Marni Schapiro

When it comes to courting on-the-go Millennials, pictures speak volumes.

And Marni Schapiro, director, retail at Snap Inc., said the company’s Snapchat social platform was plugged in to the massive generation and its growing spending power.

“They have a tremendous amount of money and that money is only going to keep growing,” said Schapiro, putting the current Millennial spending power at $3 trillion.

And beyond that raw ability to spend, Millennials also consume media differently than other generations and are very quick to understand what they want to buy.

Snapchat lives in a Millennial world. Schapiro said the platform was one of five apps that reaches more than half of the cohort globally, covering people from somewhere in the college years to their mid-30s.

“In the U.S., we reach 72 percent of them every day…and the average users is on the app 25 times a day,” she said.

It’s an age group that is moving through a series of milestones, from college graduation to having their first baby to buying a home. (That is if they don’t have too much college debt to do so.)

As digital natives, they are quick to see what they want and savvy enough to know when they’re being sold something.

“The way that Millennials and [the even younger] Gen Z to come, the way that they engage in content is just very different,” Schapiro said. “They do not need 30 seconds of content to understand what the brand message is. They don’t need to understand what you’re trying to sell them, they know.”

Pictures are a way to communicate a lot of information and a short period of time and are connecting.

“Everything we do moving into the future should start with a camera,” Schapiro said, noting one trillion smartphone pictures were taken last year.

“Text has become formal,” she said. “Being able to communicate with a picture brings back a level of intimacy that most people haven’t experienced since it was normal to go meet for coffee.”

To play on that field, Snapchat has been developing camera marketing, giving brands access to augmented reality, filters and stickers as they court shoppers.

It’s an approach that has become much more accessible.

“This is no longer for the really big guys in the marketing world, AR is democratized now,” Schapiro said. “These things used to be very big-ticket items, they aren’t anymore.”

And playing with a Snapchat lens makes for a branded experience in a world where engagement seems to be the holy grail.

She pointed to a lens with Nike that let users view a 3-D image of Michael Jordan as he flew through the air on his way to the basket, ready to dunk.

“Seventy million people play with lenses every day for an average of three minutes,” Schapiro said. “As a marketer, if I could get three minutes of engagement with one users, that is important.”

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