Back to Blog

The Ethical Hacker’s Guide to Winning on Snapchat

This is a transcript of Fanbytes' CEO, Timothy Armoo's recent webinar: The Ethical Hacker's Guide to Winning on Snapchat.


This is a lesson in under-priced attention. The overarching idea is that there are these little pockets of attention which so many brands are not focusing on. What this webinar is going to look at is how you guys can not only focus in on them but how you actually execute them as well.

I call it the Ethical Hacker’s Guide because the things I’m going to talk to you guys about are things that not many people have considered about the way people actually engage on Snapchat.

My hope is that at the end of this session you guys will win with a deeper understanding of the different ways to use Snapchat. To begin with, I want to play a little game with you guys. I'm going to look at three people whose companies have taken advantage of this idea of under-priced attention.

Gary Vaynerchuk

The first person is Gary Vaynerchuk. Most business people know that Gary V is an entrepreneur and marketer, and he a great example of somebody who took advantage of this idea of under-priced attention.

In the early 2000, Gary V started “Wine Library” (a YouTube channel) when he took over his dad's business, which was then doing about 3 million dollars a year. He realised all the people who were in the wine business were all selling through stores and distributors, requiring a lot of staff. He set up a YouTube channel called Wine Library and he spent time sipping wine, reviewing wine, and doing all that good stuff. Within three years he had taken this 3-million-dollar-per-year business to around 60 million dollars. He was able to do this by looking where other people were not. He went head first into YouTube when he at that time it was the best place for under-priced attention.

Mark Pincus

The next person is Mark Pincus. He is the co-founder and CEO of Zynga, and Zynga were among the first to take advantage of this big idea at the time: Facebook’s newsfeed.

They took advantage of Facebook’s notifications, and the ability to send gifts, apps and games to friends. They started Zynga in 2011 and in about four years they took the company public at a billion-dollar valuation.

Nik Mirovic and Alex Tomic

The final two people are called Nik and Alex. They were friends who in 2014 started a teeth-whitening business called Hismile. At that time, Hismile realised a lot of people were not taking advantage of the avenue of Instagram influence.

Everybody who was trying to be in the teeth-whitening business was doing boring stuff like TV advertising and other traditional methods. Like Gary V, Hismile took advantage of under-priced attention. They grew from a tiny initial investment of 20 thousand dollars to 40 million dollars in just three years, using influencers like Kylie Jenner and Connor Mcgregor and people who are now megastars, when they were much less expensive. Hismile saw the opportunity and were among the first to go into that, and that’s why they were able to win. To take a business from 20 thousand dollars investment to 40 million in three years is outstanding.

Under-priced Attention

What I am trying to show you via these examples is how powerful this notion of under-priced attention can be. The people we’ve covered used YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube when attention on those platforms was cheap.

Why should these examples concern you? Each of these people took advantage of the most under-priced attention at the time. You can do the same in 2018, but the platforms and methods you’ll need to use are slightly different, and that’s what this talk is about.

Why Me?

My name is Timothy Armoo and I am the CEO of Fanbytes. We are the world's largest Snapchat network. We own a massive network of communities on Snapchat, and we help clients to distribute their content through this platform and this network, to an audience totalling tens of millions.

We do this because so much of typical paid advertising is rising and rising in cost. The reason for is simply supply and demand. There are so many people trying to do Facebook Ads, so many people trying to market on Instagram and YouTube, and of course this leads to an increase in price.

We are committed to making the best out of this pocket of opportunity and to helping brand take advantage of it for marketing and growth. Everything we’ll talk about today is based on the idea that there is lot of competition on the go-to paid social platforms, and we’re going to help you go where there is not a huge amount of competition.

Don’t Disrupt People, Interest Them

The core message of this webinar is the idea that – rather than disrupting what people are interested in – why not be what people are interested in?
It's so funny that we’re in an era where we get pissed off by annoying ads, but then we show annoying ads to other people. So, rather than being a disruption, becoming exactly what people are interested is an extremely powerful way to win on Snapchat.

Imagine you are about to watch your favourite TV show on YouTube. You've got your tea or coffee and you're about to get stuck into your favourite show and this happens: an ad appears and it completely disrupts your consumption experience.

People don't enjoy ads. They enjoy what interests them and sometimes that’s an ad.

Few advertisers actually take this important concept to heart. They think, “I’m just going to continually shove myself in your face, and hopefully you'll click through, swipe up, buy my product or download my app”. Obviously, that is far from the most effective solution, and it can even be damaging to your brand. Rather than disrupting what people are interested in, why not be what people are interested in?

The Ethical Hacker’s Triangle

To help structure the remainder of this webinar, I’d like to introduce the Ethical Hacker’s Triangle. It is made up of three concepts which we have found amazingly helpful for apps and brands, when it comes to setting themselves apart from the competition, and actually being what people are interested in:

  1. Tapping into culture,
  2. Forgetting the in-app footage, and
  3. Meme-ing it up.

The power of these insights has been shown through the hundreds of app install campaigns that we have run and the data we have gained from them.
We’ve looked at thousands of different data, including click through rates, CPIs, and more.

They are extremely effective concepts when it comes to targeting consumers aged 13 to 25.

But rather than just overwhelming you with data, I’d like to illustrate these principles via the stories of three or four different companies who used them successfully.

1. Tap into Culture

The first concept is the idea of tapping into culture. A lot of people know already that the youngest generation of consumers are the some of the most connected in the whole world, and – based on the kind of content that goes viral – this connection can have hilarious and unpredictable results.

This generation also have their own songs that are meaningful to them; they have their own TV shows that they empathise with. But for a long time, brands have sat in their offices and made content that doesn't connect. You can be different, by insert your brand and your content into pieces of culture which people can identify with.

My first story is about a 15-year-old kid called Ben Michael, and the app he founded called Laughs. The concept was to create a community of people sharing and rating videos, gifs, and funny pictures.

Chris Michael is Ben’s dad – and his investor. Chris offered Ben £2,500 counts to progress his project (roughly $3,000), and they found an independent investor who would help take the app to the next level, on one condition: to get the $15,000 investment (which is decent money at such an early stage), Ben would need to achieve 6,000 installs for his app Laughs. The problem was that they were trying to reach audience on Facebook Ads, but this was proving to be far too expensive to hit this important milestone and allow Laughs to get its first independent investment.

The audience they were targeting (13 to 19-year-olds) were not on Facebook, so Laughs switched the platform where they were focusing their adverts to Snapchat, and they tapped into culture: they wrote down the TV shows and celebrities that their audience were most interested in, and then they created a 10-seconds vertical video which had little snippets of the TV shows in it. In the end, Ben got 8,200 installs, which was 1,200 more than their 6,000-install target. This happened predominantly because of switching up the platform, and because of the idea of tapping into culture.

So the investor gave them $15,000 and this opened up another milestone: if they could reach 50,000 installs, investors promised to invest over $120,000 into the app.

To reach this difficult target, Ben applied the exact same principle of tapping into culture. He focused on what TV shows his audience was most interested in, and referenced them in his ad content. Overall, Laughs ended up getting 60,000 downloads, and that $120,000 of funding.

This simple principle helped a 15-year-old app developer raise enough funds to take his app to the next level. This is a principle you guys can use in all your app marketing as well, when targeting a younger audience.
Like Laughs, choose a creative that isn’t intrusive or disruptive, but which instead forms an emotional connection with you are advertising to.

2. Forget the In-app Footage

The next principle is forgetting the in-app footage.

There are plenty of people who believe that showing footage of their app – whether it’s a game, a social app, or something else – is the way to grip people. Perhaps you've been advertising on platforms like Tapjoy, and the advice you’ve been told is to show the most lively, explosive part of your game, for example.

On Snapchat specifically, our data suggests that, more often than not this does not work. The people using Snapchat are there to be entertained and have fun with their friends, and showing gameplay is far less effective than tapping into users’ emotions and create ways for them to engage even more with their friends.

My second story is of an app called Plato, which combines chat and casual games, like Chess, 8 Ball Pool, and so on. Plato was made by an experienced team, who had previously worked at Yahoo! Games, and they were getting pretty good CPIs: $1.20 on Instagram and Facebook, and $1 using search ads on the app stores.

But even these results were too high, because of Plato’s business model: they planned to grow as large as possible before monetising the app, and that meant aiming for CPIs below a dollar. Plato saw a big shift when they changed their focus from showing gameplay, to emphasising that users could compete with their friends on the app – something which also made users far more likely to share the app, because they care a lot more about the cool stuff they could do with their friends than some app they had never heard of.

Using this principle, along with tapping into culture, Plato ended up getting a CPI of just $0.46 – a definitive sign of the benefits of ignoring the old and venturing into the new.

We saw similar results with Sworkit, a home fitness app. They had been advertising on Snapchat with a low CTR of 0.32%, but were able to double this by swapping out in-app footage for images of people working out.

Together, these examples show how you win by Snapchat: don’t not focus on the in-app footage, but rather tap into peoples’ emotions.

3. Meme It Up

The last principle is to “meme it up”. This is my favourite to do and it can be used to more deeply connect with your audience.

A friend of mine called Mo is the CEO of the video app, Oevo. The app encourages users to share seven-second videos with your friends, with $100 prizes awarded every day to the most engaging creator.

Oevo were looking for innovative ways to reach their audience, but using traditional methods like Facebook Ads had got them unsustainable CPIs of $8-9; over a period of months, they refined their approach and were able to bring their CPIs down to $3-4, both on Facebook and on Snapchat, but this was still too high to allow for sustained growth over a longer period.

The solution was scarily simple: by introducing memes to his next Snapchat creative, he got 3,000 downloads and the CPI was massively reduced to just $0.50 – just one-sixth of the figures he had previously been getting.


In summary, you can use the Ethical Hacker’s Triangle to get fantastic results with Snapchat’s 13-25-year-old audience, by following its three principles:

  1. Tap into culture,
  2. Forget the in-app footage, and
  3. Meme it up.

These principles can be used for any brands, organisation, or app targeting this younger generation of consumers; our data suggests they are universal principles.

Exclusive Offer for Webinar Registrants

If you would love to put these principles into action in your own marketing, then we have an exclusive offer for you.

For everyone in this webinar [and anybody reading this transcription], the entry price for your first campaign which has been brought down to half, from the usual $5,000 to just $2,500.

This reduced price still includes all of our usual benefits, including:

  • an analysis of your app and how you could market it most effectively;
  • a free meme-based creative, which you can repurpose for whatever you like;
  • a guaranteed 2 million+ views.

This offer expires at the end of this month. You can contact us up as soon as you are ready to activate your campaign, and if you have any questions about the offer at all, you can either email us at [email protected], or what we encourage the most is scheduling a call by clicking this link:

Schedule a Call

I hope this has been useful to you, and I look forward to sending more great content your way about how to take your app marketing to the next level.

Timothy Armoo


Get weekly actionable tips on millennial marketing for free!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Let's Talk

To find out how Fanbytes can help you connect with a Gen Z Audience fill in the form to get in touch!

Contact us