With 187 million daily users and 18 percent of the U.S. social media market share, Snapchat is a powerful online tool. Until 2017, businesses were using the platform for organic outreach alone because the platform did not allow the use of typical social ads. However, this has changed. Today, you can invest in a variety of ad types on the social media platform with the potential to reach millions of engaged consumers. Snapchat ads stand out from the crowd because they allow brand personality to shine through in a way that is often unattainable in a traditional advertisement.
Yet, for all their potential promise, are Snapchat ads really worth it? Any savvy marketer would be cautious to throw money at a novel new ad tool without a reason to be optimistic about ROI. Here's everything you need to know to assess whether Snapchat advertising makes sense.
What Types of Ads Are Available?
If you're going to beg your department head for some earmarked Snapchat funds, you should narrow down which type of ad you're shooting for. The type of ad you lean toward will depend on factors like your budget and the nature of your business. Some of the ad types include:
• Snap Ad Campaigns: Snap ads are designed for mobile video marketing. They require some production, but let your company utilize your brand personality. Optional elements include an interactive game aspect and deep linking to other sites. Brands like Gatorade and Bare Minerals are already using Snap Ad campaigns. Given their cost, they're good for large brands with a young audience but are likely out of reach for small companies.
• Sponsored Geofilters: Geofilters target users in a certain location. You can run a national geofilter or a localized one. These filters let users take a photo framed by your brand logo. They will also share the filtered photo with their followers, who are exposed to your brand. Geofilters can be successful for small businesses new to a neighborhood aiming to gain awareness in the area.
• Snap to Unlock Filters: This type of ad has two parts. A code is placed in a paper ad that, when scanned using Snapchat, unlocks a special filter. Using this kind of ad shows innovation and can create intrigue around your brand. Similarly, you can use a Snap to unlock code that leads to a video ad. This type of ad is very new so it's hard to know how popular it will become, making it a bit riskier than other options.
• Snapchat Discover Ads: The use of Discover ads is a huge financial commitment, but also stands to give you the greatest exposure. These ads get prime display on the Snapchat Discover page, where users go to see what's trending. While it can get you seen, unless you already have a recognizable brand, you're taking a significant gamble given the cost.
• Sponsored Lenses: Lenses are the fun animated elements that users can add to a picture to give themselves a dog tongue or party hat. Sponsoring a lens gives users the chance to take and share photos that promote your brand in an organic way. As opposed to filters, which frame the image, lenses interact with the user's face and are more playful. These ads are great for promoting new media like a movie, but they are out of reach cost-wise for most companies.
How Much Do Snapchat Ads Cost?
The full suite of ad offerings from Snapchat range in price from a few bucks to thousands of dollars. In short, there is an option for anyone. You can get a Geofilter ad going for as little as $5, or spend a few thousand dollars to expand the parameters. Sponsored lenses, on the other end of the spectrum, will cost six figures per day. Discover ads are somewhere in between, often in the five figures.
How Can You Measure Ad ROI?
It's important to know how you'll measure your return on investment. Fortunately, the company is making progress in regards to its ROI transparency. In mid-2017, Snapchat unveiled its The Snap MMM Partner Program, which gives you greater access to tools that measure how well your ads are working. According to early research, "In seven retail campaigns measured by Nielsen Buyer Insights, Snapchat drove an average sales lift (in total spend per household) of 7.0 percent." Year over year from 2016 to 2017, Snapchat moved from not even being ranked to No. 6 "highest ROI for the non-gaming category" on the Singular ROI Index for mobile ads. There are 15 measurement tools available to you through the Snap MMM Partner Program to track your own returns.
What's the Latest With Snapchat Ads?
Snapchat has been altering its ad scheme to benefit businesses while weighing user needs. For instance, in early 2018 the company announced it may force users to sit through at least three seconds of an ad before they can skip. This increases your chances of ROI on your ads. It also continues to play around with new ad formats, recently adding features like Snap to unlock codes and letting users create unofficial Snapisodes and other unique types of ads using the existing features.
So are Snapchat ads right for your business? Nearly half of Snapchat users are in the coveted demographic of women between the ages of 18 and 34, making it appealing for most brands. With small-budget options available and improved ROI tracking, exploring the ads makes sense for most companies with a young consumer demographic, as these users expect brands to be present on the newest social media platforms.