Happy Memorial Day Weekend (aka long weekend)! And it has indeed been a long weekend for Snapchat, which featured 3 music festivals in addition to other events like the Monaco Grand Prix and Cheese Rolling at Cooper’s Hill (what?).
*What I’m listening to as I write this blog post.*
This weekend, I went to 3 music festivals: Sasquatch in Quincy, Washington, Mysteryland in Bethel Woods, New York (#tbt to Woodstock), and EDC New York in East Rutherford, New Jersey (so, like, why is it called “EDC NY“?). How did I attend all 3 music festivals? Snapchat.
This semester, I had to create an entire Integrated Marketing Communications campaign around any given brand/company. I chose Snapchat because I truly believe it’s the next big thing — okay, so Snapchat isn’t by any means “new” since it was launched in September 2011 by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy. BUT the app is evolving. It has transformed from an app that was primarily used to send silly, ephemeral, and sometimes nude (hey, do you) photos to friends and other users to an app that’s used for advertising and brand building. In January 2015, Snapchat launched “Discover,” a new tool for users to view curated content from different brans including Cosmopolitan, CNN, the Food Network, Yahoo New, and more. But what I think Snapchat is doing best is their “Live Story” feature in which attending users can send snaps to the public feed for all Snapchat users to see. The trick is to have your location services turned on so that Snapchat knows you’re at the event/in the area and can, therefore, contribute to the story. For example, this weekend, Mysteryland attendees were able to take snaps and send them to the feed, which Snapchat then picks and curates what snaps are seen by the public. It allows you to truly experience the festival whereas live streams are often polished, showing only a particular part of the festival and whatnot. The “Live Story” feature allows users to truly feel as if they have experienced the festival. For example, on Day 1 of Sasquatch, some festival attendees were weary of the impending rainstorm whereas others were willing to continue partying on despite the rain. Non-attendees would have never gotten that viewpoint otherwise. Also, Mysteryland attendees often snapped what it’s like at festival grounds after the last headliner has played — this was extremely interesting for me since I haven’t camped at a festival yet (but Firefly soon!). The “Live Story” builds on user experience and allows attendees to share their experiences with one another (#PLUR, am I right?!).
Instead of having a “Live Story,” EDC NY kept Snapchat users updated through their brand account, InsomniacEvents. I started following the brand’s account last year around this time because of the exclusive DJ shout outs and behind-the-scenes looks the account would snap. This year, Insomniac made sure to “live snap” the entire event. Live snapping goes a step further than live tweeting in some aspects since it provides a first-hand look at the event through pictures and short 10-second videos. What makes it cooler is that it’s all fleeting — you don’t get to stare at the picture or video for 10 minutes, but instead, 10 seconds. I always found the ephemeral aspect of Snapchat so cool because it makes content seem even more exclusive. Ultimately, Snapchat allows for the ultimate festival experience for festival attendees and the ultimate FOMO experience for those not attending.
Speaking from personal experience, it’s always a cool thing to be able to contribute to an event “Live Story.” Even having an event geofilter makes your snap 10000000000x cooler. At Ultra, we were able to get a few snaps with the geofilter and sent to the “Live Story” (we never made it onto the public “Live Story” #bitter). However, at Coachella, it was near impossible to get a snap uploaded even just to “My Story” because of the sucky connection at the festival (#firstworldproblems am I right?!). In the past, Snapchat has scored a sponsorship deal with Insomniac Events; Snapchat would provide free WiFi access for festival attendees so long as the”EDC Las Vegas “story” was promoted. Several users, though, claimed that the WiFi was faulty and unable to be connected to. According to Snapchat COO Emily White, free WiFi access was spotty due to the apparent popularity of Snapchat at the event. In the future, it would be cool to see Snapchat doing the same sponsorship at a bunch of different music festivals with improved WiFi access, of course. Can you tell I’m still a little #bitter from not being able to send my Coachella snaps in?