snapchat advertising

Snapchat Advertising Guide

For some of you reading, the mass appeal of Snapchat might still be baffling.

Who knew one of the things social media users were missing was the ability to make the social experience even more temporary and fleeting? Well, the founders of Snapchat knew and they’re banking on just how right they were in that realization.

With a growing list of social media channels that advertisers feel pressured to be on, Snapchat may not top the list for you, but it’s well worth considering as an addition to your advertising efforts.

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Why Businesses Should Be Advertising on Snapchat

To start, the most obvious reason to consider advertising on Snapchat is that its user base is sizeable. The app has 173 million daily users. While that’s considerably less than Facebook’s 1.32 billion daily users, it’s more than Twitter’s estimated 157 million. That makes it a bigger player than it often gets credit for being in conversations about social media marketing.

As you could probably guess, most of those users are young. 71% of Snapchat users are under 34. If you’re selling hearing aids, you may be better served in other channels. But if you’re selling anything that teens or millennials are likely to buy, Snapchat is worth paying attention to.

Notably, a lot of those Snapchat users show real engagement. While a lot of advertising on the web is easy for people to scroll past or overlook, brands on Snapchat have shared getting impressive results in engagement. Taco Bell has said that 80% of their Snapchat followers open the snaps they share, and 90% of the people who open them watch them in their entirety.

And viewers are much more likely to be listening as well as watching on Snapchat: 70% of the video ads on the platform play with the sound on, in comparison to the 85% on Facebook that play muted. That said, possibly in part because of the use of sound, many users don’t bother watching ads in their entirety on Snapchat, so that seeming benefit may come with a serious tradeoff.

Advertising on Snapchat isn’t right for every business, but if the people using the app every day are in your target audience, then it’s probably worth it for you.


Your Snapchat Ad Options

If you’re ready to consider paid advertising on Snapchat, your first step is figuring out the types of ads to use.

1. Snap Ad Videos

snap ad videosThe ad option Snapchat provides that comes closest to traditional ad formats you’re already familiar with is Snap Ad videos.

These are videos you create that last up to 10 seconds and play in between other pieces of content users consume while using the Snapchat Stories part of the app. They include the option for users to swipe up to access additional content you provide, whether that’s a longer video, written content, your website or an app install. Snapchat claims the swipe-up rate on these ads is five times the click-through rate of ads on other social media platforms, so there’s a decent chance you can guide users to seek out more information on your brand.

Typical Cost: While the cost for Snap Ads varies for different companies based on the particulars of their ads and campaigns, Snap Ad campaigns start at around $3,000 a month.


2. Sponsored Lenses

snapchat ads sponsored lensesSponsored lenses are a fun and engaging way that brands can tailor their advertising to the platform’s strengths. Brands create lenses relevant to a product or event that people can apply to their own pictures in the app.

Movie studios have used sponsored lenses to let people change their pictures so they look like characters in upcoming movies, Taco Bell once let people change their faces into tacos… it’s easy to understand why people find them fun. You can see a number of successful examples of how brands have used this advertising option here.

The very nature of sponsored lenses is interactive. Because they give people a fun way to center themselves in the ad campaign, they’re great for brand awareness. Snapchat’s data shows that they drive three times as much brand awareness as other types of mobile marketing campaigns and often have a positive influence on purchase intent.

This is a big ad campaign though – it’s not something you can take on lightly. It’s expensive (see below) involves some serious design chops and creativity, and requires working directly with one of Snapchat’s API partners to pull it off.

But, if you can afford Snapchat Lenses and they’re a good fit for your business and products, then they can get impressive results.

Typical Cost: A lot. Although costs vary based on the particulars of your sponsored lenses campaign and the timing of when you launch them, expect them to cost a minimum of $450,000 per day.

3. Geofilters

HostGator Snapchat GeofilterGeofilters are like a much simpler and scaled down version of sponsored lenses. They’re a photo or video filter people can put on top of (or around) their own images in the app. Geofilter campaigns often have a local focus – instead of reaching the whole nation with them, you can focus just on a specific city or area.

These are often useful for short-term events where it makes sense to target a specific place during a specific time frame. They still center the user in the experience (it’s their picture the filter gets added to), but they aren’t as interactive as sponsored lenses. For that reason, they’re easier to design and a much simpler ad product for companies to pursue.

Typical Cost: Much cheaper than the other offerings. While the total cost of a campaign will depend on the length of time you launch it for and the size of the area you target, these can cost as little as $5. For smaller businesses and those with limited budgets, they’re the most realistic option for Snapchat advertising.

4. Snapchat Discover Ads

Snapchat’s Discover feature collects trending stories and event coverage into one tab on the app for users to browse. Brands can have their own snaps and stories included in the Discover section of the app for a fee.

Usually, these ads go to media companies or especially big brands. This is another costly option that’s out of reach for many, but for those who use it, it provides an extensive reach and a lot of brand awareness.

Typical cost: $50,000 a day


Other Ways to Reach Your Audience on Snapchat

If your business has a limited marketing budget (as almost all do), getting to the pricing section on most of these types of Snapchat ads probably had you shaking your head in hopelessness. A lot of the Snapchat advertising options simply aren’t going to be within reach for many of the businesses hoping to reach people on the platform.

Fortunately, advertising isn’t the only option for interacting with users on Snapchat.

Use your own Snapchat profile.

As with other social media channels, paid advertising isn’t the only way to play on Snapchat. You can set up a profile and start sharing snaps and stories with your followers. For a lot of brands, this will be the best way to get bang for your buck (your buck meaning mostly time, in this case) from Snapchat.

You’ll need to promote your Snap profile and start getting followers for this to be worth your time. And you’ll need to be creative and fun – it’s not really a platform for serious how-to videos or in depth educational content. But the right approach can provide you with opportunities to interact directly with some members of your target audience and build up awareness of your brand.

Use Snapchat for influencer marketing.

A lot of people follow influencers on Snapchat, which makes it fruitful ground for practicing influencer marketing. Influencers with a strong following on the platform can help bump awareness of your brand and help you reach a new audience.

Research influencers on the app that are relevant to your brand or product and reach out to them to propose a partnership. If they’ve worked with other brands before, they may already have good ideas about how to proceed with bringing awareness of your brand or products to their audience. If not, be prepared with some potential ideas (and a budget – they’ll expect payment).


Snapchat Targeting

Snapchat offers over 300 “Predefined Audiences” that advertisers can use to better target their ads. While their targeting options aren’t as extensive as those of other social media platforms, you can still narrow the focus of your ads based on categories that include:

  •      Age
  •      Location
  •      Device type
  •      Household income
  •      Parental status
  •      What users typically care about
  •      What they buy
  •      What they watch
  •      Where they go

You can also upload lead or customer lists to create custom audiences for your ads. If you do that, Snapchat also offers Lookalike targeting where they use the data they have on users in your upload to find other Snapchatters like them for you to target.


Snapchat Analytics

One complaint some advertisers have had with Snapchat is that their analytics reporting is subpar in comparison to other ad platforms, but they’ve recently made changes to improve the reporting they provide. Advertisers now have access to data that shows them:

  •      Number of ad impressions
  •      Number of video views (that last over 2 seconds)
  •      How long people watch snaps/videos
  •      Average time spent watching your ads
  •      Your cost per thousand impressions
  •      Your cost per video view
  •      The number of conversions (swipe up or app installs)
  •      The conversion rate (ratio of conversions to impressions)
  •      The cost per conversion
  •      Demographics of the people that viewed and interacted with your ad

They also work with third-party firms to provide information on harder-to-capture measurement categories like brand awareness, brand favorability, and intent, along with tracking which Snap interactions lead to sales outside of the app.


How to Get Started Advertising on Snapchat

If this guide has convinced you that some form of Snapchat advertising is for you, you can get started here.  Start with the (relatively) easy ad options like Snap Ads and geofilters, and decide once you have a feel for the platform if moving up to some of the costlier options may be right for you.

Snapchat may have seemed like a fad at first, but it’s taken its place among the most popular social media channels that are here to stay. If you want to reach young consumers in a way that makes engaging with your brand fun and interactive, it’s a platform you can’t miss.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.