The Snap Map: An Arts & Entertainment Marketing Home Run For Shoestring Budgets
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I'm always on the hunt for new ways to leverage technology in the marketing of art and experiences.
It was a month or two after Snapchat’s Snap Map was unveiled that I stumbled upon an incredible way to leverage this new feature. If you're unfamiliar with Snapchat, the now iconic Snap Map feature dumps geographically sorted user experiences into a viewable feed for app users. Using an app to spoof my location (Fake GPS for Android) and creative keywording, I uploaded photos of paintings that I was trying to sell to the Snap Map around the country. A Leigh Rodenbough painting depicting a summer scene with a schooner was picked up on the Greensboro, North Carolina Snap Map and also appeared in mini-stories such as “Summer”, “Boats”, and even "Leigh" on Snapchat. Users who were poking around in the Discover / Snap Map feature of Snapchat were seeing what I’d uploaded, including artist/artwork details, contact info, pricing, and website. (At the time website URLs weren’t clickable in Snapchat, a feature that was already offered on Instagram Stories. I think Snapchat has since updated their interface to accommodate for more interactions with users via URLs.)
This is the Snap Map - a global geotagged content feed that is generated by user submitted Snapchats.
Over the 24hr period that my Snaps were uploaded, the artworks that I uploaded to Snap Map stories across the country were viewed over two thousand times, and were screenshotted a handful of times as well. And did I mention that these views & impressions were free???? (Author's note: I was unable to track returns to my website as I neglected to use a trackable URL in my initial demo – a mistake I won’t make again.) That being said, one thing that undoubtedly helps sell art is visibility. A painting hanging quietly on a gallery wall will not sell itself. It’s something of a miracle, then, that for ZERO dollars I was able to use my smart phone to show a selection of artworks to over two thousand people directly on their mobile phones, and have a handful of users actually screenshot the image for later. If I were to consider creating a marketing campaign with similar reach goals on another platform, I'll be looking at paying $1-$5 per impression/engagement on Facebook, Google AdWords, and even Snapchat's own Ad platform.
The ramifications of this kind of visibility tool are huge, but I think that many people struggle to see an overlap between Snapchat user behavior and things like art purchases or engagements with experiences. It’s not farfetched to me that a golden overlap might exist between the disposable income of Snapchat users and the price point for a work of art or an event.
I’m too excited about this incredible visibility tool to do anything other than explore it with delightful abandon. To the best of my knowledge, I haven’t seen another case study on this kind of usage for Snapchat’s Snap Map. What has already become a feature that many users have fallen in love with is to me one of the most powerful organic visibility tools in existence today.
Have you used Snapchat for marketing before? What did you pay to make it happen? Where you happy with your results or disappointed? I'm convinced that Snapchat offers the art world an unprecedented opportunity to engage mobile users and I'd love to hear your stories on this topic.