Video advertising is booming, but a top political strategist is convinced that, at least on Snapchat, digital stickers are a better option.
About 179,000 people in Ohio on Thursday chose to decorate images they were posting on Snapchat with an overlay sponsored by the advocacy group Secure America Now. For the price of about 150,000 views of an ad on YouTube, Secure America Now garnered nearly 2.57 million views on Snapchat and an untold number on other social apps.
But just as important to Vincent Harris, the consultant behind the ad, was that people who used the filter overlay became participants in the advertising.
"To actually engage with people rather than shoving content down people's throats, like your parents do, that's what younger people are expecting now," Harris said. "They want to generate creativity, to take part in the debate."
Users in Ohio, where a presidential debate was being held, could see the ad after capturing an image and swiping left on their device. It prompted users to show off how they felt about the recently struck nuclear arms agreement between the U.S. and Iran. One creative expression: answering with a picture of excrement.
Many of Snapchat's young users were probably unfamiliar with the agreement, but the ad prompted discussion.
"This was raising awareness of the bad deal," Harris said. "And obviously, I'd say the 179,000 showed that they care."
Harris said he also was "blown away" that so many people exported the images with the filter from Snapchat and then re-uploaded them to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
McDonald's, Nike and Starbucks have also given the filter ads a try. But video is still the bulk of the advertising on Snapchat. Political groups have been happy with the viewership of those, too.
Running video ads on Snapchat last week seen by tens of thousands of people corresponded with an increase in website visitors for a group backing John Kasich's presidential bid and an uptick in volunteer sign-ups for NextGen Climate Action Committee.