If your target audience is anywhere below thirty, chances are you’re thinking about Snapchat. And for good reason, 81% of Snapchat’s 166 million daily active users are between 13 and 28. For years, having business success on the platform meant growing your brand organically (or paying up to $750,000/day to make a sponsored appearance). However, recent updates to the Snapchat Ads platform mean more brands have access to their advertising opportunities.

Here’s a cheat sheet of the most important things you need to know about using Snapchat Ads, including available management options, ad products, pricing, targeting, and strategic considerations.

Snapchat Advertising Options

There are three recommended approaches for launching your ads on the platform:

  1. Use their Ad Manager + Mobile Dashboard
    Self-service option to launch, monitor and update Snapchat Ad Campaigns based on your organization’s objectives.
  2. Create On-Demand Geofilters
    A more soft-sell approach to creating a presence for your event, campaign, or brick-and-mortar location on the platform.
  3. Work with Snapchat Partners
    Snapchat connects you with service providers to help you manage your campaigns.

Snapchat Ad Products

Of these, Snapchat provides a number of ad formats (or “ad products”) with varying barriers to entry and objectives. Unfortunately for those who like to launch campaigns on the fly, you need to actually contact Snapchat to get started using their dashboard and products—unlike most self-service platforms. The process can sometimes take over a week. The good news? It’s not necessary to have a full-blown organic presence on the platform to make a solid impact in most cases. This is generally recommended for campaigns on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Not maintaining an active organic presence can save you time and money establishing yourself and your followers on the Snapchat platform.

  1. Snapchat Ads
    $3,000/month minimum ad spend
    Potential Barriers:
    few to none
    Their primary ad product begins with a 10 second video, formatted for viewing in Snapchat’s vertical, full-bleed layout. Great as a standalone, but amplified with other add-ons like:

    • Snapchat Ad Articles: After your video, give users the opportunity to further engage with more visual content, including text, in-line videos, animated GIFs, and images or galleries.
    • Snapchat Ad App Installs: Offers an in-app capability to download your product or service’s app.
    • Snapchat Ad Long Form Videos: Movie trailers, behind the scene footage and more. Give them a 10 second teaser and the option to explore further without leaving the app.
    • Snapchat Ad Web View: Snapchat preloads your desired web page

  2. Sponsored Geofilters
    Cost: $5 – $1000+ per day
    Potential Barriers: few to none
    Whether in a specific location or with a national reach for a product launch or other event (say- the Super Bowl or a new Starbucks latte), Geofilters are a great way to expose users to your brand and encourage them to share your visuals with their snap friends. Learn about some of the location and branding restrictions here.

  3. Sponsored Lenses
    Cost: $450,000 per day (Sun – Thurs); $500,000 per day (Fri – Sat, $700,000+ per day for holidays or special events (like the Super Bowl)
    Potential barriers: the high cost of production, lead time
    These opportunities allow your brand to share an interactive, branded filter with Snapchat users. Snapchat reports users interact with these filters for an average of 20 seconds –much longer than most ad formats. However, with a lead time of over 8 weeks, these are much less real-time than most social media advertising products.

Targeting Capabilities

Each of Snapchat’s ad products gives you the opportunity to target by a few categories. While it isn’t yet as robust as paid social media opportunities with platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you still have access to demographic, geographic, and other interest-based targeting. The four targeting categories they offer are:

  1. Lifestyle Categories: Snapchat features about 60 interest categories like parenting, political news, music festivals, and more based on what their users watch on the Snapchat platform.
  2. Demographics: They offer basic age and gender targeting, in addition to more advanced options like Moms, Spanish speakers, household income, and whether or not users are college graduates.
  3. Location: With Snapchat advertising, you can target an audience by country, state, region, or designated market area.
  4. Device Attributes: If you have a solid understanding of our audience and their preference for a particular device or operating system, you can target by device, operating system, carrier, and cellular connectivity (like Wi-Fi or 3G).

Strategic Considerations for Snapchat Ads

The challenge will always be finding a balance between targeting your ideal consumer and providing them with something valuable in return. The likely reason usership from this demographic is so high on Snapchat is because they had been unbothered by advertisers. Since the launch of the self-service platform, we’ve already seen some backlash. There’s no use spending your marketing dollars if users are going to be turned off by your messaging. It’s up to us to ensure we’re making the right kind of impact for your organization.

The first step you take before considering any paid media or marketing activity is assessing how it might help you reach your goals, and how you’ll measure the success of those activities (see our recent post about creating digital marketing S.M.A.R.T. goals).  Once you’ve decided Snapchat Ads are the right fit, remember to be creative, have a little fun, and add value to this influential audience.