Strategy

When it comes to creating snap ads, the little ghost has your back. Snapchat distributes quite a bit of information to help advertisers find success on their platform. In this post, we’re consolidating their tips along with the insights from veteran users to give you an all-in-one guide to Snapchat ad strategy and campaign optimization. Let’s get into it. 

How to create a Snapchat Ad strategy from scratch 

When you start out, you’ll set up your campaign similar to how you would with Facebook ads. It goes like this: campaign > ad set > ad. You can have multiple ad sets in one campaign and multiple ads in one ad set. 

The Snapchat ads manager doesn’t save your work halfway through. If you start creating an ad, make sure you have time to finish it. The last thing you want is to waste time creating ads that only the Snapchat ghost will end up seeing. 

Instant Create vs Advanced Create

Choose your campaign objective

With Instant Create, you can build a single ad in under 5 minutes. It’s a solid option for beginners. 

Instant Create advertising goal options

For more detailed targeting options, you’ll want to opt for Advanced Create. 

Choosing a campaign objective in Instant Create is as easy as clicking one of the 5 options in the screenshot above. With Advanced Create, the options are a bit more thorough. Here’s what that looks like:

When choosing your campaign objective, think about what you want your audience to do when they swipe up on your snap ad. Choose from the following options:

Awareness

  • Awareness
  • Promote Places

Consideration

  • App installs
  • Drive traffic to website
  • Drive traffic to app
  • Engagement 
  • Video views
  • Lead generation

Conversions

  • App conversion: Drive specific actions on your app.
  • Website conversions: Drive specific actions on your site.
  • Catalog sales: Drive sales on your chosen product catalog.

You can find out which ad types are available for each objective here.

Once your campaign objective is set, choose a start and end date (or just a start date, if you plan on running the campaign indefinitely) and set your daily and lifetime spend caps. Campaign spend caps must be at least $20.

On the next page, you’ll name your Ad Set then attach Snap Pixel and Snap App ID Tracking. Snap Pixel is a tool that helps you measure your campaign’s cross-device impact. This means you’ll be able to track the actions Snapchatters take on your site after seeing this ad. Snap App ID tracks actions snapchatters take in your mobile app after seeing your ad. Using this feature unlocks additional targeting benefits like Mobile App Custom Audiences, App Re-engagement Optimization Goals, or SKAdNetwork. 

Right under that is where you pick your ad set budget and schedule. The daily budget minimum is $5. Then you have the option to pick your placements. Snapchat recommends choosing automatic placement, but here’s what it looks like to customize:

Instant Create Audience Targeting

Select the appropriate demographics for your campaign. Here, you’ll specify your audience by gender, age, and language. Next, you pick the location(s) you want to target. 

Click “Show Advanced Targeting” to view the final two targeting sections: “Interests and Custom Audiences” and “Devices”. 

“Lifestyles” and “Visitors” are the two Snapchat Lifestyle Categories within the Interests and Custom Audiences section. According to Snapchat, these are “Audiences that have been built and packaged using Snapchat and Third-Party Data, allowing you to reach people based on their online and real-world interests and behaviors.” 

  • Lifestyle categories are created based on what the users are most interested in according to what media they consume.
  • Visitors are categories based on where the users go on their mobile devices.

There are a lot of options to choose from, so spend a good bit of time scrolling through and designing the audience that best fits your target customer base.

Last up is device targeting. You can pick between android and iOS, cellular or wifi, and specific device makes. This is only relevant in some situations, like if your app is only available for iOS. Otherwise, clicking “All” is your best bet. 

Advanced Create targeting options

In addition to demographics offered in Instant Create, you also get to choose a household income, education level, and marital/parental status.

The biggest difference between the two is the Interests and Custom Audiences section. With Advanced Create, you can pick from Predefined Audiences or create custom audiences from scratch. Predefined audiences are the Lifestyle and Visitor categories available in Instant Create.

Custom Audiences can be created using Snap Audience Match (CRM Lists), Snap Engagement Audience, and Lookalikes. You can choose to deselect the option to expand your audience automatically to optimize performance if you want, but it’s automatically selected based on Snapchat’s recommendations

When you click the “Create Audience” button, you’re taken to a page where you choose from one of 3 options: 

  • Custom Audience
  • Lookalike Audience: Choose a seed audience, a location, then a Lookalike type. 
  • Similarity: Matches your seed audience the best, but is smaller. 
  • Balance: Mid-sized audience that balances resemblance and reach.
  • Reach: Larger audience that prioritizes reach by broadening resemblance to the seed audience. 
  • Saved Audience: This option takes you to the Audience Insights page. Here, you can customize your audience and then save or export. You can also click through a visual representation of the audience you create. 

In addition to the operating system, device make, and connection type, Advanced Create also allows you to target specific mobile carriers. 

Here are some best practices to keep in mind: 

  • Keep your audience size under 20 million people per ad creative (be warned: a minimum audience size of 1,000 is required to run an ad). 
  • Create one ad set per unique audience. 
  • Use the Lookalike Audience feature to find new customers. 
  • A/B test ad sets with a specific audience by running multiple ads with unique creative assets.

Choose your budget and goal

Now’s the time to pick your daily budget, goal, and bid. 

Auto-bid will get you the lowest CPC if you’re new to Snap ads. If you plan to choose a bid amount, go with whatever you’re willing to pay to get the action you want.

With Advanced Create, you’ll adjust your per-ad budget in the Delivery section. The options change based on your goal, but here’s what it looks like if you choose “Swipe Up”:

While Snapchat recommends auto-bid, you can play around with Target Cost and Max Bid and see how they affect your results. When you click the Max Bid option, Snapchat will offer a recommended range to choose from. You don’t have to pick within this range, however. 

Choosing Max Bid also unlocks the Pacing feature, You can pick Standard to spread your CPA organically across your set dates or you can choose Accelerated to deliver your ads as quickly as possible (best for time-sensitive campaigns). 

How to create a Snapchat ad

The next page is where you create your content

  1. Choose your ad type/placement at the top of the screen. 
  2. Create an ad name, headline, and make your ad sharable. 
  3. Upload your Top Snap media (AKA your ad’s creative asset). Snapchat’s Instant Create has built-in templates for the Top Snap, but you can also create your own on a design platform like Canva.
  4. Select and customize your attachment (where you want your viewers to go). 
  5. Select your CTA. 
  6. Last but not least, add impression tags and swipe up tags for impression tracker verification.
  7. Click next to review your ad, pay, and publish.
Example of Instant Create’s built-in templates

You’ll also get access to additional features depending on where you send your viewers. For example, you might see the option to enable autofill for lead generation or smart prefetching to speed up mobile site load times. 

How to optimize your Snapchat Ads campaigns 

When it comes to optimizing your Snapchat Ads, it all comes down to trial and error. First check that your ad type aligns with your advertising goal:

  • For example, single image ads are great for conversions. 
  • Use filters and lenses for UGC marketing. These ads tend to inspire trust in your brand and are less intrusive than traditional ad formats. And when users in your chosen location use your filter or lens to send Snaps to friends in other locations, you get even more exposure. When creating a filter, opt for something artistic that doesn’t obscure the main part of the user’s Snap. That’ll encourage more Snapchatters to use your filter.
  • Lenses are also a powerful AR shopping tool. Create a lens that shows users how your product will look when they bring it home and put it to use. 
  • Story ads are good for snagging attention quickly.
  • Commercials are only available to selected advertisers, but they’re super effective as they can’t be skipped.
  • Collection ads are ideal for e-commerce stores looking to drive sales. To set yourself up for success here, choose the top-performing products on your site, optimize your photos, and add some enticing CTAs. 
  • We all know how effective video ads can be. Keep your Snapchat video ads short and hook viewers by calling out their pain points from the start. Use audio and captions to make your ads accessible. Lay out your solution to the viewers’ problem, then end with a strong CTA. 

9 tips for optimizing your Snapchat Ad campaigns:

  1. A/B test (aka split test) your ads.
  2. Define strong KPIs.
  3. Keep up with your audience insights and optimize targeting accordingly. Pay key attention to the purchase intent metric.
  4. Familiarize yourself with Snapchat culture.
  5. Only advertise to locations where your product is available for purchase (that includes shipping options for e-commerce).
  6. Make your creative asset fun, snappy, and shareable. Shoot for 5 or 6 seconds.
  7. Create Snapchat ads that feel like native content. That means throwing out the polished, professional vibe and going for a more casual, conversational ad. 
  8. Launch a broad, data-gathering campaign; then study your Delivery Insights.
  9. Try out goal-based bidding. It’s a strategy where you optimize ads toward a specific action you want viewers to take. You set a cost-per-action requirement, and Snapchat will deliver impressions to efficiently achieve your desired outcome.

Want to make Snapchat an integrated part of your marketing strategy?

Marin Software's team of marketing consultants are standing by to get you started. Our tool makes cross-channel executive perspectives easy to see, and helps you make the best tactical marketing decisions possible…which is especially important when testing new channels. When you integrate the management and analysis of all your social and paid search platforms together, you'll save time and energy for everyone on the team. Our experts will make sure everything is tied together properly at the start so you can automate the systems that slow you down.

There's no reason to put all your social media advertising eggs in one basket when there’s a whole world of low competition and high ROI advertising opportunities out there. If you’re ready to branch out, consider giving Snapchat a chance. 

Snapchat demographic statistics

With a recent resurgence in popularity, the platform is experiencing a new fleet of users among teens and young adults. As of the second quarter of 2022, the app had 347 million daily active users worldwide, which is an 18% increase from the previous year.

Snapchat reaches 75% of Gen Z. If you’re trying to reach a younger demographic, Snap ads might just be your secret weapon. Many of today’s teens even use Snapchat over their phone’s native messaging platform for chatting with friends. While these users might also use social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, the fact that many advertisers sleep on Snapchat means less competition for your ads. 

Take the airline-booking app Hopper, for example. A recent case study from Snapchat’s inspiration page revealed some pretty impressive stats:

  • Snapchatters were 37% more likely to watch a flight on Hopper vs users acquired from other social platforms. 
  • Snapchatters had a booking rate 4 times higher than users acquired on other platforms. 
  • The brand achieved a 50% decrease in cost per install (CPI) by using radius targeting on Snapchat.
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What sets Snap apart from other social media platforms

Now that we’ve piqued your interest, let's find out what Snapchat ads are all about. Snapchat started as an app used solely for sharing vanishing images. Soon after, they added the ability to send direct messages and send short videos. They led the pack when it came to the Stories concept, lenses, and geofilters. 

Nowadays, they’ve expanded to include a Discover Page filled with news, articles, and stories by featured creators. That Discover Page is your ticket to advertising success. It houses Stories at the top. Scroll down a bit to see the featured content.
Snapchat ads are similar to the ads you’re used to on popular advertising platforms like Facebook and Instagram. They appear between Stories, on the Discover Page, and in the form of branded lenses and geofilters.

Ad types available on Snapchat

Below are all the Snap ads formats you can use to reach your target audience:

Single image or video ad

This is Snapchat’s basic ad format. It displays a single image or video full screen and can be used for most any brand objective. Videos can be up to three minutes long, but the platform recommends keeping them between 3 and 5 seconds for the best results.

These ads take up the entire screen, meaning they don’t have to compete for the viewer’s attention with other content. They appear between content in the following sections: User Stories, Publishers, Creators, and Our Stories. 

Here are a few use cases:

  • You can attach your website to the ad so that the CTA swipe-up link lets users make a purchase without leaving the Snapchat app. 
  • Generate more app installs by attaching an “Install Now” swipe-up CTA to the bottom of the ad screen. This allows viewers to download your app without leaving Snapchat.
  • Long-form video is also an option. Snapchat will play a 10-second preview of your chosen video. The bottom CTA will have a swipe-up link directing users to watch the full video. 

On-Demand filters

Create an On-Demand geofilter for users visiting your location of choice. This is a good option for brand awareness campaigns. There are a few different types of geofilters:

  • Event geofilters: Become available at the time and location of your event.
  • Shared Spaces geofilters: Appear to users in communal areas like malls, airports, parks, etc. 
  • Chain geofilters: Available to your brick-and-mortar store customers.
  • National geofilters: Available to everyone in your chosen country.

Filters can be made smart to serve ads with real-time updates based on the user's location, name, time, etc. 

Lenses

Snapchat really paved the way for TikTok and Instagram filters. I mean, how could we forget the OG puppy ears? Snapchat’s lenses are its AR filters. 

Face lenses manipulate the user's facial features to make them appear different in some way or another. They can be used to transform users into a character relevant to your brand or as a way for users to try on your products without leaving the Snapchat app.

World lenses appear on the outward-facing camera (aka the back camera). They detect the user’s environment and allow users to interact with 3D objects overlaid on their world. These filters are also an effective method of showcasing products. 

Branded filters allow brands to advertise inside user interactions. Most of the other ad types offered by the platform live on the Stories/Discover Page. Branded filters show up when a user goes to send a Snap to a friend. 

Creating these filters is a great way to build brand awareness among users who might not have clicked your ad on the Discover Page.

Story ads

Snapchat story ads are a series of images or videos that appear in between user stories or in the Discover Feed. They can display a collection of between 1 and 20 images or videos. These are pretty effective considering many Snapchat users watch their entire Story feed multiple times a day.

You can also advertise an article via the article ad format. It will pop up in the Discover section amongst other featured Stories and Articles. 

Product catalog ads

Display a series of products with this shoppable ad format. These catalog ads can display as collection ads, single image/video ads, or story ads. They allow users to purchase without leaving the Snapchat app. 

Commercials

Commercial ads are non-skippable 6-second video ads. The actual video can last up to 3 minutes, but the ad is only non-skippable for the first 6 seconds. 

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Wrapping up

Now that you understand the basics of Snapchat ads, it's time to get to snapping. Snapchat's ads manager has a pretty nice suite of analytics where you can find what segments interact with your ads (including segments you didn't choose to include in your campaign). This is super helpful when it comes to improving your campaign relevance and reducing your advertising costs.

Paired with MarinOne's Snapchat integration, you can see all your advertising campaigns in one place, making it easier to identify budget by channel, successful products, and successful audiences that can be tested across various platforms. Speak to one of our marketing experts for a free consultation to get started with am omnichannel advertising strategy, featuring Snapchat.

There's nothing worse than feeling like you're wasting perfectly good product in storage facilities because certain items in your inventory just don't seem to be selling. This is frustrating both for operations and marketing teams. Operations teams are facing supply chain issues, shipping headaches, storage fees, and more while they watch waning product take precious warehouse space that best selling items could occupy. 

Meanwhile the marketing team is pouring money into ads, thinking that more exposure will lead to more sales, while certain items cannot seem to get out the door quickly enough. Sometimes, no matter how many times you tweak a campaign, the results just aren't there. Too many companies suffer from the "left hand not speaking to the right" in regard to marketing and operational teams. If this sounds familiar, it might be time to take a closer look at your inventory management strategy and realign the effectiveness between operations and marketing. 

As Julie Durante, the Director of Inbound at Impulse Creative, said, “Operations must serve the customers that marketing helps attract. If marketing and ops aren’t in alignment, no one will be successful.”

What are the benefits of aligning operations and marketing roadmaps?

If your operations and marketing teams work side-by-side, you'll see great results. Making sure operations are aligned with what marketing is doing ensures a smooth workflow and you'll end up with more leads and revenue because of this close collaboration. Entering into a mutual agreement means you can share ideas, improve efficiency, and create the right environment for company growth. Here's a quick overview of the advantages of this approach.

  1. Avoid over-ordering products that aren’t selling well 

By reducing your exposure to products that aren’t moving, you can save money on advertising and inventory costs. By ordering just enough to meet consumer demand— no more and no less—you can avoid major losses. 

  1. Improve your company cash flow with inventory management

When an effective management strategy isn’t in place, you can tie up your money by purchasing large quantities of inventory all at once. With careful management, this can be avoided, resulting in improved cash flow that can be spent elsewhere when needed, like special marketing initiatives. 

  1. Improve your organization’s bottom line 

When you streamline processes, it impacts the rest of your business by increasing revenue growth and leading to more consistent profitability

  1. Benefit from a well-organized operations and marketing system 

Since you now have insight into exactly how much product you have, it makes it easier to determine the right products for upselling, cross-promotion, and bundling. An inventory that is well organized and well documented will also help save staff time and prevent errors, leading to tight shipping schedules and a greater overall customer experience, which is an important part of reputation management for the marketing team as well. If your inventory is properly organized, the rest of your supply chain will fall right into place.  

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3 Challenges of operations-marketing alignment

Obviously creating the kind of multi-team synergy we're describing takes time and effort. That’s why it's important to find the right balance between having autonomy amongst each team and finding the most opportune moments for both teams to work together. 

  1. Changing processes can be difficult to implement for larger businesses

Poor operational oversight and control can slow down fulfillment, and make errors more frequent. Some of the tactics we've mentioned, like engaging an inventory management tool, or reorganizing documentation processes, will make things much easier.

  1. It requires accurate and up-to-date communication

As with most things in business, communication is key. Constant, transparent communication between the marketing team and operations team is a vital part of achieving success. The idea is to encourage the free flow of information. Promote collaboration by giving everyone a chance to share their ideas and knowledge. Make sure that people can easily talk to one another in person or through conference tools, and help break barriers between departments.

  1. Assigning ownership and responsibility can get messy

Great teams work to understand the full range of what work is taking place and who owns what pieces of the puzzle. Who will take charge and make sure your teams function as well as they should? The answer lies in the question of ownership, not control. Establish early on the areas where one team will have to dictate the actions of another and vice versa, based on the greater good and big picture objectives of the company. 

If a shipping promotion marketing wants to run will ultimately cost the company too much, operations may have a veto in that area. But if a product bundle idea could potentially bring in a significant amount of additional revenue and it doesn’t add too much time in terms of labor or packaging, marketing may have the final vote in that scenario. 

At the end of the day, everyone is on the same team of reducing costs and increasing revenue for the company at large. Keep that singular focus in mind, have a spirit of teamwork from the top-down, and every situation will play out as smoothly as possible.

What role does inventory-based spend management play?

Inventory-based spend management is a way of making marketing and advertising budgeting decisions based on the product inventory you have available. 

By tracking and forecasting inventory levels and targeting your campaigns more specifically to the products you have in stock, you can increase your chances of making a sale. Surprisingly, 43% of small businesses don’t track their inventory—and 21% of companies overall say that they don’t have proper inventory management in place. Starting with a basic understanding of where things are now is paramount in order for all parties to move forward. To make a strategic sales approach based on inventory management successful you must get on top of existing inventory, the current marketing plan, and identify where those two componencts do not align in the big picture.

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How do we get started?

In this case, unlike other marketing tactics, the operations team takes the first step. Inventory-based spend management starts with a forecast and analysis of your product inventory. You'll need to take a close look at what products you have in stock, the expected rate of turnover, and any supply problems on the horizon. Without this kind of information, the "tail will be wagging the dog" as marketing continues to guess on which products to promote and feature.

Once that data is all in one place, you can start to make decisions about where to allocate your marketing budget both in the short-term and the long-term. If there’s a problem with supply for one item or category, you can shift your marketing strategy to other products. 

Thankfully, all of this can be done by implementing inventory software. With a good system in place, you can automate your strategy, optimize cash flow, successfully manage and control orders, oversee warehouses, reduce handling costs, and much more.

Inventory-based spend management techniques

There are predefined techniques to help you optimize inventory-based spend management. By choosing the techniques that work best for your business, you can maximize your budget and optimize your spend strategy. Here’s a look at just a few of them.

  1. Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory management

The goal of JIT is to have the minimum amount of inventory on hand to meet demand. That means you bring in inventory on an as-needed basis, rather than buying in large quantities. 

  1. ABC analysis

With this technique, goods are split into three categories, A, B, and C. Category A products represent your most valued goods—those that make a huge impact on your overall profit; Category B reflects products that fall somewhere in the middle of your most valued products and your least valued ones; Category C includes small transaction items that are critical to overall profit but don’t individually matter too much. 

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  1. Demand forecasting

Demand forecasting focuses on historical sales data to forecast customer demand. Companies use this type of forecasting as a rough estimate of the amount of goods they expect consumers to purchase in the future. 

Inventory-based spend management is crucial if you want to ensure your customers get the goods they want when they want them, but can also be a key tool to help you properly manage your marketing budget. 

Realizing the potential of inventory-based spend management

Inventory-based spend management is a great way to save money and get the most out of your marketing budget. By targeting your campaigns specifically to products you have in stock at a surplus and those that generate the best profits, you can avoid over-ordering products that aren't selling well and bounce back as a business when inventory levels are off. This approach can also help you make more sales by increasing your marketing focus on products that are in stock.

How MarinOne Can Help

Whether you’ve got a solid marketing and operations strategy in place already, or you’re looking to develop one, MarinOne can get you headed in the right direction.

MarinOne helps your marketing team see all of your ad spend data in one place, so you can make more informed decisions about where to allocate your marketing budget instead of watching your dollars go to waste. 

Paired with a great inventory management tool, you'll have effective multi-team visibility for both operations and marketing needs. Consult with one of our advertising experts to learn how you can successfully manage and optimize spend.

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