I recently learned that the White House opened a Snapchat account, so I checked to see what President Obama had to show our youth. There were two snaps on there. The first featured the President on YouTube with a picture of him on the screen and the other was the VP riding in his limo. There was no paid media here, just some pictures.
The Republicans, on the other hand, had a budget to put something up on Snapchat on the day of the last Presidential debate. There was a live channel featured under Stories with pictures of people interacting with candidates – particularly Rand Paul, who is very photogenic on Snapchat, though he didn’t even make it to the big boy debate this time. Paul was an early adopter of Snapchat, but it has not done much for his campaign. Here is why….
The Republicans have made use of the platform since the first debate and continue to do so. Just because marketers do something, doesn’t mean that it actually works. It might just be that Republicans have money to spend and no real strategy for spending it. The reason I say this is because voter participation among 18-24 year olds is traditionally low and those kids are less likely to be Republican voters. In 2014 about 23% of 18-34 year olds voted in the election, while 59% of those 65 and older did so.
There were some reports in August 2015 that more 18-24 year olds saw the Snapchat coverage of the debate than watched it on TV, but I have yet to find the original article from Politico on this. Sounds like urban legend to me since these kids are probably not doing either.
To be an effective marketer you need a goal and a clear strategy to reach a target from whom you expect a response. Snapchat may be useful for certain strategies, but retaining your place on the debate stage may not be one of them.