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Lo-res_AROE10488-SMost marketing communications and advertising campaigns start with an idea, then choose the appropriate channel to share it. In a recent Snapchat campaign by the U.K. arm of Domino’s Pizza though, the pattern was reversed: Domino’s wanted to experiment with using Snapchat, so it chose the channel first, then developed an idea that would enable it to test the success of the campaign.

The unique approach was necessary because Snapchat—as a primarily creative, rather than informative, messaging channel—lacks the analytical tools available in most other sources. Unlike other social media sites for example, it does not provide users with measures of reach or consumer responses. Yet it is an organic and popular social media application, with great promise for reaching and appealing to young and savvy consumers.

Therefore, Domino’s decided to undertake an experimental test, in which it posted a series of videos. The storyline featured a delivery driver beset by an alien invasion over multiple video uploads. Each entry in the series gave viewers a portion of a code; once they had the entire code, they could use it to receive a purchase voucher. Thus, the number of vouchers redeemed offered a good estimate of reach, because it signaled how many people were willing to watch the entire video series. After the 24-hour experiment, Domino’s was pleasantly surprised by how many additional orders it received. As another measure of the campaign’s success, Domino’s also determined how far the video spread among various consumers.

Noting the gaps in its analytical capabilities, Snapchat is rumored to be working on developing better measurement and assessment tools. Some reports also suggest it might begin offering e-commerce capabilities and group messaging. Yet part of the appeal of Snapchat is the creativity it invokes. Other competitors already offer group messaging services, so expanding the services it offers could move Snapchat into more direct competition with new rivals, as well as disrupting its reputation as a fun site, not a commercial one.

The Domino’s test thus remains just that; the pizza chain has not determined exactly how it will continue to use Snapchat in its marketing communications. But the promising results give it a good reason to continue experimenting. As Domino’s head of digital marketing suggested, using Snapchat alongside other social media and traditional communications channel seemed like the way to go, such that “Our anticipation is that Snapchat will become a tool we add to our toolkit, rather than being the one that we use for everything.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the advantages for Domino’s of advertising on Snapchat?
  2. How is advertising on Snapchat different from advertising on other social media platforms?
  3. How was Domino’s able to gauge the success of its Snapchat campaign, without Snapchat-provided analytics?

Source: Seb Joseph, “Domino’s Says Its Snapchat Test Led to a ‘Surprising’ Surge in Pizza Orders,” Business Insider, February 18, 2016

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