Best Practices for Measuring Snapchat Performance

Ignite Social Media hosted the first ever “Snapinar”; a webinar about Snapchat, on Snapchat! We wanted to use this opportunity to test how to best measure Snapchat campaigns. In this post, we’ll discuss Snapchat KPIs and best practices, as well as challenges that come with measuring performance on Snapchat.

If you haven’t watched it yet, go ahead. I’ll wait.

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The Challenge of Measuring Snapchat

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to manually record Snapchat metrics. Snapchat is a difficult social channel to measure since it doesn’t provide a native analytics platform like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Also, since the channel doesn’t have a web presence, you can’t scrape the data or pull stats from an API (like you could with Twitter before Twitter Analytics was released).

Mission Impossible

We encountered three big challenges when trying to record the performance of our Snapinar.

  • Recording before the stats disappear: You might be able to record every single view in the interest of recording data just before the snap disappears. Always plan extra time, because the person who has the company Snapchat phone might run into traffic on the way into work and you don’t have the Snapchat login and your snaps die before you can record them. Crying Face Emoji.
  • Single User Login: If you’re logged in and trying to record data and someone else logs in for whatever reason, you might get kicked out – FRUSTRATING!
  • Manual Data Entry: Since there isn’t a native analytics tool for Snapchat, recording the data is manual and thus a big fat invitation for human error.

Top Three Snapchat KPIs

IMG_0300 Ryan

  • Views (the purple eye): Probably the best Snapchat KPI, views represent the number of times your snap has been seen. Snapchat does not provide a completion rate metric, but if you divide the views of the last snap in your story by the first snap you can calculate it yourself. Measuring a completion rate is a good way to gauge interest and engagement from your viewers and potentially help guide you when creating future snaps. Also, make note Snapchat has gone on record to say that views are a unique metric.
  • Screenshots (the green arrows): If users see something in a snap that they want to save, they can take a screenshot of what they are watching. This metric is a great way to measure interest in the message you are sending out. If you post an exclusive offer, a fascinating tidbit of information, or even a silly branded image this is a great KPI to see what types of snaps your viewers want to preserve.
  • Followers: This is a tough one because you really need to be on top of it if you want to use accurately. As it currently stands, there is no good way to see the number of people who have added your account. When measuring this for the Ignite Social Media account, we kept a running total. When adding to the running total, new followers have to be counted manually. Again, this is very susceptible to human error and really should only be used as a ballpark estimate of where your follower count is. This was cumbersome to keep track of as we gained over 200 followers leading up to and on the day of the Snapinar. I can only imagine how infuriating tracking this number could be for a brand with thousands of followers.

Secondary Snapchat KPIs

While the KPIs listed above are what we recommend for most campaigns, there are a few other metrics to test and measure as well.

Buzz Lightyear

  • Unique Links: Since Snapchat doesn’t refer traffic via hyperlink, it’s tough to track whether or not your Snapchat campaign drove any traffic. One workaround is to create a unique link with campaign tagging (appropriately matched to your web analytics tool of course). The volume will likely be small, but because of the higher barrier to entry of having to record a link and type it into their browser, visitors will likely be more qualified.
  • Earned Buzz: Take a peek at mentions of your campaign on channels outside of Snapchat. If you do something super crazy and innovative with your campaign, there’s a chance you’ll catch a lot of buzz in the social sphere outside of the channel. You might even get more impressions from publications talking about your campaign than from the actual campaign itself.
  • Performance on your other channels: If you download your story and publish it on Facebook or YouTube to live forever like we did, don’t forget to keep track of view counts, impressions, engagements, etc. there as well!

Ignite Social Media Snapchat Performance

Let me start by saying the numbers that you’re about to see are small. In fact, you shouldn’t expect your Snapchat numbers to be massive and on par with the performance you typically see on the other social channels that you have been posting content on for a while now. Additionally, there is really no way to benchmark competitors or top brands because the content disappears and view/screenshot information is only available to the account holder. With that said, we still viewed the Snapinar as a success because we more-than-doubled our following and had a completion rate of 79% which, compared to the brief Snapinar teasers we ran, is low but good considering we had 49 total snaps during our Snapinar versus 1-3 for our teasers. So. What did we learn?

Snapinar Performance

We started out with 157 views of the first snap and concluded with 124 views; a completion rate of 79%. Our estimated follower count before the story disappeared was 222, so a little over 55% of our followers viewed the Snapinar. Additionally, when we started teasing the Snapinar on our channel, we had about 70 followers and gained 152 (217% growth!). We had 5 teasers which averaged 64.6 initial views and a completion rate of 99%. While we didn’t see any screenshots during our teaser stories, we did see 79 screenshots throughout the Snapinar. Not surprisingly, screenshots were most frequent in the first block of content where we shot off quick Snapchat facts. Viewers were most interested the “30% snap their day” and “35% selfies” facts; both snaps received five screenshots. We also received three screenshots of the custom link we included near the end. Clicks generated by this unique totaled 6.

As I mentioned previously, the raw numbers are really low; however, our Snapchat account is relatively new compared to the other channels we publish content on. For additional context, our Facebook post (which we also boosted with some ad dollars) generated over 6.7k unique views. However, when looking at completion rate on Facebook (number of unique views 3+ second views / number of unique 95% completion views) we’re at 5%; a stark contrast to the 79% we saw directly on the channel. While a small audience on Snapchat, users were clearly watching the Snapinar because they were actively interested.

In conclusion

Snapchat measurement is the Wild West right now. In order to herd the data make sure you keep the following in mind:

  • Create a measurement plan with each story and book time on your calendar to record the stats before they’re gone for good.
  • If you are an analyst, work closely with your community manager in charge of Snapchat so that there are no log-in timing issues.
  • Views, screenshots, and followers are good metrics to measure, but conversion rate is your BFF. Also, don’t forget to wrangle in additional campaign buzz, performance of your content on other channels, and try testing unique links to see how Snapchat users behave on your site.
  • Your results might be low compared to content on your other social channels, but…
  • Snapchat is great for testing, learning, and having fun!

Cat Herding

If Snapchat hopes to grow the presence of brands and ad dollars, we hope that it will eventually roll out a native analytics platform. Though, we don’t expect that to happen any time soon.
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