If you look at Snapchat’s daily active users – up 2% from 186 million users in 2018 to 190 million in 2019, you will see that the video platform is making a comeback and is projected to show strong growth well into 2020.
Over the year’s we’ve seen Snapchat make major updates to its self-service Snapchat Ads Manager platform in addition to rolling out:
- More interactive video ad inventory
- Campaign and audience management
- Attribution tracking with the Snap Pixel
If you’re looking to diversify your social media mix beyond Facebook, then Snapchat presents a growing opportunity for building attention and acquisition with younger, video-savvy audiences.
In this guide, you’ll learn about Snapchat’s unique advantages as a social advertising platform, how to get started with building your Snap ads campaigns, and a breakdown of the different Snapchat ad types, targeting, creative, and more.
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Today, Snapchat boasts over 210 million users, 38% of which cannot be found on Instagram or Facebook, according to Snapchat.
If you still think Snapchat’s biggest users are tweens and teens, it’s time for a refresh.
Over 68% of Snapchat users are between ages 18 and 29, meaning the platform’s audience has a wide targeting demographic for many of today’s brands.
Snapchat’s ad revenues are also posting strong growth, with worldwide ad revenue projected to grow by 33% in 2020 for a total ad revenue of over $2 billion.
When Snapchat first started testing ads in 2016, there were only two formats for select brands to choose from.
Today, brands of all budgets can select from many different formats that include interactive elements such as swipeable CTAs and VR content.
Snapchat ad campaigns can be used to drive traffic to a specific webpage, your store, or even increase the downloads of your application.
Here’s a look at the different ad types your business can run with some insights for each from our Snapchat ad experts.
Snap Ads are Snapchat’s flagship ad format that can play in any 3-minute or longer vertical video.
Businesses can add interactive elements to their Snap ads, such as swiping to link out or to jump to another iteration of the story.
These Snap Ads can include video, animations, Gifs, Stills, and Cinemagraphs.
Dynamic Product Ads
Dynamic Product Ads have become a powerful new way to re-engage users on the video platform by enabling brands to target specific user behaviors.
When creating Snapchat DPA campaigns, make sure to test different creative sets that are relevant to the customer’s journey.
“With Snapchat’s introduction of Dynamic Product ads, advertisers now have the ability to dynamically retarget users based on their on-site behavior which increases relevance and drives up conversion rates. Snapchat is now a channel that can drive full-funnel growth from Brand Awareness down to conversions and revenue.”
– Michael Skehill, Senior Manager at Tinuiti
Commercials are non-skippable six-second video Snap Ads that are a great way to generate affordable video views with your audience.
Like YouTube bumper ads, you’ll want to test different variations of video and align your content with targeting to make the video as relevant as possible for better swipe rates.
“Snapchat’s version of premium placements. Leveraging this non-skippable 6 seconds of ad space is highly recommended especially within the context of a brand play.”
– Makeda Diggs, Senior Specialist at Tinuiti
Snap Augmented Reality (AR) Ads
Many users on Snapchat play with augmented reality (AR) features, giving brands the chance to create one of the most interactive ad experiences on any
With AR ads brands have the chance to allow users to discover and play with different photos and videos that can be great for getting users to explore branded content.
“Snapchat’s Artificial Reality capabilities are unrivaled by any other major social media app as of now. This is a unique way for users to interact with your brand and actually share those interactions with friends,” says Diggs.
Snap Story Ads
Snapchat is known for its strong upper-funnel capabilities. However, they have taken intentional and effective steps towards becoming a strong contender for top Direct Response performance.
“The Story ad unit provides the opportunity for the user to choose to watch your ad; in order to view it, users have to tap through themselves, it does not pop up automatically,” explains Diggs. “This means we are reaching a highly-qualified segment of our audience, driving CPAs at a fraction of the cost.”
Snapchat’s targeting has become more robust since 2019; advertisers now have a myriad of targeting layers they can combine to dial in on specific customers — from Lookalikes to keywords and even geotargeting.
Snapchat’s targeting layers include:
- Interests and behaviors, on and off Snapchat
- Demographics: age, gender, income, parental status, and more
- Location: country, addresses, radiuses, location categories
- Custom audiences: target a specific customer list or match type
- Lookalikes: create audiences based on your best-performing audiences
“With increasing opportunities to reach larger portions of your potential customer base, it’s essential you keep your targeting approach diverse using Lookalikes and Keywords as well as the available third-party targeting options,” says Skehill.
“Snapchat does still have third-party data available allowing you to hone in on segments that drive higher returns, such as high household income.”
Additionally, 43% and 32% of 18+ Snapchaters cannot be found on Instagram or Facebook, respectively, so it is important to leverage the platform to reach users you would otherwise not make contact with.
“We can target based on where users are in real-time, down to very specific locations such as users who are near beaches, near donut shops, in airports, etc. There are also hundreds of very detailed lifestyle and demographic-based audience segments that are unique to the platform.”
– Makeda Diggs, Senior Specialist at Tinuiti
Snapchat doesn’t want to interrupt its users with boring content or worse, gate user content with ads. They’re about reducing ad friction. It’s why they don’t use pre-roll, and also why they make their ads skippable.
This takes us to the first big reason why Snapchat Ads are different.
1. Snapchat Advertisers Can Take Advantage of Sound
While 85% of Facebook videos are watched on mute, 60% of Snap Ads are watched with audio on.
While many advertisers on Facebook have adapted and added captions, Snap sound is considered an integral component of the experience. Here’s why, Snapchat says:
“Creating and watching Snaps with sound is a more engaging and expressive experience than if the Snaps were muted. Just imagine watching a horror movie without a soundtrack—it might look like a comedy. That’s why we play Snap Ads with sound unless a user has muted their device.”
While Facebook users react negatively to auto-play videos with loud music, Snapchat users seem to expect and even welcome sound on Snapchat.
When you use sound on Snapchat Ads, make sure it’s integral to the ad–not just an ad on to get people’s attention.
2. Snapchat Ads are Skippable
Snapchat’s ad success relies heavily on not just the placement of the ads, but also the entertainment factor.
Snapchat models their advertising campaigns more around lighthearted entertaining television ads – think Superbowl ads. They’re avoiding pre-roll and in-feed horizontal ads.
While Facebook and Instagram video watchers can scroll right on down the feed if they don’t like what they see, Snapchat users are subjected to ads between stories. Therefore, if your ad is not immediately captivating to the user, you’ll know – they’ll likely skip it.
Snapchat says the skippability of their ads is positive because it provides a better user experience and protects your brand from being “associated with a forced interaction.”
3. Snapchat Ads are Actionable
Snapchat claims 60% of users employ Creative Tools such as geofilters every day, which is great news for brands that choose to invest in those types of ads.
Sponsored Geofilters and Lenses have their own brand awareness appeal, but right now, full-screen Snap Ad Videos have the most potential for driving online conversions.
These types of ads can be very tailored to the context of the content they’re in–unlike traditional ads, which are frequently a break from the content itself. In addition, the ad “attachments” could be huge drivers of real-time conversions.
So, how much do Snapchat ads cost?
Once known for its extremely high ad rates, Snapchat has since lowered its ad prices to make advertising with them more affordable.
They now offer a self-service Ad Manager Tool and offer the lowest prices for ad placement among major social media platforms, coming in at an average of $2.95 per thousand impressions.
This is in contrast to Facebook, which costs $5.12 per thousand impressions on average, and Instagram, which costs $4.20 on average per thousand impressions. If Snapchat’s demographics line up with your own audience, it can be an extremely cost affordable way to advertise.
To get started with advertising on Snapchat, you’ll need to first create a Snapchat account and then create an ad account.
You can get started by visiting Snapchat’s Advertiser page here.
Once you’ve created your accounts, you’ll need to log into Snapchats Ad Manager to begin creating your first Snapchat advertising campaigns.
Once you are within Snapchat’s Ad Manager, you can then use the platform for the following:
- Monitor Campaign Performance
- Track conversions across devices, audiences, and make bidding adjustments
- Track downloads and mobile interactions using Snapchat’s mobile measurement partners
Snapchat Pixel Tracking
Very similar to the Facebook Pixel for advertisers, the Snapchat Pixel allows marketers to generate a piece of code that they can place on their website to track the web actions of audiences that convert on Snap Ads.
If you want to see how Snapchat advertising campaigns are resulting in actions on your website, such as new signups or product sales, then you should install the Snapchat Pixel.
You can install the Snapchat Pixel in three easy steps:
- Generate the code
- Install the Pixel and enable tracking
- Verify that the code is working
For a full step-by-step process and video, check out Snapchat’s Pixel guide here.
After a rocky couple of years, Snapchat has emerged as a serious contender as a social platform when it comes to branding and acquisition for younger demographics.
As we continue to see slower growth from platforms like Facebook, it will become more important for social media advertisers to diversify their social media mix.
“While Facebook has historically been the king of direct response, each social channel has a unique offering that aligns with real business goals. Snapchat advertising should be considered when pulling together a holistic paid social strategy.”
– Katy Lucey, Director of Paid Social at Tinuiti
Not only has the social network grown in terms of active users, but it has also matured as an advertising platform with a sophisticated set of tools for launching interactive Snapchat ad campaigns that can support both your upper and lower funnel paid social initiatives.