- Snap launched its first global campaign to highlight how Snapchat provides a more genuine way to stay in touch with friends and family compared to rival social media platforms. The "Real Friends" campaign features pairs of more than 70 real people who provided video testimonials about their Snapchat usage, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. Snap is posting the "Real Friends" videos to its YouTube channel.
- Snap also staged a hashtag takeover of Instagram, the rival social media platform owned by Facebook, to support the campaign. Snap, which doesn't have an Instagram account, partnered with dozens of "quotefluencers" — accounts that post inspirational quotes — to create Instagram posts with the popular hashtags #realfriends and #friendshipquotes. Snap also teased the "Real Friends" campaign with out-of-home, print and streaming media ads starting on July 15, per its announcement.
- Snap's global campaign comes as Twitter takes aim at Facebook and Instagram with a more localized out-of-home (OOH) campaign. In a series of subway billboards in New York and San Francisco, Twitter compares how real people show their true selves on its platform, versus an idealized version on Instagram, The Drum reported.
Snap's first global campaign builds on a theme that has become more common among social media companies in the past year as the industry faces criticism for its possibly negative effects on mental health. The idea is to emphasize how real people use the platforms to form genuine bonds with others rather than passively view phony personas that people project on their social media accounts. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has chided archrival Facebook for promoting shallow friendships while emphasizing Snapchat as a place for freer, more genuine personal expression.
By taking the campaign to Instagram, Snap can raise its profile on one of its major competitors — one that has adopted several of Snapchat's innovations, like Stories that connect a series of photos or videos. The hashtag takeover is a creative way to use the platform's influencers to seamlessly integrate its message into Instagram posts.
Snap's global campaign comes as the company builds momentum with a growing user base and ad revenue. Snapchat's user base rose by 13 million to total 203 million in Q2, its best performance since going public two years ago. The results were a sign that several recent initiatives had started to pay off, especially a refreshed Android app. Downloads of Snapchat's Android app surged 37% in Q2 from a year earlier, per research firm SimilarWeb.
Twitter is picking up the same theme with its OOH campaign that contrasts how people present themselves on Twitter and Instagram. While Snap and Twitter are taking aim at Facebook, the social network also has worked to highlight its place where people can form genuine human connections. Similarly, Facebook this year ran a major TV campaign for its Facebook Groups that featured heartwarming spots showing people having fun in the real world.