April 13, 2023
April 13, 2023

The Do's and Don'ts of Advertising on Snapchat

Snapchat has 375 million active daily users with $4.4 trillion in global spending power¹. Those are some massive numbers. What's more, 75%² (a mind-boggling percentage) of Gen Z and millennials say it's the number one platform for sharing real-life experiences³.

So, it's no surprise that businesses benefit from using the platform to connect with a unique (and super engaged) audience of teens and young adults!

If you want to climb aboard this fast-moving, consumer-driven freight train, our short list of do's and don'ts will help you maximize your efforts and create ads that deliver significant results.

The Do's of Advertising on Snapchat ✅

Follow best practices

Best practices are best practices for a reason: they work. They're tried and true. They're straightforward and efficient. And, they typically outperform other methods.

Want your ads to succeed?

Use these tips — and other traditional advertising best practices — to build appealing ads that will drive quality engagement and yield significant returns on your investment:

  • Choose the right ad format for your goals.

  • Showcase your product front and center in your ad creative.

  • Make your ads feel native to Snapchat.

  • Drive urgency with relevant messaging.

  • Design for sound on.

  • Link your ads properly.

  • Test ad creative and try new ad formats.

  • Use goal-based bidding to bid toward your desired action.

  • Broaden your targeting.

  • Understand your audience reach to optimize.

See our full breakdown of these creative best practices.

Embrace the format

Snapchat is a unique experience — one that makes people smile and demands a certain level of flair and originality. In other words, ads that might work on other platforms will fall flat on Snapchat.

Don't shy away from what makes this social network so special. Using AR (Artificial Reality) lenses, businesses can create interactive Snaps that users find irresistible. They're short, sweet, and prime audiences to convert.

Keep in mind that Snapchat is a mobile-only platform. So, all your content needs to be under 10 seconds, with an aspect ratio of 9:16, and made to be viewed on a mobile device.

Want a more thorough breakdown? Check out our spec guide.

Test and learn

For brands, ad creative is often one of the first — or very first — touch points in the customer journey. In other words, ad creative matters. It dictates how people feel about your product, not to mention whether people engage, click, and land on your website to make a purchase.

And that’s why testing is so critical: because some things work and others don’t. If a particular image or call to action was significantly more likely to drive purchase, wouldn't you want to know that?

Other things to consider experimenting with include:

  • Quality — what makes your product great

  • Selection — the number of options to choose from

  • Pricing — 50% off vs. half off

  • Timelines — Limited time only vs. This weekend only

  • Social proof — Testimonials, reviews, and ratings

Snapchat’s intuitive tools — like Campaign Lab — give you full control over your ad strategy. Campaign Lab empowers businesses to test these various elements and create ads that are more effective and engaging. This saves your business time and money in the long run since you won't be wasting budget on ads that don't convert.

The Don'ts of Advertising on Snapchat ❌

Don't expect immediate results

We'd all love to flip a switch and watch ad engagement soar. But, real results? Those take time. Of course, launching a campaign and seeing positive returns in the first few days or weeks is possible. Typically, though, those results are reserved for the well initiated — businesses that have their targeting and creative locked in.

For most businesses, that first Snapchat campaign is about collecting actionable data and making adjustments based on how people engage with their ad creative. So, set realistic expectations and know that the results you're after will come — just not on day one.

Pro tip: On Snapchat, it takes at least five days to see what's working, and what's not. Hang tight and wait for your first report before revising your campaign.

Don't spam your audience

Spamming your audience is the worst thing you can do when it comes to advertising. Not only does it alienate potential customers, but it also shows a lack of respect for the people you’re trying to reach.

Your target customers don’t like being bombarded with irrelevant content, no matter how great your product or service might be.

Want to achieve real results? Engage with your audience and connect with them on a personal level. Respect their time. Invest in the relationship. Focus on creating the best customer experience imaginable.

That’s how you create a loyal following.

Pro tip: Set up a Public Profile for your business on Snapchat! Public Profiles give brands of all sizes a free, permanent identity on Snapchat to house all their unique content. You can not only target your ideal customer via Snapchat ads, but engage with them organically through your Public Profile.

Don't ignore the data

Data is essential to the success of any social media advertising campaign.

Without data — we’re talking swipes, shares, views, clicks, etc. — it would be impossible to accurately track the results of a campaign. Which is a more polite way of saying that spending money on advertising without any way of measuring its effectiveness would be a waste.

Data, in all its various forms, helps inform and guide the decisions that businesses make — particularly when it comes to ad creative. It provides insight into when, where, and how to best reach their target audience. And it helps them understand what kind of content resonates best with which audience, enabling them to create more effective ads that drive better results.

Learn more about Snapchat’s suite of ad measurement tools.

Do or do not…

Snapchat is the place for your business to be for a number of reasons: it's fun, personal, and playful. Undeniably human, too, making it the perfect platform for building awareness, establishing trust, and engaging with a young audience that values connection.

It’s a unique platform, so make sure your ads feel the same, and don't be afraid to experiment with what works and doesn't for your business.

Launch your Snapchat ad now!

1 2021 Global Cassandra Study commissioned by Snap Inc. | Base: Those with a monthly income N=12,710 respondents. Cumulative total of average by market. Spending power for the Snapchat Generation was calculated as follows: We obtained the average monthly income for each respondent. The sum of any expenses related to rent or mortgage, debt, insurance, medical expenses/healthcare, spending money given to others, and utilities was subtracted from this average monthly income. We then multiplied each respondent’s average monthly discretionary spending by 12 to obtain their average yearly discretionary spending and averaged these results within each country across the Snapchat Generation.
2 Snap Inc. internal data Q3 2022. Penetration calculated as monthly active users (MAUs) divided by 2021 population estimates per the 2022 United Nations World Population Prospects.
3 2022 Global Crowd DNA Study commissioned by Snap Inc. | Base: Snapchatters N = 8,100 | Q: Thinking about all apps you use, which of the following things relating to visual messages (e.g. pictures, videos, filters / lenses, emojis / bitmojis) have you ever done? (NET of all codes)