The digital marketing landscape is evolving quicker than ever before. While print and more traditional mediums still have their place, those who want to take their platforms to the next level need to embrace the new digital landscape. And no platforms are more influential to your business than the social media, including Snapchat.
Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter are common social media vehicles to advertise. However, because Snapchat is so new, many businesses don’t know how or don’t want to leverage the platform to their advantage. And I think that’s a great mistake on their end.
By explicitly targeting specific demographics and meaningfully engaging with them, Snapchat offers a variety of tangible benefits to growing your business.
Scroll through to learn more about Snapchat and how to advertise on Snapchat, one of the most popular social media networks in the world.
Before we even go into how to use Snapchat to market a business, product, or service, you should have a healthy sense of what Snapchat is. In a nutshell: Snapchat is a globally distributed multimedia messaging mobile application that uses video-sharing and text to start a conversation.
Started by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, Snapchat is a part of Snap Inc. – a public company worth an estimated $20 million. And there’s a good chance the company could exceed $30 billion by 2020.
In addition to their primary product – Snapchat- Snap Inc. continues to expand its influence in the social media space. Their flagship product, Spectacles, is a pair of “smart glasses” that syncs with the user’s Snapchat account and records videos as they go about their business.
One of the core principles of Snapchat is that media recorded, the pictures and messages, are just available temporarily before they need user input. Snapchat was once only meant for peer-to-peer photo sharing through platforms such as “Stories,” but has now introduced “Discover.” Discover allows brands and media outlets to run ad-supported content through short-form entertainment.
Snapchap is gaining traction as a new marketing outlet, especially with the new addition of Discover. As of this February, Snapchat has around 190 million daily active users! That’s a huge audience to tap into. Speaking of audiences…
Snapchat is one of the most millennial-focused social media platforms currently in use. The platform is geared toward an appeal to those between 18 to 32, with the age sweet spot appearing to be 24. Those who regularly use Snapchat have high levels of engagement with the platform, even more than Twitter. Because of the nature of Snapchat, it fosters a connection with both brands and people. In fact, it’s that reason that makes it such a profitable space to advertise businesses on and see tangible results.
Since going public, Snap Inc. is keen on growing their demographic appeal. This recent choice to go public is promising to those who want to advertise on the platform. It also means those companies can broaden the product and services they push on Snapchat.
“They are eventually going to tap out of these younger age groups and will have to court older demographic groups,” said eMarketer principal analyst Catherine Boyle to Forbes in response to Snapchat’s demographic appeal. “They may not need Facebook-level penetration across every age group, but growth will happen among an older user base.”
Snapchat also is widely aware that their interface isn’t the easiest to use for those who are new to social media.
“The onboarding experience is difficult,” chief strategist of Kuuhubb Tero Kuittinen said of Snapchat’s account sign up to Forbes. “It’s not easy to learn how to use it. If you’re 18, it’s not a big stretch, but if you’re 45, it’s tough to figure out.”
Snapchat is already making stride to making the platform more comfortable to use for those who aren’t social media savvy. And when these older demographics do eventually become more prominent on the platform, Snapchat will gain more traction as a place to not only get news but see new products and consume media.
“Older groups are now more likely to tune in [to Snapchat] for content,” eMarketer analyst Jamie Chung said in an email to Forbes. “The platform has multiple partnerships with television networks for mini-episodes. Meanwhile, the younger groups are less likely to add Snapchat when Instagram Stories can fulfill their broadcasting needs.”
By leveraging Snapchat now, you can get ahead of the crowd and establish a strong presence on the platform.
First, you’ll have to either log in or sign up for Snapchat. The onboarding process is simple and industry standard: Write your first and last name, then create a username and password, enter your email address, and lastly your date of birth before clicking “Sign and Accept.”
Creating this account is only for personal use but will allow you to create a business account to use for creating Snapchat advertisements.
Soon after doing so, you’ll come to a page that will ask you to create a business account. You’ll be asked to do the following before you can start building your adds:
- Write the legal name of your business
- Write Your full legal name
- Write your business email address
- Choose which country your business is based
- Choose the timezone your ads are most likely to run
- Choose the currency your ads will be paid
Once you’ve successfully filled out the criteria mentioned above, you can officially start creating Snapchat Ads.
After creating a business account, you’ll have access to the Snapchat’s “Create Ads” page. This account will allow you to run specific ads for your business that run on particular verticals. Companies will have the following types of adds to choose from: Top Snaps Only, Long Form Video, Webview, Deep Link, App Install, Camera Filter, and Story Ad.
We’ll go into the specifics of each advertisement types later one, but all Snapchat ads share common themes and information input you’ll need to know beforehand. And before even thinking about building your Snapchat ad, it’s crucial you can answer the following:
- What are the demographics your product or service best fits?
- What will be your budget for running the ad?
- How long do you want to run the ad?
- Does your content need to be age restricted?
- How do you want to pay for the ad?
- Do you want the ad to be shareable?
- Have you already written the ad’s headline?
- What’s the audience size you want to reach?
- Will your ad need to run locally, nationally, or internationally?
- Do you have the content for the ad already created?
- What are the common interests of your audiences and consumers?
Once you have a grasp on the latter mentioned question, you’re ready to move forward and start crafting one of Snapchat’s seven types of ads.
The most popular type of ad on the platform, Snapchats Top Snap Only Ads displays a single piece of content at the top of user’s feeds. Depending on the criteria and budget of your ad will determine how many users will end up seeing it.
Top Snap Only Ads also are static, meaning that they run as images, GIFs, or video. They do not contain clickable hyperlinks, so you can’t directly link them to your business. However, you can input specific URLs and other digital business characteristics in the ad.
Top Snap Only Ads are ideal for bringing attention to events, sales, or other single-focused topics. These types of ads aren’t suited for a broader, more generalized introductions to your brand. Because ad space and time are at a premium here, think about creating short-form videos. These will allow you to grab the audience’s attention best, while also giving you the opportunity to build brand engagement.
In the end, Top Snap Only Ads are the best way to start advertising on Snapchat. They’re simple, straightforward, and allow you to begin testing the waters. After running a few campaigns, you should have a clear sense of what your ROI (Return of Investment) is on these ads. Use that information to craft more complex and better-targeted ads, if your product, service, etc. calls for it.
Long Form Video ads best suit media outlets and other media consumption platforms. Allowing for videos that can be up to 10 minutes in total length, these Long Form Ads are ideal for bringing attention to long forms of content. For example: If you’re looking to advertise a web series, documentary, etc., these longer video ads allow you to showcase snippets of more substantial pieces of content the viewer can watch later.
Each of these ads also has “Calls to Actions,” which let the viewer see that the video is part of a larger piece of content. However, some web-based production companies have seen great success running whole “mini webisodes” on these ads to attract new viewers. Regardless of whether or not you’re running a clip or video in its entirety, it has to be engaging within the first 15 seconds.
Research has shown that the average person generally knows if an ad is meaningful to them within the first 15 second of seeing it. Those brands who can capitalize on early engagement will be far more successful than those who need “build up.”
Long-form Video Ads also lend themselves to a higher amount of creativity than most of the platform’s other ad services. Because creators have such a long time to craft an image, a business can introduce storytelling aspects into these ads. Research has shown that brands who can create themes and stories within their ethos have greater longevity and increased product sales.
In the end, Long Form Video ads aren’t for business who aren’t media-focused. But for those who are, there’s no better ad service on Snapchat to convey a story, theme, or concept than by running a well-made Long Form Video ad.
For business who are looking to introduce their brand, services, and products into the world, Snapchat’s Web View ads are ideal. Unlike the more media-based ads on the platform, these Web View ads allow users to go to your website after viewing your ad directly.
To start, create a similar ad as you would if you were only doing a Top Snap Only ad. This ad should be a piece of content that engages the viewer with creative imagery and copy. The user, unlike with Top Snap Only ads, can then “swipe up” on the ad.
By doing so, this will take the user to the web page you’ve inserted into the ad’s “review URL” when you were building it. Make sure the URL pertains to the ad. Businesses who misguide audience members to irrelevant content has been shown to lose trust for that particular brand or company. This type of linking directly affects audience engagement in a negative and almost immediate way.
If your website is mobile friendly, don’t forget to enable “allow preloading.” This faster access to your ad will let your website load faster and give users quicker access to the advertised service, product, etc. Because the average internet user only waits three seconds for a web page to load before going elsewhere, quicker load times help retain consumer engagement.
Web View ads are best for those who are looking to introduce their business to a new audience that may not be aware of them. Combining the visual appeal of Top Snap Only ads with navigation to useful URLs, these ads can significantly help grow your business on the platform.
Deep Link ads are one of the more unknown and little utilized advertised products on Snapchat. But if used right, they can offer the biggest bang-for-your-buck and tangible ROI.
These ads function much like Web View ads but have the added benefit of cross-linking to various types of web-based content. The hallmark card of the Deep Link ad is that they can navigate users directly to the Apple Store and Google Play Store. These links allow users to “swipe up” to go to a web-based URLs.
You’ll need to know your IOS App Store ID and have the Android App URL for your business handy before building these. Both will be required to plug into the ad creator, which will then embed the direct links to those products automatically.
Because how Deep Link ads are designed to pedestal mobile applications, only businesses that already have mobile apps should use them. If you haven’t yet developed mobile applications for your business, this type of Snapchat ad isn’t right for you. However, if your brand or company has created mobile apps, Deep Link ads can help drive audience traffic to many destinations.
If you’re looking to push your mobile app and not necessarily your entire business, Snapchat’s App Install ads are great to do just that. These avoid crowding your ad with additional URLs and links that don’t pertain to the install.
Much like if you were to make a Deep Link Ad, you’ll need to know your IOS App Store ID and have the Android App URLs. Both will be required to plug into the ad creator, which will then embed the direct links to those products automatically. It’s also a good idea to beta run your install programs for both IOS and Android before choosing to run an App Install Ad.
If your App Install ad is successful, you’ll see a significant spike in application downloads. This increased traffic will put stress on the app’s backend code, so any weak points in its structure will make themselves known now. It might not seem like a big deal, but those weak points could be the difference in someone being able to successfully download your application or not.
It’s also a good idea at this point to make sure your application is user-friendly and accessible. Because these ads push your app aggressively, you’ll want to make sure the user interfaces, graphics, embedded links, etc. all run well.
These types of ads also lend themselves to a more forward “Call to Action” than others. Consider using “Install Now,” “Download Now,” and “Download and Install” as attention-grabbing options.
When used right, App Install ads are among the best ways to get audiences to download and use your mobile product directly.
Arguably Snapchats most iconic advertisement product, Camera Filter ads allow businesses to take advantage of one of Snapchat’s favorite feature. You can run creative photo overlays that bring attention to your business in ways few other advertising mediums can.
These ads also do well when targeted to specific regions and age demographics. I’ve seen and read about big and small businesses using Camera Filter ads to bring attention to local sales, sporting events, and other like-minded topics. And many have seen huge spikes in engagement, sales, and audience participation from using them in target ways.
However, Camera Filter ads require a higher level of digital design than Snapchats other advertising products. Before uploading the filtered image, you have to consider the following:
- Any graphics shouldn’t be too large or centered
- Choose to put more complicated designs on the sides of the image
- Don’t create wrap-around borders
- Avoid odd and illegible fonts
- Be cohesive
- Avoid cliches and generics
- Avoid creating images for filters that are taller than 1920 pixels
- Avoid creating images for filters that are wider than 1980 pixels
- Be creative and unique
Camera Filter ads are not for those who need to follow their ad with an outbound link or navigational link. Because these ads solely overlay filters on images users take, it’s best to keep the messaging behind them concise and straightforward. Don’t overwhelm the user with unnecessary information or busy graphics that take away from their image.
In the end, Camera Filter ads are excellent choices for those who wish to advertise particular events, products, and more. These tend to do best when locally applied. For more national or state-wide ad campaigns, I’d recommend using other broader Snapchat ad products.
Story Ads are Snapchat’s newest advertisement product, geared toward sharing ad content that’s grouped in a “branded tile”. These are short and shareable advertisements that offer broad appeal and audience interaction inside Snapchat’s Story feature.
Story Ads allows advertisers to both targets and reach their audiences with specific on-brand tiles in Snapchat’s Discover feed. “Snapchatters” can access a collection of these each visit to the app. Users can choose to explore anywhere from three to twenty Snaps per collection.
These bundles are also topically organized, allowing users to explore new trends in fashion, latest music hits, a suite of products, and more. Story Ads also can be designed and created in various ways. Users can attach the following attachments on Story Ads:
- Embedded movie trailers
- Links to app installations
- Link to buy products
- Link to specific services
You’ll also want to make sure that your title image, logo, and headline are in sync with your brand before adding them to your Story Ads. Below is a few more variable to consider before and during the building your Story Ad:
- Choose a “Top Media Type” that best suits your business or brand
- Make sure your “Top Snap Media” is not taller than 1920 pixels
- Make sure your “TopSnap Media” is not wider than 1980 pixels
- Know your Apple Store ID and Google Play Store URL, if you want to apply link to apps
- Choose a “Play Style” that best suits your creatives used
- Enable “Shareable” to ensure you get the best exposure possible
- Be sure to write a catchy “Headline”
Snapchat Inc. has gone on record that Story Ads is the best way to share deeper, mobile-friendly stories and ads on the platform. But because they require a good knowledge of the platform, I’d recommend creating these after you’ve used other ad options.
Once you get the hang of developing ads, you’ll want to make sure that you’re Snapchat account runs like a well-oiled machine. And just like any business tool, keeping your Snapchat account viable and profitable will require constant innovation and upkeep. Here are ideas and practices that will keep your Snapchat account and ads in working order.
Once you start garnering an audience from your Snapchat ads, you’ll want to make sure they stick around. To keep your momentum, engage with them on the platform regularly and intensely. Share great stories, offer incentives for sharing and interacting with your brand, and keep your Snapchat Story consistent.
You can also advocate for your Snapchat account throughout your other social media accounts and websites. Sharing your Snapchat username on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even LinkedIn will help drive traffic to you Snapchat stories and ads. You can also embed a Snapchat widget or icon on your company page.
You can also use your Snapchat for creating incentives. For instance, you can share Snapchat-only promo codes that give customers specific deals your business is running on select products or services. These Snapchat-only incentives will keep your Snapchat account relevant and also keep your audience engaged.
As brands go forward into this digital world, the ones that will succeed and become legacy brands will be the ones who have a personality behind them. By doing regular “Live Stories” through your brand or businesses Snapchat account, you can give a face to the products or services you’re offering.
If you need any more evidence of the benefits to giving your brand a real-life presence, look no further than to Kylie Cosmetics. In just 24 months, Kylie Jenner has leveraged platforms like Snapchat and Instagram to create a multi-million dollar cosmetic company. And she’s done so by not spending a single dime on traditional advertising.
With today’s technologies and social media platforms, is possible to get almost instantaneous feedback. Business and brands can capitalize on this by not only reading comments, but having regular Q&As.
Holding those Q&As done through Snapchat’s “Live Stories” can give you feedback in real time. You, the moderator, can ask certain brand-forward questions. As a business, you can use that real-world data to help improve the weak points of your business and build on your strong points.
Because Snapchat is changing and growing so quickly, it’s always wise to keep your business stay up-to-date with how Snap Inc. is continuing to evolve. Check out the News on Snapchat’s main website. The blog also regularly highlights general market trends, news, and practices that Snapchat is using to build their company.
Because Snapchat visual advertising medium, the hard work you put into your designs, and photography and video skills won’t go unnoticed. Consider taking an e-course on how to edit images and videos that you can upload to Snapchat.
You can apply the same newfound skills and create eye-catching filter designs. If the cost of time spent on perfecting these skills is too high, look into hiring a freelance graphic artist to help you out.
Consider collaborating with audience members and event media influencers. Recently, the candy company Sour Patch Kids attracted a significant amount of new teenage customers just by sending their branded characters “Sweet” and “Sour” on an adventure with Logan Paul (a prominent YouTuber and Millennial-focused entertainer). By consciously targeting a specific demographic and highlighting a media personality well known within that audience, they created a brand image. And that brand image appealed directly to the youth customers they wanted to introduce to Sour Patch Kids.
Don’t let your Snapchat feed become too promotional by only posting your business happenings. It helps to make your feed about your followers as well, specifically giving the loyal and vocal ones shoutouts on your stories. Doing regular features of your followers will help with brand identity and engagement, as well.
Here’s the thing every business should take to heart: If you want to survive in the coming years, you have to embrace the internet model. And learning how to use social media, including Snapchat, to advertise successfully will ensure your business and brand are around for years.
Snapchat is continuing to grow quarter after quarter, especially as its stock continues to soar.
Snapchat is an amazing advertising platform because it’s so different. Unlike its contemporaries – Facebook and Twitter – Snapchat lets you engage with your audience in real-time, meaningful ways. You can share your brand with narratives and creative designs.
Storytelling has always been an effective marketing tool. Snapchat has just made it easy for you: Snap away, tell stories, and reap the benefits of being an engaged, creative “Snapchatter.”
Read my post on how to advertise your website online for other ideas!