Measuring Snapchat ROI: Taco Bell’s Record-Breaking Snapchat Filter

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Snapchat has exploded over the last two years, growing from a silly teenager app to a giant social media phenomenon. Unless they’re on it themselves, many marketers and brand managers are still unfamiliar with how to use it and how to measure it. As Snapchat continues to create more and more ways brands can use the network, PR pros must understand it and know what the numbers mean.

We often hear clients (and other marketing pros) ask how to measure Snapchat, since it doesn’t have the analytics tools of other social networks. To illustrate, let’s look at an example from a brand that recently got a lot of people taco-ing… er, talking.

Turn Yourself Into a Taco: A Snapchat Record

Taco Bell is back in headlines with the top campaign in Snapchat’s history – its Cinco de Mayo Snapchat lens. Taco Bell’s sponsored filter turned user’s faces into a giant taco shell to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, totaling in more than 224 million views in one day. Needless to say, Snapchat users loved it.

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Measuring the ROI of Talking Taco Heads

Taco Bell shattered Snapchat records with the number of views and engagement its Cinco de Mayo filter received. More than 224 million people interacted with and looked at Taco Bell’s snap filter, but what does that really mean?

Taco Bell took a risk by investing in this filter, but fortunately for them, it paid off. It also makes for a fascinating case study. This is an extreme example, but let’s take a look at the numbers behind the talking taco heads and see why this is so exciting:

Guaranteed Numbers

First, let’s remember that the number of people that saw the Taco Bell filter – 224 million – is guaranteed. That’s one of the great things about Snapchat filters. Users have to choose to engage with that filter, and Snapchat knows exactly how many people did. It’s different from those “reach” and “impressions” numbers we rely on from other networks, which indicate content was shown but tell us nothing about whether those users really looked at it or just scrolled right on past.

Length of Engagement

Snapchat also revealed that the time unique users spent engaging with the filter equaled 12.5 years of play – in one day. Also, the average user played with the filter for 24 seconds before sending it as a snap. That’s 24 seconds of a user’s 100-percent attention. How many ads can say the same?

Ad Cost

In one day, 224 million people looked at Taco Bell’s filter – that’s 2,592 people every second. There’s no report released yet that says what Taco Bell paid, but previous reports have shown that brands paid around $750,000 for custom filters during big events like holidays and the Super Bowl that last all day, which is $8.68 per second. To compare, about 111 million people watched this year’s Super Bowl game. The average cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad this year was $5 million, or $166,666 per second, and advertisers can only hope that the majority of those people were engaged while their commercial was running.

Screenshots, Snap Stories and Cross-Sharing

In addition to those numbers that we know, we can assume that millions of people shared a snap of themselves using the filter, or put it on their story – which lives for 24 hours and has the potential to be seen by each follower that person has on Snapchat. So add all those views together and who knows where that number would be. Snapchat users aren’t just watching Taco Bell’s content – they’re also engaging with and sharing the content, making it more likely to be remembered.

Not every brand has $750,000+ dollars to spend on Snapchat, or any advertising for that matter, but this is a great example of the potential Snapchat can have with the right audience. Taco Bell’s taco filter raised the bar for brands trying to be successful on Snapchat. We’re excited to see who takes the taco next.

Mary Stankiewicz

Mary helps our clients grow their brands with smart and strategic content across social media platforms and targeted media coverage.