The Rise of Snapchat in Higher Education

While skimming our Twitter feed we happened upon a story on entitled ‘Here’s why Facebook is so desperate to buy, copy or kill Snapchat’. Although it’s an interesting read we’re really not positioned to comment on the virtues or validity of the statement. But it did get us thinking and reminiscing a bit.

Back in early 2015 we posed our own question about Snapchat which was whether or not higher education was embracing Snapchat at the levels it should. Our initial interest was based on a series of posts from one of our favorite blogs Click here for a quick trip down memory lane to remind you of our original take on Snapchat and some insights into why some marketing teams in universities and colleges embraced the platform with vigor.

But back to today and a little thing called serendipity. This week we attended one of our favorite higher education events, EduWeb, in which the ‘talk of the town’ was the impact of Snapchat on marketing and student recruitment efforts. We also spotted that one of our clients, Teachers College Columbia University, had launched its new Snapchat Geofilter. Not one to question faith we recognized that somebody wanted us to once again get on the Snapchat bandwagon.

Specifically, we thought we’d take a look at Snapchat Geofilters. For the uninitiated, Geofilters are digital stickers that Snapchat users overlay on photos and videos that they post on the platform. These are tied to locations and are triggered in the Snapchat app by sensors on cell phones and effectively announce ‘hey look where I am’ (insert location like Disneyland or Times Square etc.).

This isn’t a new topic of discussion. Snapchat’s every move is scrutinized by marketing teams worldwide if not simply because there are over 100 million daily active users on the platform; the majority of them teens (and a little older). And this is why we’re interested. We want to know how higher education is embracing a platform like Snapchat and its Geofilters to create or facilitate the creation of personalized communications. Snapchat’s user base mirrors the target audience for higher education recruitment teams.

Why Snapchat makes sense for Higher Education

Think about it for a minute. If you’re a university or college and you want to get people excited and vocal about attending your institution (or potentially attending your institution) shouldn’t you be offering them a visual so that they can literally see themselves there i.e. a filter of the campus, the quad, the university mascot etc. Let them imagine being part of the place by actually visually making them part of the place.‌

Furthermore, Snapchat is the ultimate example of disposable content i.e. gone in a day. Therefore it’s all about the immediate impact and packaging content into an easy-to-share visual story. Think campus visits. Think fresher’s week. You want to ensure people get involved and that can interact with the filter creating excitement and ‘shareable content’. Snapchat my not ‘remember content’ but people screenshot or share these images on ALL their other social media channels.

Higher education isn’t always the first to get on board with these trends but this one it can’t ignore.

Get in touch

We want to hear from you. Is your institution embracing the Snapchat Geofilter craze? If so, let us know about. Share your filters on Twitter and tag us @TERMINALFOUR

Don’t forget to keep up to date with Teachers College Columbia University on Twitter @TeachersCollege and follow their hashtag #TCWAY (We love the photos posted with this hashtag).

P.S. Here's one of Teacher College Columbia University's Snapchat Geofilters.