A couple of years ago, Snapchat advertising was expensive, costing businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ads could only be purchased through Snap’s sales team or third-party ad tools that often charged a fee.
But thanks to Snap Inc.’s new self-service Ad Manager, businesses of all sizes and budgets are now able to advertise on Snapchat. Instead of working through an auction partner like before, businesses can now buy and manage their ads through the Snapchat site or app.
In this Snapchat Ad Manager guide, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about Snapchat’s new Ad Manager, including reviewing Snapchat ad types, why you should use these ads, how you can sign up for Ad Manager, create Snapchat ads with the tool, manage and view performance metrics for your ads, and how Snapchat’s Ad Manager compares to ad management tools from competitors.
Ready? Let’s get started.
The 3 Types of Snapchat Ads
Snapchat currently offers three primary types of ads: Sponsored Lenses, Sponsored Geofilters, and Snap Ads.
If you’ve used Snapchat before, you’re probably familiar with Lenses and Geofilters since they’re the most popular types of Snapchat advertising. Some companies have seen great success using them for advertising—most notably, Taco Bell, in a massive campaign for Cinco de Mayo that was viewed 224 million times.
The breakdown of what these different Snapchat ad types offer can get confusing, so here’s a quick guide to help you understand the formats and pricing for each ad.
What is it: An illustrated overlay that captures where you are and what you’re up to. They can be added to privately-sent photos and videos or publicly-shared posts in Stories.
What can be added to it: When you buy directly from a Snapchat sales team rep, you can add a Smart Geofilter to connect the ad to specific locations. When people use Snapchat within the geographical region that you’ve selected, the option to use your filter will appear when they take a photo or video.
What is it: A filter that alters your face or surrounding in real time with animations.
How do I buy it: Lenses can be purchased directly from Snapchat’s sales team.
What can be added to it: Add World Lenses, which are filters that let users trigger and interact with 3D graphics.
What is it: Vertical videos that run up to ten seconds and are shown with Snapchat’s original Shows, curated Our Stories, media companies’ Publisher Stories and between peoples’ publicly posted Stories.
How do I buy it: Snap Ads can be purchased from the Snapchat sales team, through its advertising API, and now, through Snapchat’s self-serve Ad Manager.
This is the new format that Snapchat is letting you start using as a small business.
What can be added to it: Snap Ads can include three types of attachments that are purchased through the Ad Manager.
- App Install: links user to app installation page on Apple or Google’s app store
- Long-form video: a video teaser that can be swiped up to view a longer version of the video
- Web view: opens to a mobile web page
The introduction of Snapchat’s self-serve Ad Manager is a huge deal because businesses can now buy Snap Ads at affordable prices directly from the Snapchat site.
Up until a few months ago, businesses could only purchase the three Snapchat ad types from Snapchat sales reps or through third-party software providers that work through Snapchat’s advertising API.
As a business, you couldn’t start using Snap Ads unless you were spending a minimum of $1000 per day. Now, with Snapchat’s Ad Manager, you can pay per thousand impressions, or pay per goal—ad units you’ll be familiar with if you’ve run Facebook or Instagram Ads. No more minimum spend—no more need for a line of credit. Snapchat ads are open to the little guys.
The Benefits of Snapchat Ads
While Snapchat’s stock price may not be living up to everyone’s highest expectations, Snapchat’s advertising program has some interesting elements that—depending on your business—might be worth taking advantage of.
Measure Engagement By Region
For businesses that can afford Geofilters, for instance, they can be an effective way to boost and measure sales by region—and Snapchat has some powerful geographical targeting features that can be a good way to drive foot traffic.
For example, Wendy’s used sponsored geofilters to promote their jalapeño chicken sandwich. Within a seven day period, their Snap Ads resulted in a confirmed 42,000 people visiting Wendy’s restaurants.
Recognizing the power of using Geofilters to increase foot traffic, Snapchat released a dashboard for users that calculates incremental visitors and visitation, plus demographics like age, gender, and region. So in the case of the Wendy’s Geofilter, the restaurant chain could break down their 42,000 visitors by their geographic location.
Along with using Geofilter ad data to understand traffic at multiple locations, Snapchat Geofilters are a great way to boost traffic at individual locations.
As an example, the Bungalow — a popular seaside California bar with two locations — created two Geofilters that could be only used at its locations.
The result? Over 300,000 views and a 30% conversion rate. Over one in three people who saw the Bungalow filter at their locations used it, allowing the bar to widely promote their brand.
Boost App Installs
For businesses with young, tech-savvy audiences, Snapchat is one of the most effective advertising platforms for encouraging app installs.
Using the App Install attachment with a Snap Ad, businesses can prompt users to swipe up on the ad, directing the user to an app installation page.
After launching their Snap Ads App Install campaign, Acorns — a business that helps people invest their spare change — saw their highest view-to-install ratio ever.
Getting these results from Snap Ads is cheaper and easier than ever before now that Snapchat Ad Manager has been released.
Keep reading to learn about signing up for the new tool and all of its awesome ad creation and performance metrics features.
How to Sign Up for Snapchat’s Ad Manager in 5 minutes
Snapchat’s new Ad Manager is free with no markup, making it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to advertise on Snapchat.
On top of being inexpensive, signing up for the tool is quick and easy. You just log in here with your Snapchat account info and are prompted to enter in your business information.
Once you’ve entered in your business info, you’re all signed up for Snapchat’s Ad Manager.
Snapchat gives you the option to enter in your credit card information after entering business information, though it’s not mandatory.
Being able to pay via credit card is another cool way the Ad Manager makes Snapchat advertising more accessible. Before, Snapchat Ads had to be paid with a credit line.
Snapchat Ad Campaigns: Ad sets vs Ads
Before you can start measuring ad results, you have to create a Snapchat Ad from the Ad Manager portal.
Snapchat’s ad creation tools allow users to structure their campaigns in a way that is measurable and testable, so businesses are able to determine which ads are the most effective.
To get started, you click “Create Campaign” from the Ad Manager portal.
You’re then prompted to select a campaign objective:
- drive traffic to my website
- drive installs of my app
- drive awareness
- drive video views
To pick an objective, you have to decide what you want a user to do when they see your Snap Ad. Whatever the answer is, that’s your objective.
You also set a campaign schedule, which can be either starting immediately with an indefinite run, or setting a start and end date.
The last campaign step is coming up with a name. To stay organized, it might be helpful to come up with a naming convention for your campaigns. Like…
(Client name) – (Objective) – (Schedule)
Click “Next” to move on to your Ad Set creation.
How to Create A Snapchat Ad Set
On this page, you choose your ad set audience, budget, and schedule.
Your ad set audience is created based on your selections from five categories:
- Geography: You select a single country and the areas within it that you want to target.
- Demographics: Select audiences by age, gender, language, and advanced demographic categories, like household income.
- Audiences: Choose audiences by their consumer behavior and lifestyles, plus you can choose custom audiences that are built from your Snapchat customer lists or groups that are similar to your Snapchat customers.
- Placements: Choose whether you want your ad in all of Snapchat or just delivered to Snapchat’s curated content (Snapchat’s stories, Publisher’s stories, and Shows).
- Devices: Select which operating system, connection type, and carrier that you want to target.
The next “Budget and Goals” selection lets you choose your daily budget, goal (swipe up, app install, impression), and bid amount.
Snapchat charges based on the number of times the ad is shown, not based on your goal progress. It does optimize your ad delivery for your goal action and bid amount though.
The final ad set step of choosing your schedule includes the same two options as campaign schedules — start immediately and run indefinitely, or set start and end dates. If you’d like, ad sets can have shorter schedules than their campaigns.
With these details set, you’re now ready to start designing your ad!
How to Create A Snap Ad
After filling out basic ad info, choose from four Snapchat Ad types:
- Top Snap only: video that doesn’t include an attachment
- Web view: an attachment to drive traffic to your website
- App install: an attachment that links to an app installation page
- Long-form video: a video teaser that can be swiped up to view a longer version of the video
Once you’ve selected your ad type, you fill in basic ad info and upload or create your ad content.
Depending on the ad type you’ve chosen, you may have to fill out additional info.
How to Use Snap Publisher
If you don’t have a media file, or vertical video handy, you can use Snapchat’s awesome Snap Publisher tool. Just click “Create” next to Media File, and you’ll be redirected to Snap Publisher.
What makes Snap Publisher an especially effective tool is its organization of templates by goal: drive installs, drive traffic, drive views, and drive awareness. Not to mention, the templates are all stunning.
Once you’ve uploaded your ad content, run your campaign by clicking “Launch Campaign.” Your ad campaign is now ready!
Snapchat’s Ad Manager Dashboard
You’ve launched your Snapchat Ad — now it’s time to see how it performs.
You can quickly and easily view ad performance metrics either on the Ad Manager portal on Snapchat’s site or on the app’s Mobile Dashboard.
Across all campaign objectives, the most commonly shown metrics are your basic:
- Spend: the total amount spent on the campaign to date
- Impressions: the total number of times your ad was viewed
- eCPM: average cost per thousand impressions
Some metrics are more unique to objectives, like swipe ups or video views. For these, Snapchat offers a handy metrics glossary, excerpted below:
- Completions: # of Snaps watched to 97% of their duration
- Average Screen Time: how long people spent watching your ad across all impressions
- eCPV (effective cost per video view): The average cost per qualified video view, with a view counting as 2 seconds of watching or a swipe up, whichever comes first
- Swipe Ups: # of times people swiped up to view your attachment
- Swipe Up Rate: average # of swipes per impression as percentage
- eCPSU: effective cost per swipe up
From the Ad Manager Dashboard view, you can also view results by date range.
And in the lower “Results” portion of the Dashboard view, results can be broken down into individual campaigns, ad sets, or all ads.
You can also export any data that you want—you can customize the metrics that you want to see, the duration of time for which you’d like the report, and export the result as a CSV or PDF:
Snapchat also offers a Mobile Dashboard on the app for accessing ad performance metrics on the go.
From the app, you can get notifications about performance metrics and review live performance metrics. The same metrics categories that are displayed on the Ad Manager site’s Dashboard view are displayed on the app.
From the Mobile Dashboard, you can also review pending, rejected and completed ads, not just active ones.
To access these metrics on the app, tap on Snap Ads under Settings and select your company account.
Snapchat’s Ad Manager vs. Facebook Ad Manager
Snapchat’s new self-serve analytics tools are definitely an improvement from their weak in-app metrics and third-party monitoring tools from before.
But how do Snapchat’s ad analytics stack up against competitors?
Let’s take a look.
Both Facebook and Instagram ad metrics are viewed on the Facebook Ad Manager, a tool that can be used either through a browser or through the Ads Manager app.
Facebook Ads Manager and Snapchat’s Ad Manager share a lot of the same useful features:
- campaigns are automatically optimized for the goals you choose during ad creation
- relevant performance metrics are displayed based on your campaign objective
- results can be viewed over a date range
- columns in ad reports can be customized to view different metrics
Facebook’s Ad Manager is a bit more robust in regards to metrics since it allows users to breakdown their reports into even more advanced metrics, like age, gender, and time of day. Snapchat lets users target specialized categories when creating an ad, but its reporting columns still don’t show these advanced metrics.
For viewing ad metrics on-the-go, Snapchat has an advantage over Facebook by making the Mobile Dashboard accessible through the Snapchat app. With Facebook, you have to visit a separate Ads Manager app to view ad metrics. Having marketers access their metrics through the Snapchat app is a great way for businesses to stay familiar with the user experience on Snapchat.
We’re a tool that helps with managing and optimizing Facebook ads, but (shameless plug!) we still think some of our features would be a great boost for Snapchat’s Ad Manager.
Our tagging feature allows users to add tags to their ad campaigns so they can see performance metrics for each one. You can assign tags to things like a project or customer, and easily see how much you’re spending and what results you’re generating for each tag.
Snapchat currently doesn’t allow users to tag campaigns, but adding the feature would be a great way to help businesses stay more organized with their ad campaigns.
Snapchat and AdEspresso both offer engagement analytics (the Swipe Up metric on Snapchat) that measure what users are doing after they click on your ad. Visiting your website? Downloading your app?
AdEspresso takes engagement analytics a step further though by providing users with an engagement score based on your engagement progress in comparison to competitors in your market. Adding an engagement score (maybe a “Swipe Up” score?) to Snapchat’s Ad Manager would help users understand how their Swipe Up measurement stacks up against competitors.
The Next Steps
Advertising on Snapchat has never been easier with the launch of their self-serve Ad Manager. Signing up is free and takes less than five minutes, making it friendly for businesses of all sizes and budgets.
Snapchat’s ad analytics tools do have room for growth, but the new Ad Manager and Mobile Dashboard are still exciting additions for businesses. Unlike Snapchat’s old advertising practices that were expensive and time-consuming, the new tools make ad creation and monitoring metrics easy and goal-driven for better campaign results.
What do you think? Do you think Snapchat’s new advertising features will boost campaign results for businesses? Share your thoughts, comments, and experiences in the comments below!