Less than three weeks ago, popular photo-sharing app Snapchat launched a feature called Snap Map, which allows users to see where exactly their friends are and in some cases what they are doing. While deemed intrusive by some (note that users have the ability to turn off this feature at any time by utilizing its “Ghost Mode”), others have praised its ability to allow friends to easily meet up and adventure to hot spots in their city.

Snap Map does not currently leverage ad or branding capabilities, but until (or if) it does, there are natural ways in which brands can use this new feature as part of their marketing strategy. Below are the TACK10 Tuesday Top 5 Marketing Uses of Snap Map.

1. See where your audience is located
The most basic function of Snap Map is to be able to see where the users on your friends list are located on a global map. This can be very beneficial to brands or organizations who use Snapchat as a social media channel because unlike individual users who interact with their friends on the app, brands are able to track their customers. Even further, the customers who add the brand on Snapchat are likely the most engaged, meaning the map allows a company to see exactly where its core engaged audience is located so that it can plan around those consumers. 

2. Plan experiential pop-ups around hot spots
Other than showing where individual users on your friends list are located, Snap Map also shows heat maps of popular locations among the general Snapchat public. These hot spots allow a brand to see where there are gatherings of people, right down to the building or intersection. From there, a street team can set up pop-up activations or giveaways, using Snap Map to inform their next stop.

3. Monitor your audience’s daily activities
This is where the general point about Snap Map’s intrusiveness comes into play. In some instances, the app picks up cues from a user’s location, like if they are moving faster than walking pace or have been in one location like a store for a period of time. The user’s avatar on Snap Map will actually hold bags to show that he or she seems to be shopping, or be placed in a car to show that he or she is driving or commuting. While slightly creepy, brands can leverage this knowledge to plan out-of-home advertising based on the amount of time their audience spends on the road, or keep track of which retail locations are hot spots.

4. Get a snapshot of the most popular places and vantage points
Within hot spots on the map are a number of visible snaps from friends or users who have opened their settings to allow their content to be seen globally. From those snaps, brands can gather which landmarks or vantage points are the most popular for photo ops within any given area. This is a great opportunity for advertisers to see which billboards or other out-of-home opportunities are consistently seen by not only the Snapchat users taking pictures of them, but by their friends and other users who view their snaps.

5. Watch events from an audience POV
Snap Map does not currently support event-specific locations itself, but it will showcase stories from events on a user-generated basis. For example, if a number of people have added to a pre-existing public story from a concert, Snap Map will show those stories from their location on the map. This means that brands can take a look at an event from their audience’s point of view to see which elements of the event are the most exciting. This can lend to activation and partnership planning in the long term.

Would you use a location-based app feature like Snap Map in your marketing strategy? We would love to hear your view on the subject through either social media or in the comments below!