How Snapchat And AR Are Helping To Redefine The Brand-Customer Relationship

Snapchat Announces 750M Monthly Active Users
Snap-BrandSpur Nigeria

It’s not just the way that brands promote their products and services or communicate their value that has changed over the last decade, but also where they do it. Driven by both advancements in technology and continuously changing consumer behaviour, marketing has undergone a dramatic transformation – shifting to a more digitally connected environment. 


In fact, 60% of marketing is projected to be digital by the end of 2024, with a 10% increase in digital marketing spend recorded just between 2023 and 2024.


One thing that remains unwavering and unchanged, however, is just how foundational building meaningful and authentic relationships with customers is to marketing your brand. A strong relationship with customers will always be paramount to any brand’s success as it forms the foundation of trust and loyalty between the two. Simply put – it doesn’t matter what you’re saying, what the quality or relevance of your messaging is, if your customers don’t feel you’ve built an authentic connection with them they’re unlikely to even listen to what it is you have to say.


According to the latest marketing statistics from Linearity, 81% of consumers require trust in a brand before purchasing them, 90% say that brand loyalty is crucial to purchasing decisions, and around 59% of consumers prefer purchasing new products from brands they are already familiar with. Authentic brand-customer relationships engender empathy, understanding, and mutual respect which in turn leads to increased brand advocacy, repeat purchases and recommendations.


It’s clear that investing in authentic relationships enhances brand perception, ultimately driving sustainable business growth. But, relationships take time to build, and in a more digital environment where face-to-face meetings, facial expressions and first impressions have been replaced with photos, posts and video screens, it can be tricky to do so. And, while social media platforms offer brands a way to digitally represent themselves and communicate to customers, they’re also a communication vehicle that limits a brand’s ability to really personalise that communication as you’re trying to speak to as wide an audience as possible.


Luckily, there’s one platform that offers a more unique opportunity to engage with customers on a personal level and foster deeper and more authentic relationships through community building – Snapchat.


Unlike traditional social media platforms where interactions occur with a wide and varied audience, Snapchat offers a more intimate setting. Despite being long misunderstood as just another social media platform, Snapchat differentiates itself by enabling an environment of closeness and authenticity as users instead curate their friend list to whom their Snaps are shared, creating a network of individuals they know and trust. As such, tapping into this more personal space in an engaging and meaningful way could be key to enhancing customer experiences, personalising interactions, and deepening brand engagement.


Leveraging Snapchat’s most unique feature – Augmented Reality


Taking this sense of intimacy to the next level is Snapchat’s integration of Augmented Reality (AR) through a wide selection of lenses which users are able to play around with including AR facial filters, location-based overlays, countdown timers, quiz generators and so much more.


You might wonder how this capability can help a brand foster deeper connectivity and relationships with customers but just imagine the possibilities. Imagine a furniture store brand that builds an AR Lens that allows customers to see what a small selection of sale items might look like within their own space at home just by looking through the camera of their mobile phone, or, an optical retail chain enabling customers to try on different designs, styles and colours of glasses and sunglasses wherever they are and whenever they want.


By superimposing digital information onto the real world around you, placing virtual objects into the real world and turning it into a digital interface, this immersive technology is a powerful marketing tool that is already playing a key role in consumers’ perception of brands, confidence in quality of a product, and their purchasing decisions.


A recent Snap Inc study, in collaboration with MAGNA Media Trials, found that AR represents an opportunity for brands to reach the right audience when it matters most. According to the study, consumers found AR ads to be 5% more informative than pre-roll ads and 6% more useful than pre-roll ads. Additionally, AR ads helped consumers feel closer to the brand, got them excited about the brand, and helped to establish positive opinions of the brand by leading consumers to think of the brand as more up-to-date. Interactive Entertainment AR Lenses in particular were observed to boost memorability by 9%, enabling consumers to see the brand as 9% more innovative and 8% more unique than brands who don’t use them.


Essentially, AR ads are helping to capture consumers’ attention. But, that’s not where the benefits of AR ends.


Transforming attention into action


While AR can play a significant role in captivating an audience, AR marketing can also translate directly into action. Whether this manifests itself in increased website traffic, app downloads, or boosting sales, brands can leverage Snapchat’s AR capabilities to achieve tangible business objectives.


The Snap Inc study found that not only are AR ads impactful throughout the branding funnel, but most importantly, they drive intent to take the next step in the purchasing journey. For example, Shoppable AR Lenses compel consumers at the end of their journey, driving search intent up by 8%, World Facing AR Lenses impacts those in the middle of the journey and results in an 8% higher purchase intent and 7% increase in brand relevance, and Front-Facing AR Lenses help lift brand image for those closer to purchase with a 5% higher lift in brand uniqueness and 4% lift in relevancy.


These immersive, engaging, memorable and shareable experiences are allowing users to engage with brands in ways that help to not just build relationships but long-term relationships in an age where authenticity and engagement reign supreme. By creating personalised AR experiences on Snapchat, brands can transcend traditional marketing boundaries and reach their customers where they are.


So, it’s time for brands to pivot from only shouting into the void of social media and instead speak directly to their audience, with intention, in their language.