In March 2017, Snap Inc., the parent company of the popular social media app Snapchat, went public. To meet revenue expectations, they opted into a self-service ads model, as opposed to direct sales.
It's no question Snapchat is a popular platform -- in the U.S. alone, 78% of 18-24 year olds use the app. But there's less information out there regarding the effectiveness of Snap Ads.
Before I started building campaigns in Snap Ads, I had this notion that I needed to design custom creative ads through specialized agencies to get started. To my pleasant surprise, that isn't the case -- I had a ton of fun creating my own ads in Snapchat, and it was easy to do.
Overall here are the campaign stats:
In this case, the "Swipe Ups" measure click-through rate. Rather than using a click-through link, Snap's product urges users to "Swipe Up" from the bottom to view the destination URL. In my opinion, this creates higher intent and less risk of mistaken clicks than Facebook or Twitter mobile ads.
To learn how to use Snapchat Ads for your own business, take a look at how I created an effective advertising campaign for 42 Agency.
The Mechanics Behind Snap Ads
When I first started exploring Snap Ads, I was a little skeptical whether or not it could work for 42 Agency. Snap is not exactly a B2B platform, and, to my knowledge, didn't have deep targeting options for companies working on Demand Generation or Growth projects.
For my purposes, I decided to run a simple web traffic objective campaign (Snap also supports app installs, engagement, and other objectives). I wanted to target business-specific audiences, so I focused my efforts on ages 27 and up.
I was impressed with the targeting options available on Snap Ads. Snap has similar categories to Facebook, available from Experian & Datalogix (income, occupation and such), albeit not as exhaustive as Facebook. However, these targeting options are available for the U.S. only. Along with Advanced Demographics, Snapchat's ad targeting includes options for TV viewing, purchase behavior, lifestyles, and more.
Additionally, Snapchat provides some excellent templates for creating ads. There are a dozen templates available to create something that works for you, with a different range of animations and customization options. Honestly, it's a lot of fun to play with the different creative studio and design options. Each template works well for mobile, vertical video -- Snapchat's default, since most users of the product use the app on their phones.
The daily minimum budget is $50, which means the minimum campaign budget is $350. However, you can always turn campaigns off manually if you want to spend less than that.
My Observations of Snap Ads
Going in, I didn’t expect Snapchat's Ad product to be as developed as it is. I think a lot of people will compare it to Facebook (Instagram Stories Placement), but there’s a significant difference between the two products. Although Facebook's Ad & Targeting are more robust, Snapchat’s creative studio puts an emphasis on design. Facebook's Business Manager can feel initially overwhelming, and Snap offers a quick option to get your campaign up and running. Additionally, you're able to animate individual elements on Snap Ads.
One other thing to note -- the majority of folks will treat Facebook’s Newsfeed as the primary placement and design their creative around that, meaning the Instagram (stories and feed) creative is often a cropped version. With Snapchats mobile-only product, your creative is designed for the specific medium, which means it's a richer experience and more consistent with the Snapchat design aesthetic. One of my biggest gripes with Instagram ads is that a lot of times they are not designed well, and the experience is jarring on the curated Instagram feed.
The Snap pixel can be used to track conversions, but surprisingly, not re-market to the audience. I didn’t have enough subscribers to test their custom audience match, which is also subject to how many of your target audience is on Snapchat in the first place. Snapchat doesn’t offer a native Lead Gen solution like Facebook, but they do support that objective. I believe it auto-fills the user's information if there is a form on the page after they swipe up.
Since there aren't many advertisers on Snapchat, the competition is lower, which means you get more mileage for your budget. I strongly believe it can work as a direct response channel, even for B2B. I am aware as I write this, I might be sending the message to start promoting white papers/ebooks on Snapchat. I hope that’s not what you take away from it. Instead, focus on generating awareness first.
Originally published Oct 3, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated September 05 2019