Snapchat: Could this be the new frontier for marketers?

In what may be a first for the platform, New York’s frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles is leveraging Snapchat for a promotion that presents users with a coupon that self-destructs within 10 seconds.

The idea came about when 16 Handles noted that a lot of its young users were using their Snapchat handles to interact on social media. The program works like this: If you snap a pic of you or your friends at a 16 Handles location tasting one of their flavors, you can send it to Love16Handles on Snapchat. In return, you’ll get a coupon for anywhere from 16% to 100% off on your purchase. You have 10 seconds to let the cashier scan the coupon, though.

16 Handles could have run a standard promo in which it sent a coupon in return for a photo. However, Jarrod Walpert, director of marketing for 16 Handles, says this adds an element of novelty. “It’s a litmus test,” Walpert says. “Our core user is a Snapchat user.”

Snapchat was a runaway success story of 2012. Users send about 50 million pics (called “Snaps”) a day on the platform. The success has prompted Facebook to release a Snapchat competitor, Poke. A rep for Snapchat says that she wasn’t aware of anyone else using the platform for marketing. In fact, marketers may have colonized Poke before Snapchat as seen in Taylor and Alina’s post.

Why I’m Curious: While there are technical limitations to Facebook’s Poke and Snapchat that make it an unlikely vehicle for advertising, coupon-based promotions could be a new frontier for marketers. It may be too soon, however, to tell how this program worked. I will say if it drives business for a frozen yogurt chain the middle of winter, other marketers may take notice.

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