Is Snapchat a true marketing opportunity?While social media has dominated discussions related to marketing, the question that often arises is how to effectively leverage social media for a strong return on investment. The ability to see value has been harnessed and realized through Facebook, Twitter, and to some degree LinkedIn and Instagram, but the platform that has Internet marketing experts currently buzzing is Snapchat.

Sure, it’s gained a large amount of popularity amongst the high school to college age demographic and it’s famous for turning down a huge payoff to continue to push forward as “the next big thing,” but how can it really be used as a tool for marketing?

Since it is still gaining steam, it’s only really prevalent amongst the younger generation. Savvy marketers like McDonald’s and Taco Bell have begun to promote Snapchat videos which they migrate from their other social media channels. This sort of marketing is effective because it furthers their brand, and marketing powerhouses like McDonald’s can afford to have LeBron James in their ads…which your average business has no chance of accomplishing. These ads are low-cost to promote and the only real cost is likely to pay LeBron whatever sort of unreal payday he receives for being in the ads. But this still leads to the same question, can your everyday business benefit from Snapchat marketing?

It’s not a simple answer, but I would say that Snapchat can be an effective marketing tool for businesses that are targeting a younger clientele. These businesses can promote specific products, offer discounts, and utilize the Snapchat “Stories” feature to entice their audience to engage their brand.

For marketers that cater to an “older” demographic, Snapchat isn’t going to provide them with the sort of value they need to make their marketing efforts worthwhile. Over time, this may change as there was once a time when Facebook was viewed only as a platform “younger people” used…and we all saw how quickly that opinion changed.