December 09, 2022
December 09, 2022

How to Create a Social Media Ad (2022)

Social media platforms, including Snapchat, allow you to create additional ways to communicate with your customers. From sharing new products and services to advertising flash sales and seasonal events, engaging with new and existing customers across social media platforms can be a useful way to promote your business.

While you can certainly create a free business account across many social media platforms (including Snapchat), to take full advantage of a social media platform’s audience, at some point you may want to consider creating paid advertisements. Luckily for you, advertising on social media platforms like Snapchat is easier than ever before.

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through how to hit the ground running with paid social media advertising. We’ve divided this post into four sections for your convenience:

Man working on his laptop in a cafe

Do the foundational work first

Decide where to advertise

When deciding where to start paid advertising, it’s important to research the various platforms your customer base (or prospective customers) are most active on and decide where to advertise. Many social media ad platforms offer similar functionality with ad objectives, audience creation, and so forth.

Some ad platforms also offer the opportunity to reach a specific kind of audience. For example, 9 out of 10 young people are on Snapchat. In addition, a majority of daily Snapchatters between ages 16 and older don’t use Twitter every day, and nearly half of these users don’t use TikTok either..

Snapchat has all the ad tools you need to reach the young people who use it, including:

  • Ad objectives across the funnel, along with different kinds of ad formats for each one

  • The Snap Pixel, which will help you understand activity on your website and optimize your ads for specific actions like purchases or filling out a lead form

  • The ability to integrate a product catalog to display products in ads

  • Mobile app integration, so you can drive installs as well as in-app activity

  • Advanced bidding strategies (or use the defaults)

Choose who you want to reach with your social media ads

Most ad platforms have a variety of ways to create audiences you can target with your ads.

  • Select the age range, gender, and location(s) of your typical customers

  • Define the interests of your customers

  • Gather any customer lists you have, since many social media platforms, including Snapchat, let you upload them to create audiences for your ads.

  • If you have a website and plan on sending customers there, install the relevant social media Pixel on your site. (Learn how to get started with Snap Pixel today.)

  • Check out the audience creation tool for the platform you chose to see if you can create any audiences in advance, which will speed up the ad creation process.

Determine the ad creative (text and images/videos) you want to use in your social media ads

It’s crucial to identify early what your objective is (i.e. what you want to achieve), whether it’s getting more purchases, driving awareness of your products and services, or something else. Develop creative content with text and imagery that have that objective in mind.

At Snapchat, our 5 Golden Rules to Creative are:

  1. Keep Ads Short — Get your message across in the first 3 seconds. Always have your logo visible.

  2. Style it like UGC — Style your content like user-generated content (UGC) by filming with a phone and talking directly to the camera.

  3. Encourage An Action — Encourage people to take an action, such as Click or presenting an option to buy with an appropriate CTA (call to action).

  4. Consider Audio — Two-thirds of Snaps are playing with sound on. Use sound to capture attention or as a call to action.

  5. Focus on One Message — Have one clear hero message for your product or brand.

Many of these rules also apply to other social media platforms, but above all else: pay attention to the specs required by the social media platform you’re advertising on. Images and videos will likely need to be a certain aspect ratio at a specific resolution, text shouldn’t exceed a specific character count, and the files you upload shouldn’t exceed a maximum file size. For Snapchat specific ad specs, take a look at our business help center article.

Decide how much you want to spend and for how long

When you decide how much you want to spend, keep in mind that most advertising platforms grant you control over how your account spends your budget. With Snapchat’s Ads Manager, you have full control of how your account spends your budget, allowing you to set daily and lifetime spend caps, as well as start and stop ads any time.

Keep in mind that most ad platforms, including Snapchat, have a learning phase (Snapchat calls it an exploration phase) during which machine learning is used to determine who in your audience is more receptive to your ad, so the ad delivery system can show it to more people like them. The time it takes to exit the learning phase will ultimately affect the success of your ad as well as how your budget is spent, so make sure you decide on a budget and schedule that has some lead time for this learning phase. Snapchat, for example, recommends at least $30 a day for a minimum of 15 days to get through our exploration phase and achieve optimal results.

Decide how you will measure success

Success can be measured in a variety of ways once you have an active advertising campaign. At a high level, you should look at general metrics like impressions and clicks for your ads to get a general sense of how they’re doing.

Further, consider the following:

  • A website pixel can help you correlate site activity with sales or other outcomes, so you can see if your online sales ad is working.

  • If you’re trying to get more awareness, you’ll want to focus on getting your ad in front of as many people as possible versus focusing on something like sales.

  • Many ad platforms, including Snapchat, allow you to set up A/B tests that can tell you which ad creative performs better with your audience, or which audience is more receptive to your ad. Keep in mind, A/B testing options typically are set up in the beginning of ad creation, so you will need to have your options prepared ahead of time.

Create Ads widget in Snapchat Ads Manager

Create your ad

Ready to create an ad?

Typically with most advertising platforms on social media, there are three levels to ad creation that you will need to complete in order to hit that publish button. These are: Campaign, Ad Set, and Ad levels.

  • The Campaign level is where you will set your objective.

  • The Ad Set level is where you will select your budget and audience.

  • The Ad level is where you set up your ad creative.

If you’re using Snapchat, we recommend using Advanced Create as it offers the widest array of options.

At the Campaign level, choose an objective that aligns with your goal

  • In case you need help deciding which objective is most relevant to your business, Snapchat has a guide to help you choose the right one.

  • While choosing your objective, also give your ad campaign a distinctive name, so you can easily find it when looking at your results later.

  • This stage of the setup is where you will typically set up your A/B test.

At the Ad Set level, set budget and duration and select an audience

Many platforms, including Snapchat, allow you to set daily and lifetime caps on spending, so you have complete control over your ad budget. While recommended budgets across social media platforms may vary, for best results on Snapchat we recommend a minimum of $30 a day for at least 15 days.

Most platforms, including Snapchat, allow you to select age range, gender, location, and interests as part of your targeting selections. Typically at this stage, you can choose one or more of the audiences you’ve already created.

With Snapchat, you can include and exclude audiences at this stage. For example, if you’re trying to find new customers, you may want to exclude an audience that consists of people who have already made purchases from your business.

Finally, with most social media ad platforms, they will give you the option to customize your bidding strategy or leave it to a default setting. We recommend keeping the default setting selected, unless you’re comfortable manually setting up advanced bidding strategies. Snapchat also offers the choice of a goal-based bidding, which varies by objective. (You can learn more about goal-based bidding here.)

At the Ad level, create your ad

This level is where you will decide on your final creative:

  • Choose an ad format, which can vary by platform. If you’re just starting on Snapchat, we recommend a single image or video.

  • Write a headline and any other text, such as a brand name.

  • Select your ad image or video. (Specific aspect ratios for these vary from platform to platform. You can find Snapchat-specific guidance on our Business Help Center.)

  • Choose your Call to Action (CTA), such as Shop Now, Order Now, or Sign Up.

Person holding a phone that shows a Hi Cola Snapchat ad

Launch and track your ad

Click the final button to launch your ad

There will likely be a review process that could take up to 24 hours before your ad is live on the social media platform of your choosing. Once your ad is running, it is important to make sure that your pixel (if installed previously) is adequately collecting data.

Use your dashboard to view the progress of your ad

Most social media platforms, including Snapchat, have dashboards where you can view your ad campaign performance. On Snapchat, there is a Manage Ads dashboard located in Snapchat Ads Manager, which lets you check out the primary results from your ad, as well as dig deeper into more specific metrics. You can learn more about managing campaigns in Snapchat Ads Manager here.

When your ad ends, check your results

Once you have completed your ad campaign, take some time to see what worked and what didn’t. To create truly successful advertisements across social media platforms, it’s crucial to take test and learn, equipping yourself with learnings from previous campaigns when you create your next campaign. This will help you create momentum with your advertising efforts, no matter where you decide to run them next.

Get started with Snapchat ads

The ad creation process we walked through above is what you will see when you use our Advanced Create feature in Snapchat Ads Manager. If you want to learn even more about Snapchat Ads, take a look at our Get Started page.

Happy advertising!