Over the past six years, the world has seen the rapid rise of the renegade of social media platforms, Snapchat. The then new kid on the block has taken on the social media kingpins of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and turned the industry on its head.

Tourism North East has recently put this social media phenomenon under the microscope, and, despite its extraordinary global growth, recommends taking a measured approach to using Snapchat as a tourism marketing tool.

There’s much more to it than just opening up an account and getting going and the reality is that time spent creating, maintaining and promoting an account to what is still a very niche audience could be better directed toward refining and excelling at your current social accounts, and even trying out Instagram Stories (more below).

If you do feel that you would like to take on the Snapchat beast and be an early adopter, here are some key observations and things to consider:

So what is Snapchat?
In its original form, a Snapchat user would send a photo or video to their chosen friends, and could also add some fun filters and overlays, which would then be deleted after 24 hours.

Snapchat has now introduced Stories, which is a collection of videos or photos you post to your profile to piece together a day or moment in your life - a digital (not-so-private) diary. But again, these are only available for 24 hours. This is a public announcement of a moment that you want to share with the world.

Posts are created in real time and - after 24 hours - they are deleted. No sharing memories, no being tagged in old photos. Just real time, real life accounts of what is happening in people’s lives. And now, what is happening in brand’s lives.

Who uses Snapchat?
The creators of Snapchat have tapped into the psyche of millennials, who were increasingly bored with existing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter (gross, my mum and dad use Facebook).

  • 40% of all social media users in Australia are on Snapchat, and it is now the third most popular social media network behind Facebook (94%), Instagram (46%).
  • This is a huge rise from 2015 where Snapchat was used by only 15% of people surveyed, and was the seventh most popular social media network.
  • The most important statistic to note is the age group of the Snapchatters - 60% of Australians aged 18-29 use Snapchat.

The big opportunity for tourism businesses and destinations is Snapchat’s “Story” feature and also their Geolocation Filters. But before you go ahead and download the app, you have to ask yourself the following questions?

  • Is the 18-29 year old segment valuable to my business now, and as it grows older?
  • Can you speak to them in the right tone and visuals?

Some ways for tourism businesses to get involved:

Telling your brand’s ‘Story’
The collation of your previous 24 hours of “Snaps” of photos and videos combined together into a “Story” is a brilliant way to show and engage people interested in your tourism experience. It’s worth noting that the images and videos posted on Snapchat aren’t as visually beautiful or perfect as the other platform. This reflects the ‘real time’ nature of the posts, and gives a feeling of being behind the scenes and less curated.

Snapchat is also rolling out a new feature called Memories where you will be able to save and reshare “Stories” indefinitely, which is great news as it means your snaps will be able to work harder for you.

It’s worth noting, Facebook noticed the uptake and growth of Snapchat and is rolling out a version of Stories on Instagram and Facebook Messenger.

If you do feel like your brand is relevant for this space, just keep in mind you need to create compelling real-time content and speak in the right tone for the millennial audience. See below how ABC News uses Snapchat to reach a younger audience with relevant stories.


Tourism Australia uses Instagram Stories to create a narrative around events and locations around Australia. It worth noting, if you already have an Instagram account you won’t have to start from scratch with Instagram Stories, as these are published on Instagram and will be available to your current followers.


Snapchat custom geofilters
If you don’t feel like you can dedicate the time to creating regular Stories, your brand can still have a presence on the platform without having to post one Snap. Custom geofilters are a location-based filter that Snapchatters can overlay on their Snap when posting from within a particular geofence. Digital advocacy at its simplest.

You pay to display a filter in a certain location for a certain time. The costs depend on the area and length of time you want the filter to be active (beware, costs can skyrocket if you increase your geofence much beyond your location). You can create custom filters, either using the online filter tool or if you are handy at photoshop, and can use your brand name and logo in your filter design. These filters are great for short term uses like events or seasonal products.


If you do decide to Snap...

You will need to tell people you are on Snapchat, as they won’t be able to find you easily just within the App without knowing your specific Snapchat username.

  • People can search for you by username if they know what it is.
  • Or they can scan your custom “Snapchat Code” which is essentially a QR code that takes them straight to your Snapchat account.
  • Customise your Snapchat Code with your logo or a relevant picture in Canva. To do this, log into Snapchat on your desktop, download your Snapcode, upload it to Canva, add the relevant photo (such as yourself or your company logo). Follow the Snapcode Scan Guidelines when adding your logo in Canva. Then save it as a .png file on your desktop.
  • Promote across other social media platforms, e-newsletter, signage etc.

It’s also worth considering using Instagram Stories if you don’t want to start a new Snapchat account.