How Do You Advertise on Snapchat?

Do you remember those funny clips Audi shared on Snapchat as part of the Super Bowl promotion many years ago? Those bite-sized, satirical, and quirky "news" updates? That ad campaign resulted in over 100,000 views and 37 million impressions.


What’s more impressive is that Snapchat was only three years old with a mere 71 million users back then. That’s barely 4% of Instagram’s current active user population.


It’s not just Audi that has seen Snapchat’s advertising power in action. Other giant brands have, too, including General Electric, GrubHub, and Rebecca Minkoff. They have all advertised on Snapchat many times.


Now, Snapchat has 800 million active users worldwide, generating over 4.75 billion Snaps daily. Imagine tapping into this vast and diverse market. Advertising on Snapchat could work wonders for your brand, no matter its size.


In this guide, we'll dive into Snapchat advertising. I'll break down how it works, the benefits it offers, and what it costs. Plus, I'll guide you through the steps of setting up your Snapchat ads account and launching your very first ad.


Is advertising on Snapchat beneficial for your business?


You're probably already running ads on big platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Amazon and seeing some great results. So, what’s the point of advertising on Snapchat? Hear me out.


  1. Snapchat is popular among younger age groups, reaching 75% of Millennials and Gen Z in the U.S. and globally.
  2. Snapchat users are highly engaged with the app, opening it over 30 times a day on average.
  3. More than 300 million Snapchat users engage with AR features daily, presenting a unique opportunity for brands to offer interactive and immersive experiences.
  4. The available ad formats and targeting capabilities are designed to drive specific actions, such as website visits, app installations, and product sales.
  5. Snapchat ads show a high recall rate, with Gen Z users demonstrating a 59% recall after engaging with an advertisement for two seconds or less.


In other words, not using Snapchat for ads is a missed opportunity in your marketing strategy.


What are the signs that you need to advertise on Snapchat?


If you're thinking about advertising on Snapchat just because an influencer mentioned it or you believe being on multiple platforms is good for your brand, hold up.


That's not how you should decide to use Snapchat ads in your marketing strategy. Instead, you should look for specific reasons that make Snapchat a good fit. Here are some to consider:


  • Your target audience includes teenagers and young adults. Snapchat reaches 75% of Millennials and Gen Z.
  • You're seeking higher engagement. Snapchat has features like AR filters and Stories, designed to drive user engagement.
  • Your campaigns need a creative refresh. Snapchat offers unique ad formats not found on other platforms, such as interactive AR lenses, which can inject new creativity into your assets.
  • You want to partner with influencers. Snapchat is a great platform for influencer collaborations, especially with younger, trend-savvy content creators.
  • You're looking for a platform with high daily engagement. With users opening Snapchat frequently throughout the day, your ads have a good chance of being seen multiple times by the same user, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
  • Your marketing strategy involves exclusive offers. Snapchat is ideal for flash sales, exclusive previews, or special promotions, thanks to its ephemeral content nature, which can create a sense of urgency.
  • You need more effective local advertising. Snapchat’s GeoFilters and location-based targeting options are perfect for driving foot traffic to local events or stores.


If these signs match up with what you need right now, it might be a good idea to think about adding Snapchat to your ad strategy.


How to Advertise on Snapchat


Here's a step-by-step guide to setting up your Snapchat business and ad accounts and launching your first ad.


Step 1: Create a business account and log into your ads account.


Visit and click "Create an Ad" to set up your account. Fill out the form and click "Sign up and Accept." If you already have a Snapchat account, you simply need to log in.


You will then be prompted to create a business account, which is necessary to become eligible to run ads. Once your business account is created, you can start creating ads.


Step 2: Select Your Ad Type


Snapchat offers a variety of ad formats to cater to different marketing goals. Here are the main types:


  • Snap Ads: These are full-screen vertical video ads that can run for up to 3 minutes, though shorter videos (around 5-10 seconds) tend to perform better. These ads can include attachments for app installs, landing pages, and long-form videos.
  • Story Ads: These appear in the Discover feed and allow users to tap through to view a series of ads. This format is a good way to provide a more in-depth look at your product or service.
  • Collection Ads: This format allows businesses to showcase a series of products that users can tap to get more details. It's especially useful for e-commerce businesses looking to drive sales.
  • AR Lenses: Snapchat is known for its augmented reality capabilities. Brands can create their own AR Lenses to engage users with interactive experiences that can be shared with friends.
  • Filters: Similar to AR Lenses but less interactive, Filters are artistic overlays that appear when users take Snaps in specific locations or during certain events. These are great for promoting events or local businesses.
  • Commercials: These are non-skippable Snap Ads that appear in Snapchat's curated content, such as Shows. They can last up to 6 seconds.
  • Dynamic Ads: Tailored for e-commerce, these ads are automatically created based on your product catalog and targeted to relevant users with up-to-date pricing and availability.


Note: Some of these ad formats require a separate setup method, which may not be available on the Ads Manager. You may need to contact customer support to connect you to the correct personnel.


How do you decide what ads to run on Snapchat?


Whenever I'm setting up a Snapchat ad and get to the part where I need to pick an ad format, I always ask myself these questions:


What do I want to achieve?

Different ad formats on Snapchat support different objectives. For instance, if my goal is to promote brand awareness, the ideal ad formats are Snap Ads, Story Ads, or Filters because they’re designed to reach a broad audience. If I'm aiming for conversions, Collection Ads and Dynamic Ads are my best bets. For engagement, I prefer AR Lenses and Filters.


Who am I targeting?

If your audience consists mainly of Millennials and Gen Z, remember that they prefer entertaining, interactive, and visually appealing content. It’s also important to note that Snapchat is mobile-first, which means your ads must be optimized for mobile viewing.


How much am I willing to spend?

Different ad formats may have different costs. Decide on your budget and choose an ad format that offers the best ROI. Here’s a breakdown of the cost of running ads on Snapchat:


  • Snap Ads: These are typically priced on a cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) basis. The average CPM can range from $2.95 to $8.50, but prices can vary based on how broad or narrow your targeting is.
  • Sponsored Lenses: These are more interactive and can be costlier. Prices can range significantly, from $450,000 per day for widespread national reach (covering major events or holidays) to $20 per day for smaller, localized campaigns.
  • GeoFilters: Custom GeoFilters, which are graphic overlays available in specific locations, can start as low as $5 for a small area over a short period but can go much higher depending on the size of the area and duration of the campaign.
  • Story Ads: These appear within Snapchat's Discover section, and pricing can vary based on the audience size and the length of the campaign.
  • Minimum Spend: Snapchat typically has a minimum daily spend of $20, making it accessible for smaller businesses wanting to test the platform.


Can I create content for my ads?

Some ad formats, like AR Lenses and Filters, require content that necessitates more advanced graphic design and software knowledge. If you’re not willing to hire a freelancer to produce the content, stick with the standard ad formats.


How can I optimize my ads?

Start with a test campaign using multiple ad formats to see which performs best with your target audience. Use Snapchat’s analytics tools to track performance and optimize your ads based on engagement and conversion metrics.


When should I launch my ads?

Consider if there are particular times of the year, week, or day when your audience is most active on Snapchat. Tailoring your ads to these times can increase their effectiveness.


Step 3: Select a goal for your ad.


You’ll be prompted to choose from several advertising goals, including website visits, promoting local places, calls and texts, app installs, and app visits. This is one of the most important steps in creating your ad because it determines how Snapchat will present your ad to your target audience.


Step 4: Design your ad.


Now that all your campaign details are set up, it’s time to design your ad. In this step, you’ll need to provide all the elements required for your ad, such as the profile, headline, and media. Here are the recommended specs for the media:


  • Aspect Ratio: 9:16
  • Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels for both videos and images
  • File Format: Videos - MP4 and MOV file formats / Static images - JPEG and PNG
  • File Size: Around 32 MB for videos
  • Video Length: Keep it between 5 to 6 seconds for optimal engagement.
  • Audio: Include high-quality audio. It must be clear and relevant to the content.


Disadvantages of Advertising on Snapchat


Advertising on Snapchat can be really effective, especially for reaching a younger audience, but there are some downsides and risks to consider:


  • Ads may not be as effective if your target audience includes older demographics.
  • The competition for attention is as intense as the demand for creativity.
  • Snapchat advertising is more expensive than a lot of other advertising services.
  • Ad creatives on Snapchat are short-lived, making it difficult to gauge long-term engagement or effectiveness.
  • Ads can be easily overlooked if not timed correctly.
  • Ads may appear in an inappropriate context.
  • The targeting is not as sophisticated or refined as those on platforms like Facebook or Google.


Launch Your First Snapchat Ad Today!


To wrap up, if you're considering adding Snapchat to your marketing toolkit, remember it's not just for the big players. With its dynamic ad formats and a young, engaged audience, Snapchat offers unique opportunities for all kinds of brands looking to make a real impact.


Whether you're looking to boost brand awareness, drive sales, or engage with your audience in innovative ways, Snapchat might just be the platform to help you achieve your marketing goals.