Snapchat Snapcodes Are Live — What’s Your Move?

While ‘social media’ may have a fuzzy definition as all media attempts to become social, one thing is clear: every one of these platforms is expanding to become content distribution platforms.

Snapchat has been keeping itself closed to stay closer to it’s roots and they are operating intentionally differently than Facebook or Twitter. Based on their recent filing for IPO; however, it is clear that there is much potential for advertising revenue and they are reliant on that stream for now. As platforms expand, it’s helpful for them to think of ways to engage with brands more specifically, to give them options to drive value from the advertising beyond view counts.

Snapchat’s next move was to take the Snapcode (previously used only for creating a link to your account for quick access) and turn it into an ‘anything link’ that let’s you hook it up to anything with a URL. When this happened last week, I had an instant flashback to QR codes when they became all the rage a few years back.

When I was back at Hasbro, when QR codes were new-ish, we implemented a full digital-at-shelf retail program to connect videos about the toy product to the shelf product at Target and other locations. While we did have good trial, in-store shopper surveys revealed lack of usage and confusion about what it was, why it was there, and how to use it. The benefit behind the code wasn’t a strong enough draw to convince users to take the extra steps to figure it out.

QR codes were interesting but they didn’t get universal adoption for a few reasons — inconsistent applications, no specific network or driver to use, and no common universal app to standardize the usage. I rarely see a QR code these days, and if I do, don’t keep an app on my phone to access.

Snapcodes have a better chance at success for these reasons:

1. It’s easy. Snapcode’s are built in. You take a picture of a Snapcode, it takes you to the destination. You don’t need a separate app, you don’t need to figure out how to use it.
2. It’s in front of you. From the very first view when you open Snapchat, you can access a Snapcode. You don’t have to tap to separate areas, dive into other spots. From the initial camera view, you can get to a destination from a Snapcode.
3. Massive built-in reach. As a single app, Snapchat’s 153MM+ daily active users provide a head start for Snapcodes because it’s easy and built in and they can reach so many users right now. QR codes had no standardization or built-in audience so it was tough to gain traction.

Snapcodes have potential, and if nothing else, you should know how to use them because it’s the first step for Snapchat to provide links in-app that could later be used for advertising connections from vertical video ads, geofilters, or other opportunities. Big caveat!! There’s no analytics right now so add link tracking like a UTM to see what traffic and access your Snapcode is getting until Snapchat advances this feature into a spot that makes this more usable for media.

Here’s a quick tutorial that had some good traction on Instagram when I posted last week.

Step #1: Open up Snapchat app. Make sure you’ve updated to the latest version. Once in the main screen, swipe down to go to your Profile. You need to get to Settings to make a Snapcode.


Step #2: Now that you are in your Profile screen, tap the gear icon to get to Settings up in the top right corner.


Step #3: In Settings, scroll down until you see “Snapcodes” > I’ve thumb scrolled a bit so you can see it at the top here. Tap “Snapcodes” and we can get started!

Step #4: YAAAS! Now we are in the Create Snapcode environment. You haven’t made a Snapcode yet, but you can see there’s two options: 1. Create Snapcode 2. My Snapcodes. As you make Snapcodes, they will save to My Snapcodes and you can share/save/delete from here. Note that I have made ‘2’ so far. Instead we are going with Create Snapcode since we haven’t made one yet. Tap that.

Step #5: Time to add your URL (remember to add UTM tracking if you want to see in your analytics)! Type it out in standard format or you can cut/paste into the field here. Tap “Create” when you are done.

Step #6: After you’ve confirmed you URL, it will verify and bring you back to the main Snapcode screen. Notice the flag to “Tap to add an image” -> you can add a custom image to the inside of the ghost so let’s do that next. Always good to add a visual or branding to let everyone know that this is your code. Picture, logo, etc.

Step #7: It’s time to select a image so after you tap you get a few options. Snapchat is pulling in some of the top referenced photos from the page or you can use an image from your Camera Roll to insert in the middle of the code. If you go the latter, make sure you have the image you want already saved in your Camera Roll on your phone for quick access. I just used my avatar from LinkedIn here.

Step #8: Now you want to save your final Snapcode to Camera Roll or use the Share icon in the top right to save out and share elsewhere. You know it worked when you see the little notification bar at the top shout out “Saved to Camera Roll!”


Step #9: Ok great! You made a Snapcode. Let’s share it. You need to figure out where to put it (likely before you make it). In-feed social could work but may be tough since most people are on their phone when they would see it (making it hard to scan). What about your retail location or a flyer or a print ad? Think about the call-to-action on why someone would want to take the time to scan this and what they get out of that interaction, especially through the context of Snapchat.


If you have ideas on what could be done with Snapchat Snapcodes and ideas on how this can work for you or others, share some comments.


Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter at @tuckross