Delta DreamHunt

A still from Delta Air Lines’ “Delta DreamHunt” promotional video. Image via YouTube

APEX Insight: Only a handful of airlines are currently active on Snapchat but those on board, including WOW air and Delta Air Lines, are using the app in creative ways to engage with new audiences.

Snapchat first grabbed headlines as an app used by teenagers to send each other silly pictures. But with a reported market valuation of $15 billion and over 150 million users, the platform has been embraced by brands ranging from Gatorade to General Electric who use sponsored lenses, geo-filter, and live stories to engage with existing and potential consumers.

Only a handful of airlines are currently using Snapchat as a marketing initiative. However, those on board – such as Aer Lingus, Virgin America, Air New Zealand, Qantas, WOW air, American Airlines, Qatar Airways, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines – have found novel ways to engage with Snapchat’s younger user demographic (according to comScore, 64 percent of Snapchat users were between 18 and 24 in December 2015).

 WOW air Looks to Influencers to Get the Message Across

WOW air is one of the more active airline users of Snapchat. In an effort to capture the attention of budget-conscious millennials, the Icelandic low-cost carrier launched a Snapchat competition in April, which fast became a viral marketing hit that brought attention to its ultra-low transatlantic fares.

Called “SnapTraveler,” the competition invited four active Snapchatters to travel to four of WOW air’s 28 destinations over a three-month period and document their experiences during the journey via the airline’s Snapchat account. “The SnapTraveler program is the result of us wanting to do something completely new and take our Snapchat presence to the next level,” WOW air’s project manager for Digital Marketing, Sindri Jóhannsson, told Mobile Marketer. The winning correspondents were chosen based on the level of creativity of their two-minute long Snapchat stories, which they submitted to WOW air as part of the application process.

Delta Air Lines Filters Out the Competition

Inspired by the Pokémon GO craze, Delta Air Lines sought earlier this month to bridge the digital-physical gap by making use of Snapchat’s new geo-filter capabilities. At the beginning of September, the airline launched a five-week long scavenger hunt across Los Angeles called “Delta DreamHunt,” offering the chance to win prizes including flights, concert tickets and invitations to attend the 2017 Grammys.

The airline is working with five Angelenos – including music group and YouTube stars KARMIN and Chef Ray Garcia – who are influential within key industries in Los Angeles and who reflect the city and its different neighborhoods. Delta has been dropping clues via its Snapchat account about each week’s hidden filter, which focuses on a specific theme and aligns with one of the Angelenos. Upon discovery, users snap a photo with the geo-filter and send it to Delta’s new snapchat channel, @Delta.

“Snapchat has a vibrant community of users that are sharing memories, sharing their passions. It’s right time, right place, right message. That’s what has made the platform so powerful,” said Ranjan Goswami, Delta’s vice-president of Sales for the West Coast, upon launching the competition. “With Delta DreamHunt, we want to help turn some of these dreams into realities, by providing opportunities that take them one step closer to their goals.”

As Snapchat’s user base increases, more airlines are likely to join the platform. But because Snapchat has a steeper learning curve than other social networking apps like Facebook and Twitter – Mashable has described Snapchat’s non-intuitive interface as making “absolutely no sense” – and lacks one-size-fits-all solutions, creative thinking and long-term planning are essential in order to use the app successfully. But when Snapchat is used to complement marketing promotions, such as those implemented by Delta and WOW air, the app demonstrates its utility in reaching new audiences.