‘De-risk the path forward’: Why Dr. Squatch sees value in Snapchat as it diversifies its media mix

Illustration of a person on a bicycle with dollar signs as the spokes.

This time last year, direct-to-consumer men’s soap brand Dr. Squatch had little to no ad spend dedicated to Snapchat. But as the company continues to diversify its digital media strategy, it is putting 10% of its digital ad spend on the platform, according to CMO Josh Friedman.

It’s a move the brand plans to continue in the future via in-feed video ads, Friedman said. Like many DTC brands, Dr. Squatch is pushing to diversify away from Facebook and Instagram although the platforms have been an integral part of the brand’s digital media strategy. 

“We’re pretty agile and we’re looking to spend on what’s most effective in the moment,” Friedman said, noting that Dr. Squatch now sees the platform as more than just an experimental channel. With its newfound Snapchat budget, the brand has utilized in-feed ads on the platform, producing paid video content geared toward Snapchat’s Gen-Z audience.

While Snapchat is a growing channel, Facebook and YouTube serve as the brand’s bread and butter, taking up more than an estimated 85% of the digital media budget, Friedman said. Currently, the brand dedicates an estimated 65% of its digital ad spend to Facebook, 20% to YouTube, and 10% to Snapchat with remaining dollars invested in what it does consider experimental channels — like TikTok and influencer marketing.

Dr. Squatch’s key to rapid growth, as Friedman sees it, is to have multiple channels to “de-risk the path forward.”

Snapchat has also made investments in its platform to better woo over brands’ dollars. Changes last spring included new original short-form shows and AR features, as per previous Digiday reporting. Since then, it may be time for more brands to take a second look at the platform, said Faviana Campbell, media director at R/GA.

“It’s really a missed opportunity that brands don’t consider Snapchat to be part of their core brand media strategy,” Campbell said in an email.

The media director noted that direct response clients don’t typically consider Snapchat for e-commerce, “but Snap has proven to be a strong partner with a unique ability to target Gen-Z, especially in retail.”

As brands continue to diversify their media strategy and ad spend, Snapchat can serve as an “an additional mechanism to deepen user engagement, whether that’s through the lens or other ad unit,” according to Campbell. For this year’s Super Bowl, R/GA worked with UberEats for a spot that included a Snapchat AR add-on during the game to target Gen Z. 

“Done right, it’s a lean-in experience and helps to deepen brand association while priming the audience to become more receptive to promotions,” Campbell said in an email.

The media director cited PR mishaps and advertisers’ lack of understanding the platform’s advertising offerings as to why it’s not widely embraced by the industry since bursting onto the scene nearly a decade ago.

Last fall, Digiday reported that Snapchat pitched advertisers what it called a “Platform Burst,” in which Snapchat guaranteed advertisers a certain reach for campaign ad spend. Digiday also reported that publishers were seeing success on the platform. 

Last year, Dr. Squatch worked within a $30 million media budget, but that number is expected to double in 2021 as the brand continues to grow. Last year, the brand hit roughly $100 million in revenue per Friedman.

“We want to continue that growth. We want to approximately double our business,” Friedman said. “But we need the ad spend to continue to drive that.”

Dr. Squatch also advertised during the Super Bowl earlier this month to boost brand awareness. The men’s soap brand has also been taking a page from sneaker culture, experimenting with limited-edition drops for soap to continue engagement with its existing customer base. 

To the savvy social media marketer, Snapchat is no longer considered an experimental channel, according to Sadie Miller, vice president of social media partnerships at Reprise agency. The executive said the platform has leveraged camera-focused, VR/AR product integrations to define its unique position as a social media platform. 

“Year-over-year, our investment in Snapchat continues to grow across the portfolio, which attests to our belief that it is a maturing and well-suited platform to help reach client objectives in creative and inspiring ways,” Miller said in an email.


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