If you don’t use Snapchat, you’ve probably heard of it. It’s an app that allows you to share photos and videos with friends, but there’s a catch: within a few seconds of viewing the content, it disappears! Gone forever.

Seems a little silly, right? And yet, over 30 million people are on Snapchat, sending 700 million “snaps” (photos or videos) a day. Did those statistics knock you out of your chair? Of course, the more relevant question for multifamily properties is “who makes up these 30 million users?” and “do these disappearing messages hold any value for me?” Let’s take a look:

User Demographics

As if you didn’t already know, Snapchat skews young. Of Snapchat’s 30 million users, 50% fall between 13 and 17, while roughly another third (9 million users) makes up the coveted millennial generation we’re all concerned with targeting.

snapchat demographics

Let me remind you, however, that within the next year, the up-and-coming Gen Z demographic (ages 13-17) will begin looking for student housing; within the next five years, they’ll begin to transition into the “young professionals” of tomorrow. So if your prospective residents don’t use Snapchat now… they will soon.

As for the other 19% of the pie (ages 25+), that’s another 6 million users, most of which likely fall on the millennial side of that age range. Although from personal experience, I can say that there are some Snapchat-happy baby boomers out there (Isn’t everyone’s mom on Snapchat? Or just mine?)

The Value (Unassumingly High Engagement)

Although it seems counterintuitive, Snapchat content (photos and videos) is among the most engaging of all social media platforms. You’re probably wondering how disappearing content can be engaging… but that’s just it! Viewing a “snap” requires your undivided attention for a few short seconds because if you don’t pay attention, you’ve missed the message (it’s gone).

Snapchat screenshot

Compare to platforms like Facebook and Twitter, where we may passively like photos or set aside articles with the best intentions of reading them later. But Snapchat is in the moment. It’s immediate. It’s succinct. It’s convenient. And in return, Gen Z’s and millennials find it reasonable to invest a few precious seconds of their time. As a recent Digiday article explained, “it’s this disposability that makes Snapchat so unique.” It’s the fleeting nature of Snapchat that drives such high user engagement.

Opportunities for Multifamily

There are many ways multifamily can leverage Snapchat at the property level, let’s take a look:

  • Direct snaps to & from residents

Once a property begins to connect with residents on Snapchat, they are able to send and receive ephemeral messages from one another. Likewise, it can be a good medium to send quick and private messages to the management team. This feature is a fantastic way to empower your leasing office and the property staff to connect with residents. As the face of the property, these employees will have the ability to get to know residents in a unique way.

  • Geofilters

Geofilters allow users to create custom-branded artwork that will appear as an optional filter within the app, in a specific geographic region. Users within that region can then add the geofilter to messages and videos they send to friends. Aside from affordability, geofilters create an opportunity to reach and communicate with your residents within a matter of seconds. Properties should consider how they can leverage geofilters within their geographic area to take advantage of an event or holiday and target future residents.

  • SnapStories

In addition to the traditional disappearing direct messages, Snapchat also includes a ‘story’ feature that allows users to post public messages and videos that last for 24 hours. This gives property managers the opportunity to create a story about their property and the people that live and work there. This can impact the way current and potential residents view your brand, and more importantly the way they view your property as a potential home.

The bottom line for marketers: Snapchat is here. The multifamily industry has seen the rise and adoption of other burgeoning social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest), but why? Because that’s where their renters are. That’s where their renters spend time; that’s where they consume information; that’s where they interact. If you can’t speak Gen Z or millennial, it’s about time to learn.