With more than 150 million daily users, marketers are starting to pay attention to Snapchat.

Juliette Dallas-Feeney, senior social media manager at Birchbox Inc., discussed how the subscription cosmetics retailer uses Snapchat to market to consumers and promote its brand at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition in Chicago today.

Snapchat is a messaging app where users send pictures of videos to each other and the content disappears in 10 seconds or less. Consumers can also compile a series of images or videos, called snaps, into a snap story, which is live for 24 hours.

Birchbox started using Snapchat about three years ago and in the past year has amped up its presence, Dallas told Mobile Strategies 360 at the show. Each day, Birchbox posts a total of five minutes of content to Snapchat, Dallas said. Once a day, Birchbox will have a snap that has a call to action, such as “Snap us back with feedback on this product,” or “Screenshot this product to remember it later.”

On average, each Birchbox snap receives 10,000 views, Dallas said. Snapchat does not provide metrics on the number of consumers who follow an account, so for measurement what retailers have is the number of view and screenshots a snap receives.


The number of views, however, is not always the best way to measure Snapchat success, Dallas said. Since snaps are fleeting and take up the whole smartphone screen, consumers who watch them are paying attention to the content. Using Snapchat is more about relationship building rather than increasing sales, Dallas said. “It’s not about impressions, it’s about garnering that attention,” she said.

Birchbox sends outs snaps that show a behind the scenes look into its office, makeup tutorials and show previews on products that will be in future Birchboxes.

“Once you have that trust built up you can leverage it for selling,” Dallas said.

One of Birchbox’s most successful snaps is when it sent out a snap story that gave users a sneak peek into it a limited edition of one of its boxes. This first look was only on Snapchat, and the retailer distributed the content the night before it put it out on its other social media accounts and in emails.


In the snap, consumers were prompted to screenshot the image with the URL, so they could type it into their browser and then order the box. 12% of consumers who viewed that snap, screenshotted the image to type in the link, which was a significantly higher conversion rate of the same picture on Facebook and Instagram, Dallas said. Birchbox was thrilled with this engagement rate, Dallas said.

Birchbox has three employees on its social media team, which is a part of the marketing department. To help with the posting of content, Birchbox employees take turns “taking over” the account for a day, and do their own personal snaps. Birchbox plans out most of its snaps ahead of time, Dallas said.