Social media has grown into a dominant business tool as marketers have increasingly realised its potential for reaching key audiences. Today, 74% of businesses believe social media is a key component to their marketing strategy, with 2.77 billion people expected to use social platforms worldwide by 2019.

But investing in social media requires careful planning. Different platforms and ad formats can present challenges for all kinds of advertisers. Snapchat, which represents a newer direction in social media, is no different.

In a crowded social media landscape, Snapchat presents itself as a way to communicate with friends through photos and videos, while exploring content from publishers around the world. With 180 million users and growing, it’s become an attractive platform for brands to reach and engage consumers.

Snap first launched its ad business in mid 2015, so advertising on the platform is not only relatively new, it’s also constantly evolving. And the introduction of new advertising products and buy models can make it difficult for marketers to choose the right type of Snapchat ad for their business. Moreover, gaining insight into Snapchat performance is critical at a time when advertisers are under constant pressure to prove ROI.

So, how can marketers ensure they are getting the most value from their investments in Snapchat? Let’s take a look at some of the basics behind a successful Snapchat advertising strategy.

Understand all advertising options

Snapchat advertising comes in a variety of formats, including Snap Ads, Story Ads, Filters and Lenses. Snap Ads are full-screen video campaigns designed to drive traffic to a website or installs of an app. Story Ads enable advertisers to reach audiences using a branded tile and typically consist of a collection of up to twenty Snaps. Both Snap Ads and Story Ads generally air at higher impression levels and over longer periods of time.

Filters and Lenses, on the other hand, are typically shorter executions. Filters are illustrated overlays that can vary depending on where a user is located and what they are doing, whereas Lenses are a type of interactive filter that use Augmented Reality to alter a user’s appearance or their surroundings. A campaign launched by Netflix is a good example. Using Snapchat’s World Lens feature, Netflix gave audiences the ability to turn their surroundings into the Stranger Things world for an augmented experience ahead of the show’s second series.

Each type of ad has distinctly different user experiences and media delivery. Understanding the nuances and varied levels of saturation of each Snapchat ad type are essential for developing the optimal media plan.

Execute and evaluate wisely

Snapchat advertising has great potential, but just like any other marketing activity, execution is critical. Success requires a clear understanding of marketing objectives, as well as the audience that’s being targeted. The more Snap campaigns resonate with consumers, the more powerful they will become. At the same time, too many ads can hurt a brand’s reputation. Ads should be scheduled thoughtfully to avoid unnecessary overlap, diminishing returns, and burnout.

Consumer responses will also depend on how well Snapchat campaigns work alongside all of a brand’s communications. Marketers must therefore evaluate their channel mix accordingly. Faced with tightening budgets, marketers must be able to identify and source funds from underperforming media if they want to improve results without increasing their overall spend.

Use marketing mix modelling to measure results and optimise for success

One way in which advertisers can make smarter, fact-based budget allocation decisions on Snapchat is through marketing mix modelling. This measurement approach calculates the total effect that every marketing channel has on sales and other performance metrics, while controlling for external factors that can impact business performance, such as weather and holidays. When done correctly, marketing mix modelling enables marketers to assess the incremental value of all their investments, including Snap. Marketers can then leverage those results to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their spend in the platform and across their entire marketing mix.

As one of the fastest growing platforms, marketers can no longer afford to ignore Snapchat as a way to connect with consumers. But understanding advertising options, executing against defined goals and audiences, and measuring performance properly is crucial to success. By following these basic guidelines, marketers can start taking advantage of Snap’s new and innovative ad formats, improve their execution, and get the most out of their investments.

Wayne St. Amand

Wayne St. Amand


Wayne St. Amand is the CMO of Visual IQ