Tracking the ephemeral: USAGov

Tracking the ephemeral: USAGov's plan for Snapchat

USAGov is looking to connect with the nation’s younger generation on Snapchat.  And while that social media platform is best known for sharing photos and short videos that disappear almost immediately -- the USAGov team plans to both build and measure its durable audience presence.

After getting a government-specific Terms of Service agreement hashed out, USAGov -- the General Services Administration-run website that aims to be a citizen-centric portal for all things federal government -- began sharing its Snapchat account with the public on March 29.  According to a blog post by Social Media Manager Jessica Milcetich, “[w]e struggle to connect with the younger demographic through our current social media channels,” and using Snapchat is an attempt to change that.

Snapchat has more than 100 million active users a day, she wrote, and it's estimated that 60 percent of Americans between the ages of 13 and 34 are using the platform. 

GSA plans to track the success of its USAGov Snapchat account with a few basic available metrics, such as the number of total followers and the rate at which individuals choose to unfollow.  And while the videos and multimedia that make up "Snapchat stories" disappear after just 24 hours, the USAGov team believes the engagement metrics will provide lasting value. Snapchat lets account owners see how many people are watching each story, if they watch the whole story and when and where they stop before it’s over -- allowing USAGov to analyze what kind of content works best.

GSA plans track engagement by the number of people sending Snapchats back to USAGov and to view what screenshots followers are taking of certain content to determine what kinds of information followers find worth saving. 

And since ephemeral postings could run afoul of the Federal Records Act, Milcetich outlined how the USAGov team will download each Snapchat story out of the app and save it as a video file for records management purposes. Versions of the stories are also being posted to USAGov's YouTube account.

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.


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