September 29, 2022
September 29, 2022

Snapchat Evokes Stronger Emotions than Biggest Platforms

The Snapchat community is genuinely happier while using our platform. And when Snapchatters are happy, they’re much more receptive to the content and ads they see, and more willing to consume and engage. Check out the research that backs such a bold statement — and discover what this means for brands.

Snapchat offers incredibly engaging and immersive experiences for our community that enable them to freely express themselves and easily share content with their closest friends and family. But it’s not just Snapchatters that benefit from this approach  — it’s also effective for brands looking to make a lasting impression with new and current customers.

While dozens of case studies confirm this very sentiment, we’ve taken it a step further and teamed up with Neuro-Insight, a neuroanalytics and neuromarketing firm, to conduct an independent study. We asked Neuro-Insight to dig deep into what makes Snapchat the go-to platform for people who want to feel happy, and what exactly happens while using the app that makes them feel this way.

The Power of Close Friends

According to previous research we’ve conducted — particularly the Snapchat Generation Report — we found that Snapchatters are genuinely happier while using the app.1 This is because, on Snapchat, they feel free to express their authentic selves to their closest friends and family.

For this study, we hypothesized that the emotions felt while using Snapchat are much stronger and deeper than on any other app because, when Snapchatters use the platform, it enables them to express themselves in real, authentic ways with their close friends and family. That said, they are far more engaged with the content they interact with compared to other top social media platforms.

We also theorized that this higher level of engagement would cause a halo effect on ads, leading Snapchatters to be more receptive to advertisements from brands. In turn, Snapchatters would be more likely to purchase products and recommend brands they see on Snapchat compared to other social platforms. 

To prove this scenario, Neuro-Insight conducted extensive neuroscientific and quantitative research into Snapchatter behavior.

The Scientific Approach

Neuro-Insight applied a lab-based brain-mapping method known as Steady State Topography (SST) — an industry-leading, award-winning technology used to measure second-by-second brain activity. In this case, they looked at users interacting with content on Snapchat as well as on other apps.

As 126 participants in the study, ages 16 to 39, engaged with Snapchat and three competitive platforms in a natural environment, they wore headsets with 24 electrodes that measured brain activity.

Next, Neuro-Insight analyzed the participants’ brain activity to better understand the following in regard to content and advertising experiences on the tested social media apps: 

  • Approach/Withdrawal: Do participants like or dislike what they see?

  • Engagement: Is what they are seeing personally relevant to them?

  • Global Memory: Do they connect with the overall theme, visuals, narratives and audio on the platform?

  • Detail Memory: Is this conversation or interaction memorable?

  • Emotional Intensity: Do they feel strongly in the moment?

Diagram illustrating how memory and engagement work in the brain in the context of high activity and low activity

Neuro-Insight also used Implicit Association Testing (IAT) to measure the strength of unconscious connections between content on platforms and key emotions felt. Participants were shown a series of attributes — such as “be me,” “fun,” “happy,” “true friends,” “judgy,” and “hurtful” — alternated with brand logos, and response times were captured to calculate the strength of their associations. 

Based on the results from both testing methods, our hypothesis was proven correct — authenticity translates to happier Snapchatters, which leads to higher Engagement and, in turn, greater overall brand impact.

The Power of Engagement on Snapchat

Snapchat’s ability to foster a real sense of community is incredibly valuable. In a survey conducted by Neuro-Insight, the majority of Snapchatters shared that our platform makes them feel connected to friends and family. In fact, 75% of those surveyed reported their main reason for using Snapchat was to connect with close family and friends. And these real, personal connections are what lead to feelings of happiness while using Snapchat — feelings that are 14% higher than on other social platforms tested, according to the IAT.2 

The brain responds differently when connecting with close friends. Neuro-Insight found that across all the platforms tested, personal interactions lead to significantly higher Engagement scores than interactions with those outside of close circles. What was particularly unique for Snapchat, however, was that neurological Engagement levels remained relatively high, regardless of the type of experiences Snapchatters were having on the app. This explains why Snapchatters overall experienced significantly higher levels of Engagement while using our platform compared to the other apps tested.3 Regardless of what users are doing on Snapchat, it is personally relevant and meaningful to them.

Engagement Score - Close vs Broad Social Circle Interactions

Engagement Score - Overall app usage

Snapchat Ads Are Hyper-Relevant

Here’s where we see the halo effect really demonstrate the influence and sentiment that Snapchat ads can have.

As a part of their study, Neuro-Insight tested the same ads — across a variety of advertisers and categories — on Snapchat as well as the other tested apps. Despite showing participants the same exact ads across platforms, when users saw them on Snapchat, brain activity measured by SST technology found these ads to have engagement scores that were 1.6 times greater than on the other platforms! The ads also saw greater brand outcomes on Snapchat, with an increased likelihood that Snapchatters would both recommend the brand to friends as well as say they would purchase the products advertised.4 This same feel-good effect that Snapchatters experience with their close friends and family has carried over to the unique advertising they engage with on Snapchat.

After watching ads on Snapchat, are 45% more likely to recommend the brand to friends and 34% more likely to purchase

How Snapchat Can Help Brands Amplify Engagement and Conversions

For the Snapchat Generation, a single image has the power to communicate so much more about what’s going on in their world than a text message ever could. And when a simple photo isn’t enough, they can add AR Lenses, Filters, Stickers, Bitmoji, and music to say even more with their Snaps.

Brands can also leverage Snapchat’s suite of creative tools to show Snapchatters who they are as a brand overall. Whether through Commercials, Story Ads, Filters, AR Shopping Lenses, or other advertising solutions, brands can offer Snapchatters a fun and frictionless way to discover, share, and shop. And if they’re engaging with their audience authentically, Snapchatters will be more receptive to content and ads.

Ultimately, if brands want to get more personal with Snapchatters, they’ll need to meet their audience where they feel their best and can genuinely express themselves — and that’s on Snapchat.

1 Source: 2022 Neuro-Insight A&U survey, commissioned by Snap, Inc., n=435.
2 Source: 2022 Neuro-Insight Implicit Association study, commissioned by Snap, Inc..
3 Source: 2022 Neuro-Insight SST study, commissioned by Snap, Inc.
4 Source: 2022 Neuro-Insight SST study, commissioned by Snap, Inc.