10 Questions to Ask Before Advertising on Snapchat

Post written by Helen Carwright
On Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Snapchat is a swiftly growing social networking phenomenon, with a daily user base of about 166 million people. It’s especially popular with young adults and teenagers, hitting a demographic that is underrepresented on Facebook.

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Depending on your product and target audience, Snapchat ads might be a perfect way to get your brand’s message in front of the right audience. However, Snapchat isn’t appropriate for every brand. Before you jump in, here are 10 things to consider:


1.) Are you willing to pay a lot for traditional ads?

Snapchat CPM (cost-per-impression) ads require a minimum budget of a staggering $40,000 per month. If you’re a small business, this is probably out of reach. You can reduce these costs quite a bit by aggressively geo-targeting the ads. Rates for this vary depending on the size of the geofilter area you want to target and the demand for that location, but they can be as low as $5.

To put the costs into perspective, Snapchat is more expensive than both Instagram and Facebook. Both of those sites use a cost-per-click model, rather than CPM, and the budget is usually around $1-5 per day.


2.) Are you okay with ads having short lifespans?

The nature of Snapchat is ephemeral. Messages have short lifespans on the app, which is part of its appeal. Ads work the same way: An ad will be disappeared after several seconds of being displayed to a particular user.


3.) What type of ads will you display?

Snapchat offers three types of ad units: Geofilters, sponsored lenses, and full-screen videos. These first two options provide a sort of interactive ad experience for Snapchat users, who can apply branded filters or graphical elements to their chat photos. For example, a sponsored lens might recreate a scene from a film a studio is marketing, with the ability for the user to swap his or her face for the main character.

Sponsored lens ads are highly engaging and can massively drive brand awareness, but they are somewhat complex to create and are very expensive. Geofilters, which provide a graphical overlay for a user’s photo, is simpler and less costly. Snap Ad videos, which are a more traditional advertising venue, can last up to 10 seconds and can include interactive attachments, allowing users to swipe for further engagement without leaving the app. These are easier to set up but come with a minimum buy of $10,000 per month, with the CPM hovering between $20 and $40.


4.) Does your brand make sense for Snapchat?

In general, Snapchat is only useful for B2C brands, especially consumer product goods. The brands that have found the most success on the platform include Gatorade, Dominos, Under Armour and Izze: Consumer products with a young target demographic and plenty of advertising budget to spare.


5.) Who are you trying to reach?

Snapchat attracts a young audience. It’s estimated that 30 percent of US millennials use Snapchat, and a whopping 71 percent of Snapchat users are under 34. If you’re trying to target an older demographic or a wider range of potential customers, your efforts may be wasted on Snapchat.


6.) Do you have a good sense of aesthetics and graphic design?

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Snapchat is a visual medium. Ads can incorporate sound and video, but the cheapest option is the Geofilter. These are relatively easy to make, but the low barrier to entry means that space has gotten crowded with low-quality and unattractive filters that will be a major turn-off for your audience. If you’re going to pursue Snapchat marketing, you need to make sure that you understand the needs of your audience and can produce graphics that are both high-quality and appealing to the people you want to use them.

Geofilters and sponsored lenses are inherently interactive forms of advertising. Users need to choose them on purpose from a list of available image customization options, which means that your ads need to offer value. You must be prepared to think of your ads as products in and of themselves.


7.) Where is your target audience?

Since Geofilters are the most cost-effective option, it’s important to decide on the geographic parameters of your ads. Some businesses choose to make them available to customers who are at their store or near their booth at a convention; visitors who use Snapchat while at the location can use the branded filters at that location. Otherwise, if you’re trying to reach a larger audience, you’ll want to be very thoughtful about where your ads should be targeted. Snapchat charges based upon square footage and time, so the most effective ads will be those that target the largest concentrated group of people within a target audience. Options like college campuses, shopping malls and theme parks can work well for this purpose.


8.) How are your other ad venues working out?

If you’re not having a lot of success with Facebook or Instagram ads, it may not be the right time to move to Snapchat. Because the cost is so much higher and the core Millennial demographic tends to be very ad-savvy and averse to heavy-handed marketing, Snapchat is a tough nut to crack. You need experience crafting top-notch visual-based ad content that will speak to your target audience. Only consider Snapchat after you’ve taken a long, hard look at your existing platforms and decided that you have the skills necessary to see success on a new platform.


9.) Is your goal brand awareness?

The major benefit of advertising on Snapchat is increasing overall brand awareness and creating a positive user association with your brand. This is crucial to the Millennial audience, who routinely base their purchasing decisions more on a brand’s underlying identity and ethos than surface factors, but it does not directly drive conversions. If you’re hoping for faster results and great ROI, you will need to adopt an advertising strategy by looking out for the latest trends that can cater your needs.


10.) What action do you want your audience to take after seeing the ad?

This dovetails with the above point: When designing an ad campaign, you have to know what the takeaway action should be. If you’re only interested in boosting brand awareness and engagement, filters and lenses can be a fun and a highly interactive way to spread your brand’s messaging. If you want a specific CTA, you’ll want to choose a video ad with attachments instead.

Consider these attachments carefully. They can be very powerful, allowing users to swipe over to view the content, but they need to provide value to the user. Set out with clear goals, whether it’s having them visit a sales page, reading more information or signing up for a newsletter. Having a single actionable step in mind is the key to boosting ROI on Snapchat video ads.

About the Author:
Helen Cartwright is a passionate blogger, who excels in the Digital Marketing and Technology niche. When not wired in marketing strategies she ghost-write for a variety of authors who have their work published on leading online media channels such as The Huffington Post and Entrepreneur.com.

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