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Developing A Successful Strategy For Marketing On Snapchat


When the popular platform Snapchat emerged on the paid social scene in 2012, it excited users by letting them tell unique stories, use entertaining filters, and create off-the-cut content. Since then, other apps like Facebook, Instagram, and now TikTok have made their own versions of this snackable and engaging style of storytelling. Even though Snapchat paved the way for this style of content, it seems like fewer people are talking about the beloved platform these days. So, where exactly does Snapchat stand as a social media platform and marketing tool in 2021?

Well, by the end of Q1 2020, Snapchat had 249 million daily active users around the world, and although it may seem like there are fewer Snapchat users for business, it has seen a whopping 20.5 percent increase in usage since 2019 — and it’s numbers have since been increasing. People are still making use of the Discover section and consuming plenty of Snapchat ads, making it a worthwhile tool for brands to reach their KPIs.

Compared to other giants like Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat is the most highly trafficked social media platform among teens and young adults, with users posting over 210 million Snaps on the platform every single day. 

Who Can Benefit From Snapchat Advertising?

If your specific brand or products cater to Gen Z or younger millennials, then Snapchat can — and will — have a considerable impact on your budding business. These young generations have billions of dollars of direct spending power, as well as influence over household spending. 

In addition, Snapchat also tends to work best as a marketing strategy for DTC brands who can use the app to drive traffic to an e-commerce app or webpage. Since a Snapchat account allows marketers to create short, eye-catching, and captivating content, it makes viewers heavily engaged in those stories. Because of their incredibly high engagement rates, Snapchatters are an unbelievable 60% more likely to make impulse purchases based on products they see on the app. 

Aside from the statistics that speak for themselves, there are some other strong benefits for including Snapchat in your marketing arsenal. These include:

  • Less competition. Every business that has ever existed seems to have a social media presence on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and even LinkedIn. As challenging as it can be to even connect with consumers on these popular platforms, it can be even more of a challenge to get your content to stand out from your competitors. Though Snapchat is increasing in popularity as a top-notch way to advertise, there’s still far less competition here for small businesses than on other leading platforms. This is reflected in lower Clicks-Per-Minute (CPM); Snapchat has cheaper inventory to fill the funnel and retarget to the more competitive heavy-hitters like Facebook and Instagram.

  • It’s unique. It goes without saying that Snapchat is different from other platforms. You will be reaching a new audience in a new way with a new type of content. This can definitely be daunting, but it’s also a big advantage. It has a similar aesthetic to Instagram stories — which was entirely modeled off of Snapchat stories — so similar content can be shared on both, doubling your marketing efforts.

  • It feels genuine and authentic. In general, social media sites are excellent for building rapport, brand awareness, and in some cases, giving the “behind the scenes” look to viewers. Snapchat amplifies this facet of social commerce — it’s more about what’s happening in the now. 

Photos are edited with eye-catching filters and stickers to make them even more interesting as opposed to creating images of higher quality — and the effects are purely there for enhancement and, of course, fun. With Snapchat, you can really showcase the personality of your brand, highlighting the parts that’ll be more relevant to your audience there. It’s more than just sending selfies with doodles and funny overlays on them, we promise. 

  • You can reach a new audience. If your specific product has cases that could appeal to, say, a younger demographic, for example, but you aren’t really connecting to them just yet on other social media platforms — Snapchat could be your golden ticket.

    CNN, for instance, connected with more millenials on Snapchat than they had through their website; it was an audience they’d previously struggled to connect with. Even if you are reaching the same audience, you are doing so on an additional platform.

  • You can target specific groups of people. Like other social media platforms, Snapchat gathers data about its users that you can then tap into to reach the right people. Specifically, Snapchat uses data from the Oracle Data Cloud and includes targeting mechanisms based on age, gender, geographical location, interests, behaviors, and more.

  • You can get real results. There are numbers that back up Snapchat’s effectiveness as a marketing platform. For instance, Snapchatters shop 20% more than other consumers and are three times more likely to post about a gift online. 

Tips To Help You Use Snapchat for Marketing

The benefits of using Snapchat for business are truly incredible. And after learning about them, we’re sure you want to dive right into using a Snapchat campaign, but wait a beat first and read these useful hacks to help you best develop a Snapchat marketing strategy.

Know Your Audience

It’s a marketing mainstay. But success on the popular Snapchat platform means knowing as much as you possibly can about your target audience — that’s how you create content that resonates.

Snapchat’s demographic has traditionally been youngsters in their teens and twenties, but that’s changing, with an older demographic now utilizing the app in increasing numbers. Stay true to the audience you really want to attract and monitor the type of tribe you gather as you delve deeper into the Snapchat seas — then tweak your strategy accordingly. 

Once you know who you’re trying to reach on Snapchat — you can actually make it happen with targeting mechanisms. Snapchat offers a whole host of unique and useful ways that you can effectively target your perfect audience: 

  • SnapAudience Match: This feature allows you to upload a list of emails, phone numbers, or device IDs to reach Snapchatters who have previously interacted with your brand. This feature can help you re-engage customers to promote repeat purchases and boost customer loyalty.

  • Lookalike Audiences: This feature allows you to reach users that are similar to your existing customer base. This feature can help you increase site traffic, drive new customer growth, and boost sales numbers.

  • Mobile App Custom Audiences: This feature allows you to specifically reach users who have downloaded your mobile application thanks to data from your Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP). This feature can help you increase application installations and encourage application launches from existing users.

  • Pixel Custom Audiences: This feature allows you to specifically reach users who have previously visited your website. This feature helps you reach customers who you know are actually interested in your products or services. It also helps you launch an effective retargeting campaign to stay top of mind.

  • Ad Engagement Audiences: This feature allows you to reach Snapchatters who have previously engaged with your advertisements on the platform. You can choose to reach back out to users who have swiped up on an advertisement, viewed a full video advertisement, opened a Story advertisement, shared or saved a branded Lens or Filter, or were served a paid impression.

  • Third-Party Custom Audiences: This feature allows you to reach Snapchatters based on previous viewing behaviors or buying patterns thanks to an expansive data marketplace. 

Know Your Platform

So your plan is to bowl headlong into your great Snapchat debut with a company account, you say? Well, that’s probably not wise. Before diving right into a business account, save yourself from a headache or two and get a personal account first. Follow your friends, family, and favorite brands to get a feel for how others use Snapchat, including geo-filters, emojis, and Snapchat filters, and soon enough, you’ll find your way. 

Snapchat is famed for its ephemeral, self-destructing messages (unless you screenshot them), plus the “My Story” feature, but regardless of what you may think, this platform isn’t as transient as you might have come to believe. You see, there’s no timeline in Snapchat. Messages to your followers literally stay in their inbox until they’re opened. 

So whereas with other popular social networks, your content and Snap ads are quickly confined to history, your message is actually stickier on Snapchat. Sure, the content that took you hours to create is lost forever once it’s opened. But some marketing gurus argue that this ensures users are paying more attention to snaps, whether they receive them from their mom, sister, or their favorite brand.

Once you are more familiar with how Snapchat works, you need to explore some of the different ad formats and how they fit into the Snapchat landscape as a whole. Snapchat offers a wide range of different paid ad formats to choose from — some that are totally unique to the application! Here are some formats that you may want to consider when advertising on Snapchat:

  • Single Image Advertisements: Single image paid ads consist of a single full-screen image that appears in between or after various types of content on Snapchat, including User Stories, Publishers, and Creators. Since this is a full-screen advertisement, it’s incredibly effective and doesn’t compete with other content.

  • Video Advertisements: Video advertisements consist of a full-screen video that, like image advertisements, appears in between or after different types of content on Snapchat. The platform recommends that you keep video advertisements short and sweet for maximum effectiveness — between three and five seconds — although they can be up to three minutes long. Just keep in mind when creating your content that both image and video advertisements are formatted vertically on this platform — so stay away from horizontal content that could get cut off.

  • Filters: Filter advertisements consist of an artistic overlay that appears on images or videos by swiping left or right. These artistic overlays often include stylized text and images based on where the Snap was taken. For instance, there are Snap filters for cities, shopping centers, restaurants, events, and more. When creating your Filters, make sure that they take up less than 25% of the screen so that the original picture or video is still largely visible. Again, make sure that they are formatted using portrait style rather than landscape style.

  • Lenses: Lens advertisements consist of 3D effects, objects, and animations to transform your face right in the frame. Lenses are particularly effective because they are so interactive — and there are tons of different routes you can take with them. For instance, you can take the funny route with a hilarious lens that distorts your image. On the other hand, you can take the serious route with a pretty filter that adds a flower crown, makeup, new hair color, etc. However, the best approach involves somehow incorporating your brand into the lens.

  • Story Advertisements: Story advertisements consist of a collection of three to 20 images or videos that are access through a branded “tile” in Snapchat’s “Discover” section. When a user clicks on your tile, they can then scroll through the story advertisement. The video capability of Story advertisements is useful for showing off products and experiences in a more detailed and interactive manner.

  • Product Catalog Advertisements: Product catalog advertisements consist of shoppable advertisements where you can show off your products, services, or experiences. Users can then click on the specific item they’re interested in and get more information about the item. Currently, you can have four “tiles” within a product catalog advertisement that showcases four different items. Now, you can shop without having to leave the app. Needless to say, this is hugely convenient and saves time. 

  • Commercials: Commercials consist of six-second video advertisements that cannot be skipped. While the content can last up to three minutes, users won’t be able to skip for six seconds when the commercial comes across their curated content page on Snapchat. As a result, you need to make these six seconds count! Make sure to quickly grab the viewer’s attention to increase brand awareness. Commercials aren’t available in every country but are available in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Australia, and others. 

Decide on the Types of Content You’d Like To Publish

Okay, so you’ve signed up, added your brand’s logo to your profile — now what?! What are you actually going to publish? While it’s crucial to have a great content plan or some kind of rationale to guide you in your video content, you have plenty of creative license on Snapchat.

Some ideas:

  • Tutorials
  • New product demos
  • Videos of your product in action in real-time
  • Industry hot tips
  • Reactions to the latest and greatest news affecting your industry
  • Behind the scenes at your workplace
  • Takeovers from an industry influencer
  • Discounts and flash sales
  • A series showcasing the history of your brand
  • You may even be able to get a sponsored filter or Snapchat lens

Be Creative

Step out of your comfort zone and get creative. Find your own unique style. And remember, there is no such thing as a boring topic — just boring content writers!  

How To Start Marketing on Snapchat

After you’re more familiar with Snapchat thanks to your personal account, it’s time to start marketing your brand on Snapchat. Using your personal account, you can then create a business account. You will need to fill in your business name, email, and address. From there, you will need to add payment information to pay for your marketing campaigns on a monthly basis. 

Once you’re actually inside Snapchat Ad Manager, things can get a bit confusing — but don’t worry. We are here to guide you through the entire process. Within the Ad Manager, there are four different tabs to view: Dashboard, Creative Library, Custom Audience, and Help Center. In the Dashboard, you can start a campaign or view an existing campaign. In the Creative Library, you can add new content, view previously saved drafts, and view content approvals. In the Custom Audience tab, you can select targeting mechanisms to reach a specific group of users with your content. Finally, in the Help Center, you can learn more about Snapchat Ad Manager by viewing guides, asking questions, and getting support. 

Within the Business Manager, there are also four different tabs to view: Ad Account, Members, Settings, and Support. In the Ad Account tab, you can view invoices and billing details and make payments. In the Members tab, you can view the different members involved in your ad account and assign different roles for each member. In the Settings tab, you can add or remove billing and credit card information. In the Support tab, you can learn more about Snapchat Ad Manager. 

Now it’s time to get started creating your first Snapchat advertising campaign! 

To do this, you will need to go to the Dashboard view and click the “New Campaign” button. You will then need to choose a campaign objective. You can choose from driving traffic to your website, driving installations of your app, growing brand awareness, and driving video views. You will also need to set your campaign schedule — either starting immediately and indefinitely or at a future date. Finally, you will give your campaign a name before moving forward — keeping in mind that you can run multiple different advertisements within the same campaign. 

On the next page, you will select the geographic region where you want your advertisement to air. Remember that certain types of advertisements are only available in certain countries. Then, you will select the demographics of who you want to see your advertisement. You can choose between all ages, ages 13 to 17, ages 18 to 20, ages 21 to 24, ages 25 to 34, and ages 35+. This is a big strength of Snapchat since its users skew so young, you’re able to select more specific age ranges rather than the typical 13 to 17, 18 to 24, 24 to 35, and so on. 

In the demographic section, you will also be able to choose to target by gender and advanced demographic categories that include college graduates, household income ranges (less than $50k, $50k to $75k, $75k to $100k, $100k to $250k, and high net worth), married people, moms, and more.

On the other hand, if you’re not quite sure what targeting mechanisms to set for your campaign, you can use Snapchat’s predefined audiences. Snapchat defines these audiences based on four different categories: lifestyles, shoppers, viewers, and visitors. 

  • Lifestyles: Selects audiences based on how people use Snapchat. Some people use it for fashion while others use it for makeup. Some people use it for news while others use it for travel. 
  • Shoppers: Selects audiences based on how people shop on and off the application. Possible categories include things like apparel, personal care, home and garden, etc. 
  • Viewers: Selects audiences based on people’s favorite content, including streaming services, television networks, home movies, etc. 
  • Visitors: Selects audiences based on people’s movements using geolocation data. For instance, if they have visited a restaurant, shopping mall, bank, etc. 

From there, you can choose which devices to target between Android or iOS. You’re also able to select different device makes including Apple and Samsung. You can even choose which connection types to target — choosing between cell service and WiFi. Finally, you can choose which carriers to target, including Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, etc. Before moving forward, you will set your campaign budget on either a daily or lifetime basis with a $100 per day minimum. 

It’s now time to move on to the next page where you will actually develop your advertisement creative. First, you will choose an advertisement type based on the different variations previously discussed. You can choose whether or not to make the advertisement sharable or not — we always recommend making your content shareable for maximum reach. 

You will then need to fill in some information related to your advertisement, including your brand name, a catchy headline, a call to action, and a website link. From there, you can either choose to upload, create, or browse for your creative content. Before uploading, make sure that your content meets Snapchat’s specifications. Here’s what you need to know about specifications so that you can get your advertisements up and running without any issues: 

  • Single Image and Video Advertisements: 1080 by 1920px; 9:16 aspect ratio; 3 to 180 seconds; 30 seconds if created in Snap Publisher; .jpg or .png format for images; .mp4 or .mov for videos; 5 MB or less for images; 1 GB or less for videos. 
  • Story Advertisements: One high-quality image that is 360 px x 600 px, provided as an up to 2 MB .png file; a headline of up to 55 characters including spaces; logos that are 993 px wide x 284 px high provided as a .png on a transparent background. 
  • Filter Advertisements: 1080 x 2340px image of less than 300KB; saved as a .png with at least 50% of the image having a transparent background; there must be a buffer zone of at least 310 px of the top or bottom of the canvas; there also must be a “clear and conspicuous” brand logo placement. 
  • Lens Advertisements: Must include a visible brand logo or brand name that cannot be obscured by UI elements or the carousel at the bottom of the screen; the recommended logo placement is in the top left or top right under the top UI elements. 
  • Collection Advertisements: Thumbnail images must be a static image only in either a .jpg or .png format; there must only be four square images; the thumbnail file sizes must be 2MB or less for each image; each thumbnail image size must be equal to or more than 160px by 160px.
  • Commercial Advertisements: 1080px by 1920pc; 9:16 aspect ratio; scaled proportionally to the original asset; three to six seconds in length for a standard commercial; seven to 180 seconds for an extended play commercial; file format must be either .mp4 or .mov; file size must be less than 1GB. 

After your creative content has been uploaded and everything else has been completed, you can click “Publish.” On the next page, you can click “Launch Campaign” to submit your content for review by the platform — it will either be approved or denied by Snapchat. Snapchat generally tries to complete advertisement reviews within 24 hours, however, some reviews may take longer. As a result, the platform recommends that you submit your advertisement for review at least 24-48 hours before your desired campaign start date. 

A Final Word

If you’re going to use Snapchat — which you most definitely should — be sure to really commit. Don’t just publish video ads once a month when you find a little bit of time; assign responsibility, create a winning strategy, give ownership of the account to the most social-savvy member of your team or even an experienced ad agency like MuteSix, and go forth and create!

Advertising can be tough. Recruit the help of an award-winning advertisement agency like MuteSix to help. 

Special thanks to our friends at MuteSix for their insights on this topic.
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