How one underwear brand boosted sales through sassy Snapchat fare

Snapchat is a hard nut to crack for many brands because there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy: Hotel chains like Starwood and Hilton are experimenting with the platform through branded geofilters; Adidas Originals relies heavily on celebrity ambassadors like Pharrell Williams.

Online skivvies retailer MeUndies, on the other hand, is carving out its own approach: creating original content — in the form of Snapchat-exclusive product launches and TV-like sketches — and then tying it to call-to-actions like vanity URLs. Through its approach, the company saw a conversion rate of 16 percent on Snapchat traffic for a launch of its tie-dyed lounge pants last month (meaning 16 percent of Snapchat viewers who saw the vanity link in the campaign actually went to MeUndies’ company website), five times more than its average conversion rate.

MeUndies's exclusive Snapchat launch of the tie-dye lounge pants
MeUndies’s exclusive Snapchat launch of the tie-dye lounge pants

“For us, user engagement on Snapchat is higher than Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I think how people consume Snapchat now is like how they used to watch TV,” said Dan King, head of marketing for MeUndies. “We’ve been hiring writers, comedians and actors to create delightful content on Snapchat, which has done well for us.”

Storytelling with a sense of humor is the key, added Bob Wolfley, head of social media for MeUndies. After experimenting with Snapchat for more than two years, Wolfley found the sweet spot: posting two to three times a week with 10 to 15 snaps in each story. MeUndies’ content covers a wide range of subjects including behind-the-scenes, product news and sketches.

For example, MeUndies ran a series called “Lounge Off” starring Wolfley and Greg Fass, the company’s head of partnerships and influencer marketing. In the video, they both reclined in their lounge pants in seemingly uncomfortable spots — atop a table at Starbucks, on a crosswalk. At the end of the episode, viewers could see a link to MeUndies’ site where they could purchase the pants.

“The majority of our snaps are like TV spots,” said Wolfley. “Videos in general, we have an average of 80,000 views per snap and 80 percent of viewers watch our stories in full.” Eighty percent is also the average retention rate for stories with 11 to 20 snaps, according to analytics firm Snaplytics.

Going forward, MeUndies will hire more writers and comedians to create original series rather than depending on Snapchat influencers, said King. “We want to have more control over content,” he explained. “We will still do unboxing videos with influencers if needed. But we will distribute that content through influencers’ own account instead of driving their followers to our account.”

Like MeUndies, many companies started considering Snapchat as if it were TV by producing narrative-driven series. While every snap can be seen as a story in some degree, Paul Marcum, president for agency Truffle Pig (backed by Snapchat, WPP and DailyMail), believes that Snapchat requires “a different approach and a different level of brand presentation,” meaning that brands have to be agile and develop content quickly.

“The biggest challenge on Snapchat is to make everything look as effortless as possible,” said Marcum. “You don’t need to have high-production value [like TV,] but you have to be in the moment as much as your audience.”

For the time being, MeUndies doesn’t plan to jump into paid ad products on Snapchat. But the company is interested in the platform’s e-commerce ads where viewers can swipe up for product details and further make a purchase. “We are viewing some proposals right now and may invest more in Snapchat later this year,” said King.

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