How To Advertise on Snapchat


Kevin Urrutia




May 05, 2024

Online marketing often focuses on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, but Snapchat offers clear benefits to today’s brand. If this is where your target market is, it’s ideal to market directly to them on this platform.

Snapchat’s core users tend to be younger, including Millennials and Gen Z, though you will find older generations using the platform in much lower numbers than other sites. Snapchat’s audience is much like that of Instagram – young, hip, and very engaged. Your brand can use Snapchat to advertise if that’s the target buyer you’re after.

How Can Brands Advertise on Snapchat?

Incorporating Snapchat into your marketing strategy doesn’t have to be a challenge. The platform is easy to use and offers some key features. Let’s take a look at what it takes to perform well on the platform as a brand.

Snapchat Advertising Isn’t the Largest Portion – But That’s a Good Thing

If you thought about Snapchat before but were pushed away by the higher cost of ads, things have improved. The company didn’t incorporate much initial advertising, and when it did open its doors to ads, it targeted larger companies with the ability to spend a considerable amount on ads, leaving most small companies out. Today, it’s more affordable than before.

One of the key benefits of this is that many brands haven’t put their ads on Snapchat – that means there’s less overall competition for many brands looking to get the most ROI for their social media marketing investment.

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It’s important to have some perspective here, though. Snapchat controls 0.5 percent of the digital ad market in the U.S. – that’s not a very hefty share. By comparison, Google has 37.1 percent, and Facebook has 20.6 percent. That opens the door for those who know their target audience is using the social media site but who don’t want to have as much competition to worry about driving costs up.

Snapchat Is Essential for Youth-Based Brands

With such a specific demographic of user, it is hard to ignore Snapchat when you want to target these younger buyers. It’s most popular with those who are 12 to 17 years of age, though it also attracts Millennials. When you consider that these two generations make up about 25 percent of the population in the U.S., spending $200 billion annually, it’s clear this is the place to be. They are also very engaged platform users – unlike other sites where a fraction of followers translate into likes, Snapchat’s active engagement is much higher.

A variety of brands can do well with Snapchat. This includes everything from:

  • Food-related businesses
  • Tech-focused companies
  • Culture influences
  • Music
  • Gaming
  • Fashion

What’s more, many of those who are Snapchat influencers are doing an exceptional job in these categories. Not every one of them focuses all of their energy on this platform, but they do well here.

If your company has a youth customer base, you are going to want to put a portion of your digital marketing dollars into Snapchat.

Augmented Reality Makes the Difference for Snapchat

For some brands, it’s hard to tell Snapchat from other social media sites, especially Instagram. That can make the rationalization of choosing to use this platform more difficult. However, Snapchat has a unique user base – augmented reality (AR) users. Over the last few years, Snapchat has pushed AR into its platform and, at the time of this writing, has over 250 million snaps shared every single day using the technology. The company says that as much as 70 percent of the site’s users are using AR every month.

What does this mean for brands using Snapchat? It means those who are using the platform are likely to have their sound on and are using their camera. They are already engaging in the core technology necessary for brands to place interactive and engaging ads on the site.

One of the big concerns for some platforms is whether or not customers are able to engage fully because of sound. For example, on Facebook, the sound is automatically set to off, meaning the customer has to click the button to hear the video playing. It’s reported that Facebook users watch videos in a muted format at least 85 percent of the time. That’s not the case with Snapchat. Rather, as much as 60 percent of their video ads are played with the sound on.

Using shoppable AR is yet another strategy for brands to consider. It may provide some of the best engagement opportunities for brands looking to dominate in the e-commerce industry, especially with this group.

Engaging with the Snapchat User

Every brand needs to know who their target audience is in order to create ads and interactions that will appeal to that demographic. The same applies on Snapchat. To attract your ideal customer, you have to know who they are specifically.

One of the ways to engage these users is to turn to a Snapchat influencer. For most brands, you may be making a product for a younger generation, but you may not be in that generation any longer. Influencers can help to bridge the gap. They can provide you with access to your most likely buyers, making it a bit easier for you to reach the ideal customer.

When it comes to ad spend, Snapchat is particularly good at providing a very targeted way of investing. You have ample demographic data to help you navigate the options to make wise investment decisions. This means you are able to really focus in on those who you want to interact with and spend your marketing dollar wisely.

There are a few more things to know about advertising on the platform. Users on the platform don’t respond well to over-the-top, expensive ads. Those short, to-the-point, and fun ads are going to get far more attention. You also want to ensure ads fit within your audience’s timeline – you want to blend into the type of content they are reading. Humor does well on the site, especially if you have a funny and unique video that’s shared dozens of times.

Advertising Mechanism on Snapchat

There are numerous ways to advertise on the platform (consider a few of them). Each of these offers unique opportunities for brands.

Top Snap Only

This type of ad is positioned at the top of the feed. It’s a single ad that can be run as video, images, GIFs, or static ads. You can add a URL in your content, but you can’t make this ad clickable. If you have an event or sale happening, this is a good tool to use. Eye-catching, short-form videos do the best here.

Long Form Video Content

You can create videos up to 10 minutes long for the site. Do you need that length? It really depends on the type of audience you are bringing and how powerful your message is. If you have a trailer for a movie or a motivational video that tells a story, these may do well on the site. Add a call to action at the end of these. Quality matters in this type of ad, so a higher spend is necessary to really get the most out of them.

Web View

Are you just starting on the platform? The Web View ads can work well to those. They are much like a Top Snap Only ad, but they allow the user to swipe up on the ad to go to the URL in them. For many brands, that URL access is very important.

Deep Link Ads

These ads allow the user to swipe up on the ad to get a link to a specific web-based content location. This may take them, for example, to a Google Play store to download an app.

App Install

Another type of Deep Link ad is the App Install. It circumvents the additional URL and content links you have. When they click on this app, the user goes to the specific page at the download store.

Lenses are a fun way to turn a basic video into something more entertaining and interesting – these users love selfies. By offering a Sponsored Lens, you can encourage brand-building by getting users to use the ad.

Geofilters are a type of graphic overlay users can apply to their snaps. The site’s users love them, and that means you can help ensure they are using your brand influenced geofilter.

On-Demand Geofilters

A final option is to use On-Demand geofilters that are designed to only be used in a local area for a short amount of time.

The Ads Manager

The Snapchat Ads Manager is a free tool you can use to set up your ads. It’s an easy way to create a new campaign on the site. You can select the specific audience you desire based on geography or demographics. You can then follow how well your ads do on the platform.

Overall, Snapchat users react to brands who put the time into developing ads that truly appeal to their interests and needs. If you do that well, this can be a rich source of customers and leads for many types of businesses.

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