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Snapchat for MillennialsMany brands are finding Snapchat to be a great place to reach the coveted Millennial generation. Could it work for you?

There’s no shortage of advertisers trying to capture the attention of the Millennial generation – the challenge is to find even a moment of relevance amid the cacophony of tweets, Facebook updates, and every other platform that defines the current age of casual communication.

One of the newest and most popular platforms is Snapchat, which presents advertisers with a challenge: how to engage consumers via an app in which the content disappears shortly after being viewed?

What Is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to send and receive "self-destructing" photos and videos, known as "snaps." The sender determines how many seconds (one to 10) the recipient can view the snap before the file disappears from the recipient's device. Messages can only be viewed once, and during the viewing period, the recipient must maintain contact with the device's touchscreen, or the snap disappears.

Who Uses It?

A recent comScore report found that 50 percent of smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 24 use the Snapchat app, as do 20 percent of consumers between the ages of 25 and 34. This makes Snapchat an ideal platform to market to Millennials. By providing content with a limited lifespan, Snapchat combines the appointment-viewing value of sports with the engagement of social media – both of which appeal to young, tech-savvy digital consumers.

Here's how three brands are using this fast-growing social media tool.

Who: General Electric

Since the brand’s Snapchat debut in July, it has introduced astronaut Buzz Aldrin to its younger fans and unveiled the "mission sneakers," celebrating the 45th anniversary of General Electric’s contribution to the 1969 moon landing.

The brand has found Snapchat success by sharing its own feats of invention, while encouraging an interest in science to its expanding community of young, online fans.

Who: Wet Seal

Wet Seal took a unique approach to gain a following on Snapchat earlier this year, by letting a 16-year-old take control of its Snapchat account. Meghan Hughes is a beauty blogger who has 200,000 subscribers on YouTube, 101,000 followers on Instagram, and 49,000 followers on Twitter. Meghan ran the Wet Seal account for two days, using the Snapchat Stories feature to document herself wearing and commenting on various items of Wet Seal clothing.

The story was viewed 6,000 times, and Wet Seal gained 9,000 friends on Snapchat.

Who: National Basketball Association

At the 2014 NBA Draft, fans on Snapchat got to see exclusive behind-the-scenes clips of the event, like players arriving on the NBA bus. During the Finals, the league posted exclusive videos between games, including one of hoops legend Bill Russell meeting the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard.

With so many stars, teams, and drama to spawn endless stories, the sports arena is well suited to Snapchat, and it was a smart tactic for a league looking to build and retain a young fan base.

How could your brand use the ephemeral messaging app to boost your product?

Note: This article was originally posted at Clickz.com on December 3, 2014.

Topics: Mobile Advertising, Mobile App, Millennials, Smartphones, Snapchat, NBA

Tim Nichols

Written by Tim Nichols

Tim Nichols is a founding partner at ExactDrive, a digital media buying agency with white label, reseller and managed service options available. ExactDrive plans, manages, and optimizes online advertising campaigns with the objective of delivering measurable value and empowering clients to find precisely targeted audiences. ExactDrive has offices in Minneapolis, MN and Milwaukee, WI.

Tim Nichols is also a contributing author on Forbes.com.