The Snapchat Advertising Guide: How Your Ecommerce Brand Can Use Snapchat Ads


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There are multiple social platforms that have changed the world of marketing. Among these, Snapchat may have the strongest potential. A few years ago, Snapchat (originally branded as Picaboo) became the hottest app among millennials, influencers and well-known brand names.

Snapchat was simply a way to keep your friends entertained with a questionable selfie and a fun filter. Simple and easy, and especially unique in its short-lived content, Snapchat is loved by many. It’s no surprise they’ve introduced solutions for advertisers.

What are Snapchat Ads?

Snapchat Ads are full-screen ads on the Snapchat app interface. Snapchat Ads use a mobile-friendly video format to make the user experience entertaining, engaging, and fun. They always play with sound on and are 100% viewable in-frame for whatever device or tablet you use.

4 reasons why ecommerce shops should care about Snapchat Ads

It’s been four years since this app became a media craze, and much has changed. Over 190 million people are using Snapchat every day, making it bigger than Twitter which averages 126 million users per day.

The majority of these users are female, ranging from ages 13-34; However, the demographic is growing into additional audiences. Why? Because Snapchat offers more today than it ever did in terms of entertainment, news, and new features, including being able to post multiple snaps in one sequence, adding geofilters, voice filters, and more.

1. 190 million active users per day

This kind of activity among this many people shows the loyalty Snapchat users have to the app. This loyalty extends into their desire to connect, discover, and engage with videos by brands they end up loving.

2. Snapchat users use the app over 20 times per day

Not only are users using the app 20 times a day, but they’re spending 30 minutes each day sending photos and using the platform more than ever before.

3. Snapchat reaches 90% of 13-24-year-olds

90% of the youngest social media generation, including Gen Z, is using Snapchat loyally. This is powerful for marketers who are trying to bring their brand to life and promote their products in a more exclusive, mobile-driven manner.

4. Snapchat is focused on the youth

It is no secret that Centennials are the core audience of Snapchat — 90% of them are averaging 30 minutes of time on the app and opening it as regularly as 20 times a day to stay connected with their friends.

From sharing photos and videos with a private group of friends to playing with fun filters and text captions, Snapchat is designed to encourage creativity and connection in real-time. Engaging with this particular audience is crucial for marketers if they want to capture the eyes of the youth and show off their brand in an incredibly powerful way.

 5 types of Snapchat Ads (+specs)

Snapchat, for obvious reasons, has an audience of people that are looking to be entertained. Because you want these people to convert within a short window of time, the stronger the creative, the better.

To ensure your creative resonates with a younger audience, the three main formats that need to be utilised are Story Ads, Snap Ads, and Collection Ads. Once you determine your goals for the ad campaign simply choose one of the formats and you’re set.

Here are a few features to keep in mind.

1. App installs

Snapchat is integrated into the App Store, so users can swipe up to install an app on iOS or Android.

2. Long-form video

Snapchat has different variations of ad footage. From Story Ads to the highly-engaging Collection Ad, users can see a video and more in one glance.

The long-form feature of Snapchat allows videos to be a minimum of 15 seconds long and a maximum of several minutes. These videos typically display a call to action of “Watch” to give the user the opportunity to watch a video larger than 1 GB.

3. Web view

Not only do Snapchat’s mobile-friendly views make it easy to stay engaged, but it’s Swipe Up feature is a game-changer. Sending the user to a mobile-only optimised landing page gives marketers a huge advantage by selling to their audience at the click of a button.

4. Sponsored Lenses

Sponsored Lenses have created an even more powerful way of connecting with their custom audience. As a marketer, they allow the use of AR to reach customers by closing the gap between you and your customers. This new ad format not only offers impressions but “play time” using their ad.

5. Sponsored Geofilters

Sponsored Geofilters are artistic overlays that appear when you take a snap and swipe to add your location. This can help bring attention to the foot traffic already near your business if you have a physical storefront or pop-up.

It can also spread brand awareness both inside and outside your selected geographic area, as users can use a Geofilter to send to anyone regardless fo the recipient’s location.

How much do Snapchat Ads cost?

A Snapchat Ad’s price really differs ad-to-ad. Different ad types and formats are in different tiers of pricing. The cost can also vary by the day of the week, holidays, trends, and more. If you work with an agency, they may charge fees for additional services such as designing the creative used in the ads in addition to managing the account.

It is believed that for the top tier for Snapchat Sponsored Lenses, where anyone in the country can see and choose your lens, you can expect to pay more than $400,000 per day from Sunday through Thursday. You can add a few hundred thousand dollars on top of that for weekends, and maybe even more money to capitalise on things like sporting events that have major nationwide attention.

On the flip side, local demand Geofilters that are only visible in the immediate area around you (e.g., a store or office) can cost as little as $10.

How to create Snapchat Ads

Snapchat Ads are an exciting and largely untapped advertising channel for many DTC marketers. The truth is, brands of all sizes can create ads with the platform’s self-serve Ad Manager tool. You just have to know-how.

1. Login to Snapchat Ads Manager

The first thing you’ll do is log in to Snapchat Ads Manager or create an account. Add your payment details to get started from there.

2. Create your campaign

Next, click on the “Dashboard View” tab and click new campaign. Once you choose a campaign objective, you have a few choices. You can:

  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Drive installs of your app
  • Drive video views

You can then decide when you’d like to schedule the campaign. It’s important to keep in mind that you can have multiple ad sets in a campaign, which allows you to test different creatives and audiences to see what works best to meet your goal.

3. Choose your audience

The next and most important step is to choose the correct audience for your campaign. Under geography, enter the ad set name and choose a location you want to target.

Then in the demographics section, Snapchat allows you to define the audience you want to reach by entering the age ranges and gender(s) of the audience. You can even be as precise as finding users that speak a specific language.

If you’re running your ad in the US, you can use demographic data from the “DLX Advanced Demographics” tab and target options such as household income, mothers, married people, and more.

4. Choose your budget

Now it’s time to choose your ad budget and decide upon goals. Specify when you want the ads to run, choose the budget (a minimum of $100 a day), and select a goal to optimise for impressions or swipe ups.

5. Create your ad

Finally, it’s time to choose your ad. This comes in two processes: choosing your ad type and creating the ad itself.

All of these ads will begin with what Snapchat calls a “top snap” which is the ad that’s displayed for viewers to see or take action on. The types of ads range from, Top Snap Only, Web View, App Install, or the Long Form Video ads.

All are different and depend on the marketer’s goal. To upload your ad, click the upload button or drag the video to the Upload Top Snap on the right-hand side.

6. Launch your ad!

The only thing left to do is click launch campaign to submit your ad set for review.

4 Snapchat Ad metrics to measure

Once a campaign is underway or complete, you must analyse your data. It doesn’t matter how amazing your creative is If you can’t understand the metrics, then you won’t be able to continue testing in an effective way.

Once your ad is approved, you can view the following in the Snapchat Ad Manager, which shows you total metrics for all of your campaigns in the top section of the page.

1. Spend

The Spend section is going to tell you the total amount spent depending on what was delivered.

2. Swipe Ups

Swipe Ups are the number of swipe ups that occur on the top Snapchat Ad.

3. eCPM

eCPM is the cost per thousand of impressions that your ad is experiencing.

4. Impressions

Impressions, as you probably have guessed, is the number of times your ad was served to your audience.

3 tips for successful Snapchat Ads

Snapchat is an incredibly powerful advertising platform when you keep a few things in mind. Of course, besides knowing your audience and the exclusivity of the users, you should understand the types of brands that will perform well on the platform and which brands will not.

1. Know your audience before you start

Before you rip the bandaid off, decide whether or not the core age group of Snapchat users are going to engage with your ads. Sometimes even the best creatives aren’t going to sell a product if the product is not catered to the younger crowd.

2. Remember that it’s a fun app

Don’t forget how fun of an app Snapchat is. Knowing this will ensure that when you’re creating your ads, having fun is the priority. People go on Snapchat to send the questionable selfie, stay connected with friends, and play around will filters so let your ads reflect that.

3. Check your metrics!

Last but not least, to optimise your Snapchat ad campaigns, always check your metrics to make sure you’re spending money on conversions and not just impressions. Accurately analising your data is crucial in strategizing the best for your campaign success.

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Written By:

Megan is the Marketing Specialist at adQuadrant, where she creates social media content and assists in inbound marketing initiatives from content development and optimization, to advertising and event planning. She oversees all marketing efforts in pursuit of growing brand awareness.

Read all posts written by Megan Symes