Taco Bell Asks Twitter Followers To Add Them On Snapchat, Users May Soon See Snaps From Brands

It was only a matter of time before a brand decided to use super hot “ephemeral photo messaging app” Snapchat to share exclusive, expiring content. Looks like Taco Bell is first up, and it’s interesting to see how this pioneering relationship was brokered publicly via Twitter (see below). 

I just tried adding tacobell on Snapchat and now I’m waiting to be approved, but I’m curious how they’re going to leverage the platform. Stay tuned for updates in the comments section and start thinking about what other brands may want to share momentarily. 

Via Techcrunch

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Snackchat! Taco Bell tweeted, “We’re on Snapchat” last night, urging their Twitter followers to add them for a “secret announcement” some time today. This is the first major brand to use Snapchat to reach customers, and could signal the beginning of Snapchat’s monetization.

Snapchat is an ephemeral photo messaging application that raised a $13.5M Series A in February. Taco Bell reached out to Snapchat on Twitter yesterday; after a couple of responses from Snapchat (below), Taco Bell announced that they’re on Snapchat at the handle “tacobell.”

In December, when Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel told me the company was prototyping monetization features, I wrote about the most likely ways the company could monetize:

With a very captive audience, Snapchat could have very profitable ads. Imagine a picture snap once a day or every 10 snaps where you have to hold the image and view the ad for five seconds before using the app more. Or an advertising video snap that played on its own for 10 seconds, instead of you holding it down to view.

The problem with most mobile ads is that they take up too much of the screen at random times (Facebook app newsfeed, anyone?) and both mobile and web ads are ignored by users as they adjust to where the ads are located and just scroll past them.

Snapchat could offer advertisers a highly engaged user for a very brief period of time.

The most interesting part of this Taco Bell development is that the company asked followers to add them on Snapchat. There are two settings for “Who can send me snaps”: friends and everyone. Snapchat sends all users, regardless of their settings, video snaps on holidays like Christmas and New Years. If Taco Bell is asking users to add them, it means they’re–at least for now–only sending snaps to people who add them. But, at least from the tweets above, it looks like there’s been some sort of collaboration between Taco Bell and Snapchat so far.

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Taco Bell doesn’t need Snapchat’s help to snap people who have friended Taco Bell. So the logical next step would be sending snaps to everyone, the way Snapchat sends holiday snaps to all users–regardless of settings and who they’ve friended.

This could be a very lucrative revenue source for Snapchat. Rather than banner ads covering part of the screen in snaps, users could ignore snap ads and simply not open them. But I think a lot of users, myself included, would open most of the snap ads out of curiosity. And obviously, an opened snap reaches highly engaged eyeballs, as it fills the whole screen, with the user physically touching the ad.

Of course, some users will be pissed off by ads invading their Snapchat inboxes, a far more private space than the public streams of social networks. For now, Taco Bell snapping to their “friends” is an interesting first step towards monetization.

I’ve Snapchatted Spiegel and Taco Bell asking for comment (seriously). I’ll update the post if I hear back and once Taco Bell sends out their surprise Snapchat announcement.

About Marty Wetherall