In late January, Snapchat released a new feature to help advertisers and businesses drive more impactful business results via their platform: the URL Snapcode.
What is a URL Snapcode?
In short, a Snapcode that opens a web page in Snapchat.
Here’s an example. To use it, take a picture of it in Snapchat.
To generate a URL Snapcode, use Snapchat’s editor to specify the URL and an image for the code box.
When a user takes a picture of the Snapcode, they’re asked if they want to visit:
If they tap visit, they are brought to a website from within Snapchat:
Why Do URL Snapcodes Matter?
URL Snapcodes matter to marketers because they give us the ability to trigger more useful actions by Snapchat users than just engagement with our Snapchat fans. For example, if we’ve got a promotion going on, we could use a URL Snapcode to share it with our fans to send them to the web page where the promotion is running.
Suppose we were a forward-thinking retailer. We might use a Snapcode to enroll people into a loyalty program in-store, right from inside Snapchat.
Suppose we were a B2B company at a major trade show or conference. Instead of just a URL on our booth, we might offer a URL Snapcode alongside the URL for people to get more information.
What’s the Right Way to Set up a URL Snapcode?
Never do anything naked on Snapchat, including snapping a naked URL, a URL with no tracking parameters. If we’re going to go to the effort of using Snapcodes, we should track our results carefully.
Step 1: Google Analytics™ Tags
Because URL Snapcodes are URLs, if we’re sending people to a digital property we own and have Google Analytics access to, we should append Google Analytics™ tracking codes to our URL Snapcodes. Use the URL builder to assemble the appropriate codes to your URL.
In doing so, we will receive Google Analytics data to our URL from Snapchat.
This is important! If we forget this step, we will receive no information at all about the visit. When I used a naked, untagged URL on Snapchat, this is what showed up in my Google Analytics:
We see above that it showed up as direct/none for the source/medium tracking. That’s bad; we cannot attribute this visit (and anything done during the visit) to anything.
When I tagged it properly, this is how it showed up:
We see the correct attribution – snapcode/snapchat – above. If this user goes on to convert, we will have correct data to attribute the visit to our Snapcode.
Tagging is essential for great attribution!
Step 2: Trigger Tracking
The next step is to track triggers of the Snapcode. We want to ensure two things:
- Our code uses are being counted accurately
- Our tracking tags are kept intact
To do this, we will re-encode our URL Snapcode as a shortened URL with any reliable URL shortener, such as bit.ly. This prevents anything from rewriting our tracking tags, and gives us a sanity check on code uses, because bit.ly will keep a separate running count of the number of times the Snapcode was used.
Step 3: Put URL Snapcodes in Context
Think before you put these codes up everywhere. If we’re putting a call to action in them that requires our user to do some data input, don’t put the URL Snapcode up where the user will struggle to complete the task, such as a checkout line.
Put up codes that are contextually appropriate. At a conference booth, don’t put up a Snapcode to your homepage. Put up a Snapcode to a specific piece of content for a lead capture.
Be aware of other Snapcodes nearby; the Snapchat app attempts to use the most prominent code in its viewfinder, but there’s no guarantee it will pick ours.
Measuring URL Snapcodes
Unlike the rest of Snapchat, if we follow the steps above, we will receive a much more valuable form of Snapchat metrics: Google Analytics data. When we tag and track properly, we’ll be able to determine which of our Snapchat visitors converted, what value they provided, and ultimately understand the value of Snapchat to our business.
Should you try URL Snapcodes? Right now, there’s no cost to do so, so it’s worth testing, especially if you have brick and mortar locations and/or a core audience that overlaps heavily with the Snapchat user base. Despite questions about its longevity, IPO, and other corporate considerations, it still has millions of engaged users and strong brand recognition. Test out URL Snapcodes and see if they generate any business!
Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology