More threads by Garrett Sussman

Mar 15, 2016
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What Does Snapchat’s New Context Cards Mean for Online Reviews?


It'll hurt or help your business.

Snapchat has just announced Context Cards. It's a feature that's available to advertisers. It's a huge advantage if you're ready to use it and an expensive headache if you're not. Context Cards will have a huge impact on your reviews.

Picture this.

You're shopping for a hotel. You're going on vacation, so you're looking for a premium experience. You want a hotel with great food, outstanding service - all the amenities a hotel should have.

You've narrowed your search down to two hotels in your target area.

The first hotel doesn't have much in the way of reviews. Could be a fantastic place to stay, or a nightmare. There's no customer feedback, so it's difficult to know what you're dealing with. Hmm... Maybe the second hotel will have more to work with.

You take a look.

The difference is night and day. They have pictures of everything. Hundreds of glowing reviews from happy customers just like you. They gush about the wonderful service, the atmosphere, the food.

Which hotel do you choose?

This is bad news if you're unprepared

If you're in this situation and your listing is filled with negative reviews (or worse no reviews) you have a problem.

Hotels are aware of the difference reviews make. They're sensitive to the feedback customers leave behind. If a new social or review site appears, most are working to generate positive reviews.

Other industries? Not so much.

With most other industries, the approach tends to be, take it or leave it. The attitude goes like this: "if customers write a review that's great. If they don't write a review, eh, no sweat off my back. If I have no reviews, no biggie."

You could have gotten away with this in the past.

Not anymore.

Those days are long gone. Snapchat’s huge millennial demographic means their users are focused on technology. This means they rely heavily on online reviews, especially within specific industries.

? Retail:As the retail apocalypse has shown, millennials are shifting their dollars away from bricks and mortar sellers to online retailers who cater to their values, wants and needs.

? Restaurants:When it comes to food, millennials are sophisticated foodies. They’re quick to critique businesses with less than ideal standards. They typically have very high expectations and they’re more than willing to cook at home when their expectations haven’t been met.

? Finance:Millennials have witnessed three major stock market crashes in their lifetime. They have an inherent distrust of all things financial. While they’re set to receive the greatest transfer of inherited wealth, they don’t have the spending power of their predecessors now.

? Services: Millennials are looking to partner with companies that make a difference in the world. They’re looking to make an impact, to achieve results that are significant and noteworthy. When it comes to your marketing, they expect your messages to be in line with their values.

Millennials are adults now and as customers, they expect to see your listings on the sites they use. If your profiles are incomplete or light on positive reviews they move on.

But why?

Why does this matter to customers so much?

The good news: reviews aren't really all that important, right?


Reviews are incredibly important on their own. Customers use reviews to confirm or defuse objections. They learn about what it's like to work with your company. It gives them a sense of what to expect (good or bad).

Reviews give you something more important.

Customers use reviews as a signaling tool. Customers use reviews to measure your value in the marketplace. The more positive reviews your company has the higher your company's social status.

Here's where things get interesting.

Customers use many factors, including reviews, to determine their own status/social worth. I admit it, this sounds a little bit silly.

But it's true. Here's how we know.


Customers use the Apple iPhone as a social comparison tool and status symbol. Almost immediately, people respond with, "well yeah, that's because it's Apple." But it's not just Apple. Whether we like it or not these abstract ideas - honor, trustworthiness, values, status - are a part of marketing.

These abstract ideas are things customers want from you.

Read the rest of Andrew's post here to see more screenshots and details on how businesses can get involved with the context card game.


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