Nordstrom Uses Snapchat to Target College-Age Customers - eMarketer

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Nordstrom Uses Snapchat to Target College-Age Customers

May 18, 2016

Bryan Galipeau
Director of Social Media and Display

Snapchat is still considered a newcomer by many brands, and few have added it to their social marketing arsenal. Department store retailer Nordstrom, however, has been using Snapchat to reach specific segments of its diverse customer base since March 2015, and directed its most recent campaign at college students. Bryan Galipeau, the retailer’s director of social media and display, spoke to eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about what makes Snapchat powerful.

eMarketer: Why is social media important to Nordstrom’s marketing strategy?

Bryan Galipeau: Each social media platform is used differently by our customers, but our goal for all of them is to bridge the gap between digital experiences and the physical world. We are a 115-year-old retailer with a longstanding brick-and-mortar presence in 121 stores. A key part of our company is the experience of Nordstrom. Through social, we aim to bring experiences that are happening in our stores to life.

eMarketer: Some brands have been reluctant to use Snapchat, but Nordstrom has taken the leap. Can you discuss your latest campaign?

Galipeau: The idea was a “surprise and delight” event to outfit some college seniors with new shoes for the working world. As we brainstormed, we realized that Snapchat [was right for the campaign] because it has geofilters, meaning users in a walled-off geographic area can add their Snaps to local Live Stories.

“The idea was a ‘surprise and delight’ event to outfit some college seniors with new shoes for the working world.”

On March 28, we posted a story on Snapchat encouraging students to vote for one of five participating universities by sharing a screenshot of the school name with our ‘Study Break’ geofilter overlay. The school with the most crowd-sourced votes would win an on-campus shoe party where 2,000 seniors would receive a $100 voucher toward shoes at Nordstrom.

eMarketer: What made Snapchat’s platform and technology uniquely suited for this campaign?

Galipeau: The innovative thing was that Snapchat gave Nordstrom the ability to post Live Stories in multiple places at once, across a variety of college campuses. We also used Snapchat 3V ads, which are video ad units, to allow customers and college students at these campuses to be able to vote and determine the winner of the shoe prize.

eMarketer: Snapchat is popular among a younger demographic than other social networks. How can brands leverage the platform to best appeal to this audience?

Galipeau: Nordstrom has something for everybody, and college students are no exception. To add value through social, brands have to create experiences and content specific to the platform. Our Snapchat Stories were a little bit informal and natural—it was not a commercial, it had hand-written text and it was very different than what consumers would see on TV or even YouTube.

“To add value through social, brands have to create experiences and content specific to the platform.”

eMarketer: Was the campaign a success?

Galipeau: The biggest results were that our story was viewed over 6.5 million times and that our Study Break filter was used over 230,000 times. That was very exciting because people were choosing to proactively put Nordstrom’s message in front of their friends, and that means that it resonated with them.

eMarketer: Snapchat is relatively new to the advertising game. What are its strengths compared to other networks?

Galipeau: On Facebook you can click back to a website, but that doesn’t exist on Snapchat. There’s no “liking” or sharing content, and it disappears in 24 hours. All this is substantially different than Facebook or Pinterest, where content lives forever.

But Snapchat is more collaborative and creative—it’s about the here and now. The reason it appeals to us is we have many interesting events in our stores, such as Russell Wilson launching his Good Man Brand men’s apparel in our Seattle store. Snapchat provides a good way for customers to participate in a live experience.

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