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Snapchat Ads: The Complete Guide for Business

Snapchat Ads

Snapchat Ads

Snapchat has quickly become one of the most prominent and used social media platforms for the younger 13-34-year-old demographic. Up until recently, companies have avoided advertising on this platform due to its makeup. The majority of posts and videos uploading to a social account disappear after a short period of time, which limits the potential impact of publicized marketing material. However, as the network, according to Snapchat For Business (2017), reaches 41 percent of every U.S. citizen within this age demographic on a daily basis, it provides a valuable marketing opportunity without as much competition as social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Due to the variations found in Snapchat not found in other social outlets though, it’s important for businesses to understand exactly how to create and drive traffic from a successful Snapchat advertisement. From start to finish, here is the complete guide for business beginners in the world of Snapchat.

Snap Ads


On Snapchat, there are different advertisement options. The platform itself allows a user to publish an image or a 10-second video. Subscribers can view the content for a 24-hour period. As it is a mobile social platform, a user scrolls through the different images and videos from accounts that have posted content.

The first kind of advertisement is a “Snap Ad.” This works in a similar manner to a traditional video uploading to Snapchat from a standard account. When the video goes live, a viewer has the ability to swipe “Up” while viewing the video. When they swipe up and provide additional information. This added information includes up to a 10-minute video, connected blog post or another way for the subscriber to interact with the brand.

The benefit of this kind of ad is it works just like a regular post on Snapchat. When setting up the advertisement within the Snapchat Business account, there are a few select options. The business creating the Snap ad can have the image/video appear in between posts from other subscribers. This way, it runs alongside content from friends, family, and other accounts the individual subscribes to.  

A “Premium Ad” option opens up additional features. This allows the image/video to load on the Stories portion of Snapchat. These posts last longer than 24 hours. When selecting the different specifics for the advertisement, the business can check off the “Sequenced Messaging” tab. This allows the business to upload multiple 10-second videos back to back and have it run in a chain. There are times where a single Ad doesn’t fit in a short, 10-second window. By selecting the Sequenced Message option, the business can then check off multiple videos from their device (or record multiple videos directly through the app) and upload the content.

The Sequenced Messaging adoption does cost more than a standard Snap Ad, but depending on the kind of material a business is advertising, this feature is necessary (and beneficial).

Sponsored Lens Ads


The other kind of advertising option is known as a Sponsored Lens.

One of the biggest traffic driving factors with social media is to create a something trendy. In other words, when another social media user sees what another user is doing, they want to take advantage of the same trending feature. Facebook, for example, allows companies to create special image frames for profile pictures. A user can then use the image frame and apply it to a picture. This way, whenever the user interacts with others, it shows off the frame, increasing a company’s outreach. The same can happen with Snapchat.

Snapchat uses what is known as a “lens.” This is ultimately a filter or special feature applied to images. A “puppy dog” lens is a feature that applies puppy ears to the head of a people within the Snapchat application. Taco Bell, for example, created a lens that turned a person’s head into a taco. This becomes extremely popular. Well-designed and trendy lenses that catch on have the potential to reach more Snapchat users than a regular Snap Ad. It also takes additional design features.

There are several third-party Snapchat design programs available for a business to take advantage of this service. A skilled social media marketer should know how to use and build Snapchat lenses as well.

Once the lens is built a company can log into their Snapchat account, select the custom lens option, and choose to upload their created lens to the platform. Once on the platform, anyone can use it. A standard user can search for lenses in the “Lenses” menu and use the company’s crafted lens. These lenses can do anything from changing background visuals to animating the person’s face or altering their voice. Often times, the wackier the lens (such as the Taco Bell taco face) the more of an impact it has.

How to Setup a Snapchat Advertising Account (and Create Advertisements)


Prior to creating a Snapchat advertisement, a business needs to create a Snapchat Advertising account. To begin, the business must log into its account (if the company doesn’t have an account yet they can download the application and follow the set-up steps).

With the account ready, the business needs to head over to the For Business page. Here, the user must enter their Snap account information and then choose to fill in their business details.

Once the business account information is locked in, payment information must be included. This can include credit card or debit card. Snapchat does allow an “established line of credit,” although this limits spending options and can delay advertisements going live.

With payment, insights saved the Ad Manager page will load. This includes the large dashboard, a tab for a “Creative Library,” which is where all new ads, saved drafts, and other created material is stored. There’s also a “Help Center” and a “Custom Audience” tab, which allows for the creation of ads and filters for a select location and demographics.  

To create a new advertisement, the user must click on the “New Campaign” option and then select “Choose a Campaign Objective.” This asks if a business wants to push individuals to the company website, increase video views, boost subscribers, grow awareness or a few other desirable goals.

It’s important to remember that when creating a Snapchat advertisement, the minimum daily amount spent is $100.  While in this portion of the page, the user will type in a name for the given campaign, select a designated location or target audience and when they want the ad to run. There are other insights and demographical information to choose from here to fine-tune the advertisement.

It’s now ready to create the ad. The user can upload an image or choose “Click + New Creative” and use their phone to produce new tills and video right then and there. Once created, they can choose if they want the ad to be Top Snap, which is the 10-second standard video, a Web view, which offers a swipe-up option in addition to 10-second video. An “App Install” option, which allows a user to download content directly from the add, or the “Long Form Video,” which allows the individual to upload up to 10 minutes in playback time.

The user can then publish the ad or save the advertisement and wait for it to go live during the designated time period (Social Media Examiner, 2017).

Geofilters and Sponsored Geofilters


As the names suggest, geofilters are geographically unlocked filters designed for a specific time or place. For example, someone attending a sporting event may have limited time access to a filter based off of the activity (such as someone having access to a Los Angeles Dodgers filter when attending a Dodgers baseball game). These filters generally are available for a limited time. Due to the limited nature of the filter, Snapchat users within the given geographic area may want to promote their page using the filters. It showcases their location with a unique filter not available to other Snapchat users.

When creating geofilters the overlay (which may be nothing more than a special icon stamped over a picture or video), these specially targeted filters can be limited down to half a city block and available for only an hour. This makes it great for a specialized, local event.

How to Create a Custom Geofilter


According to Hootsuite (2018), the first step is to create the geofilter ahead of time. Snapchat does provide a handful of available templates. When in the editing template on the business Snapchat page, a user can edit the text, location, color and a few other basic settings.

There is an image upload option. This is useful for uploading a logo or other special visual to go into the geofilter. The image needs to be 1080 by 1920 pixels while under 300KB and saved as a .png with a transparent background (Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator are two beneficial tools, although there is also a free software called GIMP that allows for the creation and saving of these file types.

It’s important to note Snapchat does not allow photographs of people, contact information (such as emails, phone numbers or email addresses), no hashtags, drug-related content or anything of this nature.

After the visual has been loaded, Snapchat will ask for a set time period. The user can choose a specific day (or time frame), including the exact available and concluding time in the day.\

One of this is saved, a user can choose the geofence for the filter. This is the location a user must be in to gain access to the geofilter. A map will load onto the Snapchat display. The user can select and drag points on a map to highlight the area they wish to give access to the filter.\

The final step is to pay for the filter. The payment will vary based on length of time the filter is available and the location.


Snapchat continues to grow in popularity for the 13-24 demographic. While there are some shortcomings without the social media platform, including the limited visibility window, due to its provided access and the ability to connect with the younger age range, companies need to take advantage of Snapchat ads. By following through with these tips, tricks, and instructions, any business, regardless of company type, has the ability to excel in marketing material on the social platform.

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