10 Ways to Optimize Your Snapchat Ads Campaigns

Optimizing your Snapchat Ads campaigns helps improve your overall performance and boosts your return on investment. Once you’ve launched your first campaign on Snapchat, regular monitoring with Snapchat’s measurement solutions can show you what’s working, where improvements can be made, and how to adjust your strategy to better optimize your Snapchat Ads for your campaign goals.

In this blog, we’ll cover 10 easy ways to optimize your existing ad campaigns and new campaign launches through strategies that involve improved targeting through custom audiences on Snapchat, A/B testing through Snapchat’s Split Testing feature and Campaign Lab, goal setting for each stage of the marketing funnel, and more.

1. Track Online Behavior Across Devices

First and foremost, head to Snapchat Ads Manager, our self-serve advertising platform where you can launch single ads or campaigns, monitor campaign performance, and optimize toward your business goals. Within Ads Manager, you have access to a number of features and tools to help you optimize your ad campaigns and achieve your business goals.

Within the navigation menu of Ads Manager, you’ll find Events Manager under the Assets tab. This is where you can set up your Snap Pixel, a piece of JavaScript code placed within your website to track online actions Snapchatters take on your website after seeing your Snapchat Ads. Once installed, the Snap Pixel tracks specific actions Snapchatters take like viewing a page, adding a product to their cart, and completing a purchase. Implementing the Snap Pixel allows you to attribute conversion events to your campaigns and build custom audiences to re-engage Snapchatters who have browsed your site or who’ve considered purchasing your products.

Pixel Custom Audiences give you the ability to retarget Snapchatters who have been to your website and browsed your products online. Pixel Custom Audiences power conversion focused campaigns because they specifically target high-intent individuals who have visited your website and browsed your products online, encouraging these individuals to complete a checkout.

Additionally, you can retarget interested audiences with Snapchat’s easy-to-use retargeting strategies. Reach customers who have interacted with your brand in the past, or re-engage Snapchatters who have installed your app to drive further engagement.

2. Launch a Broad, Data-gathering Campaign

A good rule of thumb is to launch and maintain an “always on” awareness-focused campaign with limited targeting enabled. Using minimal targeting to reach a broader audience means your ads will still be shown to the maximum number of Snapchatters for your budget, gathering a wide range of impressions on your ads. 

These campaigns show you how Snapchatters respond to your ads and can be used to inform future campaigns. For example, a broad campaign can be thought of as the top of your marketing funnel, and in time, you’ll be able to set up more targeted campaigns as you move customers through the buyer journey. You’ll also gain an understanding of what should be tested within your campaigns to improve overall efficacy.

A way to quickly understand which audiences are performing well within your Snapchat Ads campaigns is by viewing your Delivery Insights. Delivery Insights is a performance report within Ads Manager that shows you how Snapchatters react to your product or ads, as well as who’s viewed, engaged, and taken action on your campaigns. You can use this data to build custom retargeting segments and adjust your ad creative to specific audiences based on their demographics, location, and interests.

3. Use Audience Insights to Grow Your Reach

Next, Audience Insights can help you learn more about your target audience to create relevant content and explore new segments to expand your reach on Snapchat. With Audience Insights, you can access valuable data on who has viewed or engaged with your ads, showing you how Snapchatters are responding to your ads, who your audience is, what they are interested in, where they are, and more.

Within the Audience Insights view, you can create audiences that can be activated in future campaigns with Saved Audiences while reviewing the interests and demographic breakdowns of people in your Custom Audiences.

Insights like these are key to tailoring your ad creative for specific audience segments, resulting in deeper engagement and optimization for your re-engagement and conversion campaigns.

4. Launch Optimized Campaigns With Advanced Create

When building your Snapchat Ads campaigns, the Advanced Create flow within Snapchat Ads Manager gives you granular control over your advertising objective and bid types, allowing you to run multiple ad sets within one campaign. It also gives you access to all Snapchat Ad types. Let’s review how to develop Snapchat Ads campaigns using Advanced Create.

Step 1: Build Your Campaign

The first step in building your Snapchat Ads campaign is choosing your advertising objective. With every campaign you run on Snapchat, your objective should align with your overall business goals. 

  • Awareness: Generate interest and cast a wide net, allowing for the highest number of impressions for your budget.

  • Consideration: Reach customers who are considering your product category, but who may not be aware or engaged with your brand.

  • Conversions: Promote real actions like purchases and sign-ups, or prompt previous viewers of your ads to buy your products or download your app.

You can then set up your campaign details like daily budget, start and end dates, campaign runtime, and more.

Step 2: Build Your Ad Sets

Your next step is building your ad sets, where you’ll select your ad set details, campaign setup, and delivery. An ad set is a group of individual ads within your campaign that has specific audience criteria, budget, goal, and flight time. 

Enable your Snap Pixel and make selections like ad format, placement, demographics, and targeting. You can then set your audience, devices, budget, and Goal-Based Bidding. Please note that custom audiences are only available after running campaigns, uploading lists, or implementing the Snap Pixel.

Step 3: Design Your Ads

Add important labels and CTAs (call to action) to your creative. As you update these fields, you’ll see the ad preview update in real time. When developing your creative, you can upload from your product catalog or add existing creative from Snap Publisher.

Step 4: Review and Publish

Look over everything to make sure your schedule, budget, and audience are correct -- and publish! Snapchat’s Advanced Create flow is easy to use and gives you the ability to align your campaign goals with your business objectives, driving measurable, scalable return on investment. 

Next, we’ll go over the different ad formats to choose from and the benefits they offer.

5. Use the Right Ad Format for Your Goal

Whether you want to drive sales or website visits, Snapchat Ads are easy to use and deliver results for businesses of all types and sizes. Snapchat Ads are full-screen, immersive, and inspire immediate action and engagement. Be sure to utilize the right ad formats to reach your audience, goals, and actions. Additionally, a multi-format approach helps reinforce your brand with Snapchatters and builds awareness.

Snapchat Ad Formats:

  • Single Image or Video Ads are full-screen ads that can be used to build awareness, increase engagement, drive website visits or app visits, and increase app installs or online conversions or signups. Simply add a URL as an attachment and allow Snapchatters to swipe up and take action.

  • Story Ads are branded tiles that live in between content or within Snapchat’s Discover section. Generate excitement around your brand or latest collection with a series of 3-20 Single Image or Video Ads.

  • A Collection Ad features four tappable tiles to showcase multiple products, giving Snapchatters a frictionless way to browse products and drive Snapchatter to your website to make a purchase.

  • Dynamic Ads automatically personalize ads at scale. These work well for advertising a wide range of products and variations, unlocking new ways to scale up campaigns and drive online conversions easily. 

6. Use Advanced Targeting to Optimize Campaigns and Reach Your Audience

With Snapchat’s robust ad targeting capabilities, brands can target Snapchatters based on interests, behaviors, demographics, and location to help reach the right audience. Advertisers can also layer in existing customer data with platform-specific behavior through Snapchat’s custom audiences, helping to build highly-targeted campaigns that are optimized toward specific goals. 

  • Snap Audience Match: Reach Snapchatters who have interacted with your brand or business in the past.

    • Best for: Re-engaging customers, driving repeat purchases and customer loyalty.

  • Lookalike Audiences: Expand your reach by finding Snapchatters who are similar to your existing customer base.

    • Best for: Increasing site traffic, boosting sales, driving new customer growth.

  • Mobile App Custom Audiences: Dynamically update audiences generated from your app data passed back to Snapchat from your Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP).

    • Best for: Driving app installs and retargeting those who have already installed your app to open it.

  • Pixel Custom Audience: Target a group of high-intent Snapchatters who have engaged with your brand’s website  with a flexible lookback window.

    • Best for: Retargeting campaigns, reaching customers who are interested in your products or services. 

  • Ad Engagement Audience: Reach Snapchatters who have previously engaged with your ads. Retarget Snapchatters who have interacted with an ad or were served a paid impression.

    • Best for: Retargeting users who have expressed interest in your Snapchat ads previously, Increasing site traffic and driving sales. 

  • Third-party Custom Audience: Reach Snapchatters based on their past buying patterns or viewing behaviors. Tap into an expansive data marketplace to develop a segment for an individual campaign, objective, product, or service.

    • Best for: Reaching highly-targeted Snapchatters.

7. Bid on Swipe Ups, Add to Carts, and Conversions With Goal-Based Bidding

Goal-Based Bidding can be used to help optimize your ad delivery to reach Snapchatters who are most likely to take action after seeing your ad. With Goal-Based Bidding, you can optimize toward a specific action you’d like Snapchatters to take, such as visiting your website or making a purchase. By specifying your cost-per-action requirements, impressions will be delivered to efficiently achieve that outcome.

Once you’ve implemented Goal-Based Bidding, you can take advantage of Snapchat’s automated bidding strategies, which allow you to employ an automatic bidding strategy that makes sense for your business:

  • Target Cost Bidding is recommended if your goal is to drive ad engagement. This bidding strategy aims to keep your average cost per action (CPA) at or below the amount set by the ad set end date.

  • Auto-Bidding allows Snapchat to set the bid on your behalf to get the highest number of goal actions for your given budget and target audience. We recommend using Auto-Bid if your main objective is ensuring full-budget delivery without strict cost-per-action objectives.

  • Max Bid tells Snapchat the maximum amount we can bid for you while we try to achieve the most efficient CPA possible. A suggested bid range will appear, giving you a reference point when setting your bid to help you deliver against your daily budget. 

8. Run Tests to See Which Creative Approach is Most Effective

Campaign Lab, also found within Snapchat Ads Manager, is a tool you can use to easily set up and act on campaign experimentation in a completely self-serve way. Find actions, insights, and learning agendas to help you understand where to start your campaign testing, form hypotheses, identify what’s working, and take action to inform your campaign strategy.

Snapchat’s split testing feature allows you to run side-by-side comparisons of audiences, creatives, ad placements, and goals to test which strategy performs best. In the Experiments tab of Snapchat Ads Manager, you can start new split tests to see customized recommendations that will prompt ideas for what to do next. After the test has been completed, you can use the results to create and optimize future tests and campaigns. 

When testing ad creative, consider running your test for a few weeks to gather enough impressions on your ad. After your Snapchat Ads are up and running, we recommend testing a variety of formats to find the winning combination for your brand.

9. Launch, Manage, and Measure Campaigns With Ads Manager

Within Ads Manager, you have access to reports that allow you to analyze your ad campaign performance quickly and easily. Navigate to “Manage Ads'' where you can view spend, impressions delivered, and other actions Snapchatters may have taken on your ads.

Snapchat offers a variety of metrics that can help you gauge the performance of your campaigns. These might include paid reach, paid impressions, and video views. If you have the Snap Pixel installed on your website, you can also review lower-funnel actions like add to cart, sign ups, or purchases.

As you optimize your ads, Snapchat Ads Manager gives you insight on what’s working in order to scale up your effective campaigns and adjust campaigns to improve their effectiveness. When your ads are performing well, you can repeat that strategy where possible, helping you get the most ROI from your campaigns and scale up at a pace that makes sense for your business. If your campaign isn’t performing as well as you’d like, continue to test and optimize as needed to scale up successfully.

Additionally, you can launch specific retargeting and conversion-focused campaigns. Consider your KPIs at a conversion level, whether that’s driving website or in-app conversions, swipe ups, or catalog sales. By launching a retargeting campaign, you can drive more conversions and engagement while staying top of mind with interested Snapchatters. Re-engage Snapchatters who have visited your website, interacted with your Snapchat Ads, installed your app, or shopped with you in the past. 

10. Build Creative that Works Well on Snapchat

Finally, we’d like to share some creative best practices for your Snapchat Ads campaigns. Use these tips to create fully-optimized ads that drive sales, engagement, and results for your business.

Creative Tip 1: Easily Create Ads From Scratch or Template with Snap Publisher

Quickly make ads, create videos for your ads, repurpose existing ads, and more using Snap Publisher. Customize your ads with content relevant to your audience and generate multiple variations to learn which performs best.

Creative Tip 2: Showcase Your Products Front and Center

Lead with your value prop.If your goal is to drive product sales, showcase your best selling products and how they help existing customers. If your goal is to drive app installs, showcase the value prop of your app or game, and demonstrate the value it brings when a user downloads, reopens, and engages with your app. 

  • E-commerce: Feature the products you sell front and center to drive purchase intent.

  • Mobile apps and games: Show the app UI, features, and benefits within the ad creative.

  • Local businesses: Bring attention to key visual features of your storefront and highlight what services or products your business specializes in. For example, a local restaurant can showcase popular dishes or specials in their ad creative to entice customers to visit.

Creative Tip 3: Make Your Ads Feel Native to Snapchat

Mirror the bite-sized and linear storytelling of Snapchat and keep your ad duration around five or six seconds. This gives your brand the opportunity to reach potential customers in a way that feels organic and non-intrusive to Snapchatters, and puts you right in the middle of their conversations. 

Snapchat Ads featuring user-generated content (UGC) or Snapchat-inspired features typically get viewed in full compared to more polished ads and help your ad feel more conversational.

Creative Tip 4: Encourage Your Audience to Take Action 

Always encourage Snapchatters to take action by adding relevant messaging at the beginning of the ad. Provide an offer message within the first two seconds of the ad, and use a clear call to action to tell your audience exactly what you’d like them to do next. Best practices like these will help your brand drive purchases, website traffic, and more conversions.

When managing your Snapchat Ads campaigns, optimization is key to long-term success. Through testing, reporting, and refining your strategy, you’ll gain a better understanding of what works, resulting in better campaign success for your business.

With Snapchat Ads, businesses of all sizes can launch ads, test ad creative, build reports, and optimize toward their goals - all in one place. As you develop your Snapchat Ads, keep these optimization strategies top of mind to create ads that showcase your products, communicate a clear message, and encourage relevant action that aligns with your business goals.