Marketing Public Libraries to Millennials Using Snapchat


snapchat1Public libraries looking for a new way to reach the elusive 20-something market should consider Snapchat. The app, which features self-destructing photos and videos, is very popular with both teens and young adults. It also presents an intriguing marketing opportunity.

College-aged adults (ages 18-24) aren’t using the public library as frequently as other age groups, according to the Pew Research Center. In addition, their visits to the local library actually have declined since 2012. In November 2012, 56% of 18-24 year olds surveyed by Pew had visited the library. By September 2013, the percentage had dropped to 46%.

Some creative marketing on Snapchat might offer public library marketers a way to entice this group through the library doors. According to a survey by marketing company Sumpto, 77% of college students use the app at least once a day. What’s more, they’re receptive to marketing messages. Sixty-seven percent of college students said they would open a Snapchat message from a brand, and 58% would be inclined to make a purchase.

Nonprofit organizations like, which connects young people with social causes, are using Snapchat to interact with their members and encourage them to join campaigns. The organization says SMS messages have a 97% open rate, a statistic that has led them to incorporate text messaging into all of their marketing campaigns. They are using interactive Snapchat stories, which string together several snaps, to engage young adults.

For-profit companies are also using Snapchat to reach this market. McDonald’s has shared behind-the-scenes photos of celebrities appearing in their commercials. Taco Bell creates “mini-movies” using Snapchat stories, and brands like GE and Acura have shared images of new products.

Public libraries can experiment with video, contests, and Snapchat stories to create interest in newly released books, promote events, and generally raise awareness about the public library.

For a detailed explanation and how-to guide for Snapchat, marketing consultant Ross Simmond’s SlideShare presentation, “The Ultimate Guide to SnapChat Marketing,” is very informative and provides a detailed lesson on how to get started on this platform.

About Tiffany McClary

Tiffany McClary is the Director of Communications, Marketing & Outreach for the New Jersey State Library. She coordinates marketing and public relations initiatives in order to enhance the reputation of the State Library, and promote the value of NJ libraries and the services and programs that they provide to residents.