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Getting started with Snapchat Advertising

Snapchat has an incredibly specific type of user, so while it may work for some it will not work for all. The social platform has over 300 million monthly active users, but 71% of their users are under the age of 35. This can affect the purchasing power of the platform, as it alienates a large number of users with potential disposable income. However, the app is opened by its active users over 18 times every day, and they spend an average of 40 minutes per day on the platform.

Objectives + Ad Types

Unlike the other platforms, Snapchat ads aren’t newsfeed posts that can be boosted to page followers. Snapchat has three types of ads; Snap Ads, Filters, and Sponsored Lenses. Those ads can be found under one (or more) of the following objectives offered by Snapchat; website traffic, app installs, app user engagement, video views, or brand awareness.
Terminology can get a little confusing. ‘Snaps’ are Snapchat’s way of referring to the content on their platform, whether its organic or in ad format.
Snap Ads can come in one of five formats:

  • Top snaps are the same as regular snaps – this means they can be max 10 seconds in length and have no extra feature. They are essentially boosted posts, that work well for awareness.
  • Long Form snaps are short videos with a swipe up option so that your users can watch long form videos with a length of up to 10 minutes.
  • Traffic Webview are snaps that will take your user off-platform to your website – a great way to drive traffic.
    App Install ads take your user off-platform to download your app.
  • Deep Link ads are a good way to re-engage those users who already have your app, as it allows them to engage with your app through Snapchat.

Filters aren’t like traditional social media ads – they are something the user can add to their own posts. They can be created in one of two formats; On-Demand Geofilters or Audience Filters. On-Demand Geofilters are a great way to promote an event that may be location specific. They are filters that you can set up in a specific location, and are only available if a user is in that location (this is also known as geofencing). Audience filters work when you are targeting a specific group of people, so a food-related filter may be targeted at ‘Foodies’.
Sponsored Lenses are the most exclusive of ads on Snapchat. This is because they use Snapchat’s facial recognition software and are not available freely. In fact, you have to fill out a form with the business and campaign information in order to be considered.


While Snapchat’s ads are vastly different to other platforms, creating audiences is not. Much like the other social platforms, you can choose to create an audience from scratch or to upload a pre-existing list you may already have. Uploading your own list creates what is referred to as a SAM Audience. ‘Snap Audience Match’ audiences are a targeted group of people who Snapchat have found on their database. This means you could upload a list of 1000 people, but only 300 of them may use Snapchat. From this, you are able to create Lookalike Audiences, who are users Snapchat identifies as similar to those they’ve matched.
You are able to target viewers using a Snapchat predetermined set of interests, or create what Snapchat refers to as Oracle Custom Audiences, who are users you can target based on their buying patterns or behaviours. (This is an option available through their partnership with Oracle and so is currently only available for US based audiences.) Once these have been created, Snapchat allows you to further define your audiences through demographics by choosing locations, ages, genders, languages and even education, income and marital status.


In a similar fashion to Pinterest, Snapchat automatically chooses all placements for your ads. They run their ads in three different places; Categories, Publisher Stories and User Stories. While this is editable on most platforms, because of the uniqueness of their ad types Snapchat only gives you the option to exclude certain categories from your placements.


Snapchat is by far the most expensive social platform to advertise on, with Snap Ads generally costing around £2250 per month. On Demand Filters range in price, and are charged on two factors – size and duration. The filters run from £3 – £15 per day, and must cover a minimum of 20 thousand square feet. Sponsored Lenses can cost you a daily rate of £350,000 to £500,000 for events such as the Super Bowl.
Snapchat’s ad-manager and ‘self-serve’ tool allows you to promote even if your budget can’t stretch quite that far. Working with a similar bidding system as the other platforms, Snapchat charges you per 1,000 impressions (CPM), with recommended bid amount at between £0.70- £2.50.
Snapchat advertising is a great place to reach a young audience, with 77% of their audience made up of 18-24 year olds. Make sure you have a good designer on hand to create filters and lenses that will be used – the more shareable the better. Unsure of how to go about nailing your Social Media Advertising? Then get in touch with us!

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