A Breakdown of Snapchat Metrics and What They Mean for Marketers

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When it launched in 2011 Snapchat wasn’t ideal for marketers or brands. Back then it was just an instant messaging app that allowed for greater privacy—messages disappeared after recipients viewed them. Like Facebook, it became very popular with college students first.

Then Snapchat added features that are now revolutionizing the way content is being produced, sourced, published, and received. Between My Story, Geofilters, Our Story (see gif below), and Discover, Snapchat is now a tool all marketers should take seriously.

This is because Snapchat has a pull rather than push effect whereby users only view the content that they want to see. And when they do see it, they give it their undivided attention because they have to hold their finger down to watch it in its entirety.

Snapchat User Watching “Our Story” – Fashion Week in Milan

Marketers need to understand how Snapchat works because it is changing how we share and consume content.

Marketers need to understand how Snapchat works because it is changing how we share and consume content. Business Insider thinks Snapchat Stories are such a big deal that they have deemed it a threat to Google, Facebook and TV.

Companies that seek the under 25 age demographic are going to want to know how to best interpret the metrics associated with Snapchat marketing. For now, there are no fancy dashboards that provide insights into key performance indicators. Instead, marketing professionals will have to work out these metrics manually.

Knowing these Snapchat metrics will not only make you stand out among your colleagues but it will also prepare you to incorporate Snapchat into your marketing mix. Below is a breakdown of Snapchat metrics and what they mean for marketers.

1. Story Snap Views (Reach)

Each user can add a Snap to their own story. As more snaps are submitted to a users’s story, they are pieced together when viewed by others. Each snap is given a view count. These views are unique to Snapchat’s reporting standards.

This means that the number you see next to the snaps in your story represent one person per view. For example, if I upload one snap to my story and you view it three times then I will only receive one view.

Therefore, story snap views are similar to the reach of your Facebook posts.

This may be the most important metric that Snapchat offers. Views are an excellent key performance indicator because they prove consumption of content. Since followers have to hold their finger to the screen to watch the entire snap, views guarantee you have their full attention.

Imagine if Nielson ratings could report that, although 24.1 million people watched the Oscar’s, only 19.7 million had their eyeballs watching the television screen. On social media, the quantity of followers isn’t as important as the quality of followers. This is especially true with Snapchat.

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2. Story Fallout Ratio (Audience Retention)

By reviewing the view count for individual snaps added to your story, you can see how well you are retaining the attention of your viewers. The fallout ratio is the difference in views between the first snap in a story and the rest of the snaps thereafter.

This metric will help show you where viewers are dropping off during a full Snapchat story. It will also tell you when users are the most engaged throughout that story.

#Snapfact: The top-viewed snap to date received 24.79 million views and 5,000 screenshots. (Tweet this stat)

Understanding where followers lose their attention and why can help content producers make better content. It may also help marketers understand what length of stories do the best. Through testing, you’ll be able to see if your audience enjoys longer stories or shorter ones.

Fallout ratio between snaps in a story is similar to the audience retention of YouTube videos.

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3. Snap Screenshots (Engagement)

With Snapchat, there are no like buttons. No plus ones or favorites. But you can take a screenshot of a snap. When a recipient takes a screenshot, the sender is notified. That notification is a great metric to determine the level of engagement on your snaps.

Screenshots are like social media shares, retweets, and reblogs.

Some of the best Snapchatters use a plethora of call-to-actions in their stories. They encourage viewers to screenshot a snap and either share it elsewhere online or draw on top of it. This helps encourage users to participate. Participation gives them the feeling like they have some sort of say in what happens next in the story.

And the best part is that they do!

Although comments and likes are valuable social media engagements, social shares really help content spread. Including a unique hashtag in your CTA can also provide another layer of metrics to analyze. As users share that content outside of Snapchat, you can track those engagements.

Featuring the screenshots your audience has taken and posted online helps reinforce to them that they are part of the story. In my opinion, participation is the best type of engagement anyone could ask for from their followers.

About These Snapchat Metrics

Until Snapchat rolls out a dashboard of analytics, marketers are going to be forced to use these native metrics to report upon their Snapchat marketing campaigns. Understanding how these data points affect your audience’s user experience is also important. Top Snapchat users will make small or large changes on-the-fly based on these figures.

All of these metrics were explained in depth during a Social Media Examiner podcast with one of Snapchat’s top users Shaun McBride (Shonduras) and social media freak Gary Vaynerchuck. McBride has worked with major brands on Snapchat such as Disneyland and Marriot while Gary has been blogging about Snapchat for the past two years.

You can listen to that podcast below. The discussion about metrics starts at the 23:00 mark.

Snapchat Metrics Infographic

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