Ben & Jerry’s is one such Snaplytics client. The ice cream manufacturer launched its Snapchat account in conjunction with a new round of flavors last year, but it’s yet to allocate ad budget to the app.
“We see other brands putting money into high-production videos for Snapchat and hiring actors and influencers,” said Sarah Badger, a marketing and communications manager for Ben & Jerry’s. “In the future we’d like to do that, but we’re still in the phase of understanding how to make it work.”
Before bringing on Snaplytics, the social team was essentially flying blind on Snapchat, unaware of how many followers the account had, when followers were lost or gained or what content drove engagement, Badger said.
“It was kind of ridiculous at first actually,” Badger said. “I was just taking screenshots of our stories before they disappeared [which happens after 24 hours], and hoping it was as close to the 24-hour mark as possible so we didn’t miss stats, and then dumping those numbers – and there weren’t many – into a spreadsheet.”
Snaplytics automates the manual work of fetching Snapchat data and feeding it back into a brand dashboard. It’s non-API based, but as long as the brand’s posts are active within the 24-hour threshold, stats like views, completion rate and open rate are available to the account.
It’s a laborious end run around Snapchat’s deliberately opaque API, but for many brands – other Snaplytics subscribers include Marriott, Vodafone and the city of Las Vegas – demonstrating the basics is a necessary first step to media investments.
Still, Snaplytics and other Snapchat-specific vendors are not a welcome piece of the Snapchat ecosystem, as opposed to platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which support a more robust market of third-party developers and “social listeners.”
Using a third-party tool to manage or access accounts (read: Snaplytics) actually violates Snapchat’s terms and conditions, on the grounds that third-party access is a security concern. Snapchat declined a request to comment.
The messenger app has assembled a tech stack for enterprise-class marketing, but not really for day-to-day brand activity, which falls under the category of “organic account activity” like any individual user.
For example, official accounts – the Snapchat equivalent of a blue checkmark on Facebook or Twitter – get a boost to their discoverability. But for Ben & Jerry’s, there’s still essentially no way – or no free way – to get found and followed on the platform.
Building a Snapchat audience means getting people to click into the account via platforms like Twitter and Facebook, where the brand can display its QR-code style logo, or out-of-home placements featuring the account.
“There are tools and analytics Snapchat can enable for marketers, like what we do,” Snaplytics’ Cilius said. “But I think they’re worried that brands would saturate the platform with non-Snapchat-like content and it wouldn’t be as fun to those 17- to 20-year-olds.”