Marketers regularly harrumph over Snapchat’s indifference to their unpaid presences. Unlike Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, Snapchat doesn’t cater to brands operating organic accounts. It hasn’t rolled out business-specific profiles or made it any easier for brands to attract new followers than the average person. And now marketers are seeing the most success in adding followers on Snapchat by looking outside of Snapchat.
A year ago, username searches were the most popular way for brands to add followers on Snapchat. But now, that method has been eclipsed by profile links that brands share on non-Snapchat social networks and their own sites that deep-link to Snapchat, according to a study by Snaplytics that spanned 1,100 brands’ Snapchat accounts and that also found the success of Snapchat’s QR-like Snapcodes to be on the wane.
Of the 1.94 million new followers that the analyzed brands attracted in the second quarter of 2017 — a 33 percent increase from Q1 — 1.10 million used deep links to follow a brand, compared to the 421,469 that did so in Q1. Meanwhile, 494,124 followers were added through username searches, down from 694,416 in the previous quarter. And Snapcodes accounted for 205,707 new followers, a slip from 216,650 in Q1.
Snaplytics CEO Thomas Cilius said that deep links are likely more effective at driving new followers for brands because they are more efficient than Snapcodes or username searches. Clicking a link is quicker than scanning a Snapcode, especially when someone comes across a Snapcode on their phone because, to activate it, they have to screenshot the Snapcode then follow a three-step process within Snapchat’s app. And although Snapchat has tried to improve its in-app search engine, finding a brand’s account still requires some guesswork of the brand’s username and a leap of faith that the “nike” account is, in fact, run by the shoe brand and not some random person obsessed with the Greek goddess of speed.