Snapchat needs money. Presidential candidates need votes. Millennials desperately need to be politically informed. To create a happy marriage between these disparate needs, Snapchat is seeking out presidential candidates to get in on the hundreds of millions that will be spent on ad campaigns during the 2016 election cycle. On the opposite end of the spectrum, presidential candidates are happily adopting the vanishing photo and video-sharing app as a way of reaching out to a large group of important and potential voters who probably aren’t being reached through traditional methods. And stuck in the middle are millennials, who are already using Snapchat like crazy, and are already apparently very likely to vote, not that an extra shove is such a bad thing.
Snapchat has done its due diligence by accumulating some persuasive data for why candidates vying to take the highest office in the country should turn to their app: two-thirds of millennials that regularly use the social media app are likely to vote. While there’s no measure on just what “likely” really constitutes when it comes to getting young people out to the polls come next November, Rob Saliterman, head of political ad sales for Snapchat, states that millennial users of Snapchat are politically invested in the upcoming election and have a high likelihood of casting votes. The app noted that 63 percent of Snapchat’s 100 million daily users are between the ages of 18 to 34, a notoriously difficult demo to target with campaign ads.
This should come as candy to the mouth-watering politicians who make up the whopping pool of presidential candidates in the 2016 race. With less than a year left, we’re in full-blown campaign mode now, and Snapchat is a service that can offer candidates instantaneous access to millions of millennials at a pithy and digestible 10 seconds to get across appeals, platforms or whatever empty promises they spew to encourage the undecided, but engaged millennial to cast a vote.
Bernie Sanders is the latest candidate to join the app, posting a trademark brusque comment about the nature of the app on Twitter that has this millennial voter very interested to see how the presidential hopeful makes use of his 10 seconds of fame on Snapchat. Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush and Rick Santorum are the lone wolves in the candidate pool who have yet to dip their toes into the scary, new-age waters of Snapchat, giving the billion other Republican hopefuls a leg up in reaching a younger, typically more liberal audience through the platform.
For their efforts, Snapchat is attempting to use this data on millennial usage and political sentiment to encourage candidates to not only post free content, but to pay for ad campaigns on the service as well. Thus far, Rand Paul, John Kasich and Scott Walker, before dropping out of the race, have taken the bait. Using their stories feature, Snapchat launched continuous feeds and streams in New Hampshire and Iowa, two critical states hosting primaries and caucuses that officially kick off the nomination process. While Facebook remains the dominant social platform for campaign advertising and Twitter serves as the go-to platform during live debates and to spark instant political conversation, Snapchat is truly amping up its efforts to be a formidable presence in this presidential campaign.
By offering candidates the chance to utilize their service to disseminate 10-second political ads into videos users are already viewing, Snapchat is carving out a space in the campaign trail that is looking more and more like a foolish thing for presidential hopefuls to ignore, especially considering the ads can be targeted to a user’s location. And for a presidential election, location, location, location can be everything. With such a pervasive platform with a user base that is hard to reach, but politically invested, Snapchat could turn into a social platform that could make or break a candidate’s campaign this election cycle.