How is DJ Khaled so successful

How you can learn how Snapchat marketing works from a US rapper

DJ Khaled is the Snapchat king and provides a guide for the platform

DJ Khaled is arguably the most successful Snapchatter in the world.


With 100 million daily active users, Snapchat is one of the big new ecosystems. We show what tricks the US rapper DJ Khaled uses to market himself on the platform and explain why 2016 could be the big Snapchat year.

The app is the number 1 communication tool, especially for teenagers, and it is also becoming increasingly popular in Germany. At the moment, influencers (mostly social media or other stars) are benefiting from the hype. In the USA, however, the rapper and producer DJ Khaled is now showing how to use the platform successfully and build insane reach. He reaches an average of two million fans per snap (post on Snapchat), making him one of the biggest Snapchat stars in the world.

Screenshot of the access numbers of DJ Kahleds Snaps

DJ Khaled has been known in the rap scene in the USA for over ten years, has celebrated chart successes with his albums (his album "Kiss the Ring" was number 4 in the US charts) and was nominated for a Grammy in 2012. He often works with artists like Lil Wayne and Rick Ross. But now he's enjoying a whole new celebrity on Snapchat. Most of his Snapchat followers should know him for his iconic posts on the platform (his Snapchat name is @ djkhaled305). Because he's even bigger there than in the music industry. How did he manage to build up so much range so quickly? For three months, the rapper has been posting snaps for his fans all day long and has 500,000 followers within five minutes. “I'm definitely getting more fans, but that's the key to success… getting more love. If you've never heard my music, listen to it now, ”says DJ Khaled to Techcrunch.

Authentic and pretty crazy the guy

DJ Khaled has only been on Snapchat for about three months and is now the big star. His breakthrough came on a jet ski tour near Miami, where he got lost and sent videos live out of the dark onto the platform. The unintended ride was reported in an incredible amount of US media - mainly because of his live report on Snapchat. He used his mishap to emphasize again and again: "The key is to make it". This exaggeration of the incident into a path to success was well received by the fans, who were there up close via Snapchat: “You are on a journey with me. And it always depends on which way I take it with me. When I was on the jet ski, I documented it because I was so scared, ”Khaled told Techinsider. The combination of authenticity, wisdom and funny quotes is what makes the great success: "Now universities are calling me and want me to speak in schools to inspire the children." His followers are so enthusiastic about his statements that they are the best collect them and upload them to Youtube or Twitter. His collected snaps about the jet ski incident have 1.4 million views on YouTube. Of course there are parody accounts and even a page that only shows Khaled's sayings (absolute click recommendation).

Anyone who has followed DJ Khaled on Snapchat since the jet ski incident has definitely had entertainment all day. He films himself in the shower, in his garden and with his famous friends. The snaps remain online for 24 hours and are then automatically deleted as usual with Snapchat. Some of his sayings have now become pop culture quotes. Khaled constantly talks about his “keys to success”, smearing himself with cocoa butter, watering his flowers (which he calls “Angels”) and admiring the stone lion in his garden (with the exclamation “Lion!”). One thing becomes clear: Instead of sending out 10-second excerpts of their own unattainable lifestyle like Justin Bieber or other celebrities, Khaled gets out life aids for his fans - even if they are often pretty wacky. “Nobody ever told me to eat protein or drink lots of water every day. I'll let them know how to stay healthy, ”he says.

Product placement to two million fans

With all this success, DJ Khaled might lose the authenticity after all. He always drinks exactly one brand of coconut water, skillfully places Puff Diddy's vodka "Ciroc" in the picture and does a lot of advertising for his own product line. In many snaps, Khaled refers his fans to his newly opened online shop, where he sells t-shirts (US $ 25) and flip-flops (US $ 65) with his most famous Snapchat sayings. Incidentally, the red flip-flops are sold out. He has managed to use his motivational sayings (“keys to succes”, “another one”, “bless up”) to build his own brand around the artist DJ Khaled, all through Snapchat.

A Snapchat API is apparently in the works

According to a study by the German Institute for Trust and Security on the Internet (DIVSI), 5.8 percent of German Internet users use Snapchat, which would amount to around three million users in Germany. Snapchat therefore also has huge potential in this country, also because, according to the app analysts from Priori Data, Germany is one of the top 10 countries with the highest number of Snapchat users and last year was one of the top 5 countries in terms of user Growth. The platform is already exciting for brands, but so far the company has not yet found a marketing strategy that is consistently successful. In the USA, companies could advertise location-based or use exclusive special forms of advertising. These include Sponsored Lenses, where users can put motifs from advertising partners on their selfies, or Snapchat Discover, a tool for publishers and brands to place their content. Now Snapchat is working on its own adtech platform. This would make the app even more interesting for brands.

5.8 percent of Internet users in Germany use Snapchat. (Source: DIVSI / Statista)

As Digiday reports, Snapchat partners should be able to buy advertising space on the platform via an interface (API). The ads should be targeted and displayed frequently. The first technology companies and agencies are said to already be working with Snapchat, and the first tests could be in the spring. According to an agency boss, Snapchat especially wants to expand the possibility for e-commerce partners and probably enable direct links to the shops in the app. With the development of an API, the platform follows the example of Facebook, whose self-booking tools have also been extended to Instagram and allow marketers to target users based on factors such as age, gender, location and interests. The difference: Snapchat doesn't have nearly as much data about its users as Facebook. Above all, the company is likely to focus on classifying users based on their location, current posts and the accounts they follow. If Snapchat manages to move from exclusive deals with a few partners to its own advertising platform, the company could really take off in 2016 - if not, marketers can still contact DJ Khaled.