially effective when celebrity athletes like Serena Williams participate and share them. This adds another type of social media that influencer marketing professionals can use.

Discovering Through Discover

This new feature allows people to look at news they’re interested in. Brands can keep up-to-date content and make meaningful connections with people who are interested in the content, instead of flooding users with a lot of spam.

People are accessing this feature everyday. Defy Media’s 2016 survey found that roughly 44 percent of the 1,117 U.S.-based Snapchat users between the ages of 13-24 surveyed in February said they had used Live Stories and/or Discover reported doing so on at least a daily basis. What’s more, 23 percent of all of the survey’s respondents said they use Live Stories and/or Discover daily.

For all those already working in or looking to find sports marketing jobs, Snapchat is certainly a top priority for social media marketing. The community continues to grow and change the way fans and followers interact with their favorite teams and brands and how they engage with key messaging.

How are you planning on improving sports marketing efforts with Snapchat?