Ever since its launch, Snapchat has excelled in terms of youth engagement in Saudi Arabia. Given that 59% of the nation’s population is below the age of 34 and that 67% of Saudi Snapchat users fall into the 18 to 34 age bracket, the platform’s high penetration among this demographic is evident. Therefore, when the platform officially launched its advertising services in Saudi Arabia and the UAE in January, brands obviously jumped at the opportunity to both reach and engage its predominantly young audience. Activity in these two nations has even warranted the opening of a regional Snapchat office in 2017 and though campaigns cannot be run exclusively in the UAE at present, they can in Saudi Arabia.
Currently, marketers in the Kingdom have the ability to target audiences based on their age and gender. The platform is expected to roll out further options once they have accumulated enough data around local content to categorize audiences based on their consumption. When that day comes, targeting on the platform will become even richer, adding interest and behavior as additional criteria for segmentation.
For now, marketers will have to cleverly leverage the platform to drive awareness and consideration for their brands, considering the absence of click-through functionality within the ads. Such a feature would allow brands to direct audiences deeper into the purchase funnel. Nevertheless, while advertisers can only wait for more sophisticated services to be rolled out, they can familiarize themselves with the practice of using vertical video formats in the meantime – something quite new to the digital marketing practice. After all, it comes at quite a hefty cost: a $30,000 minimum investment with Snapchat.
Nevertheless, marketers can expect even further innovation and competition within the moment-based marketing realm. Facebook’s Instagram platform continues to pose fierce competition, given the recent launch of ads within its Stories feature. By having both Stories and regular timelines in one platform, users are able to view the snap-like stories without disrupting their overall Instagram experience. These turf wars will only drive the entire social landscape to diversify their services further in attempt to gain a share of audiences’ valuable attention. Other media outlets such as the Huffington Post are also following suit, so it won’t be surprising to see if other digital channels – even those owned by brands – start integrating story-based communications into their platforms.