Snapchat Ad Formats: A Definitive Guide

Snapchat Ad Formats: A Definitive Guide

by Andrea Knezovic

If you’re just starting to advertise on Snapchat, you’re probably wondering what are the best practices for creating a Snapchat ad

You need to understand your audience and have a clear vision of your goals when using Snapchat. In our practice, Snapchat has proven great for acquiring users for mobile apps and games.

Why Choose Snapchat?

Snapchat is a great option for advertising your app or game. It is especially popular for certain demographics – Gen Z and Millenials. In the U.S., 48% of internet users aged 15 to 25 are using this app (Statista). That puts it ahead of Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook.

It is especially evident that Facebook usage among teens is rapidly dropping by the year. If your target audience is younger, this is a great platform to reach it in an engaged and fun way.

Another great benefit is the fact that a lot of users on this platform can’t be reached through other social media networks. According to App Annie, many of them don’t use them. 81% of US  Snapchat users don’t use Twitter, 46% don’t use Instagram, and 35% don’t use Facebook. 

Other than having a distinctive audience, Snapchat comes with powerful targeting options. We will go through them later in the article. 

Important Snapchat Statistics 

Here are some statistics that will help you get a better understanding of where Snapchat stands and how profitable it can be for you. 

  • In 2021, the number of Snapchat’s daily active users increased 22% year-over-year (Snapchat)
  • In Q1 2021, Snapchat’s revenues increased 66% in comparison to the year before 
  • Every Snapchat user brings the app approximately $3.44 in revenue (Snapchat’s financial report)
  • According to Statista, the majority of Snapchat users are female (57.4%) 
  • The U.S. has the biggest Snapchat userbase, with 108 million users in 2021 (Statista) 
  • On average, Snapchat users spend 30 minutes using the app every day (Snapchat)

Setting up a Business Account

To start advertising on Snapchat, you’ll need a business account. After setting up a business account, you’ll be able to create your first campaign.

Your audience is a group of people who share a unique blend of characteristics that are relevant to your app or game.

For example, they could live in a specific location, speak a certain language, have a specific interest… Understanding your target audience is the key to creating good copy and creatives.

If you’re just learning where your target audience is, a good option is to use Snapchat Insights, the platform’s built-in analytics tool that can tell you:

  • Viewer count over weeks, months, and years
  • Viewers’ age, location, gender, and even interests
  • Your viewers’ attention span

Another advantage of Snapchat are different targeting options:

  • Interests & Behaviors – target Snapchatters based on the things they like and do
  • Demographics – targeting by age, gender, categories like household income or parental status
  • Location – country, location category (like “universities”), a radius around specific addresses
  • Custom Audiences – retargeted Snapchatters who have already seen your ads or engaged with your business
  • Lookalikes – expand your reach by finding Snapchatters similar to your existing customers
  • Unique ad formats – Snapchat offers different ad formats, some specific for this platform.

6 Different Snapchat Ad Formats:

1) Single Image or Video

This type of ad appears as a video or a still image. It contains a swipe-up CTA at the bottom of the screen. The main action that drives this type of ad is a swipe. Ads can drive users to a website, the app page in the app store, a video, AR lens…

Formats of creatives:

  • Live, motion graphic, stop motion video
  • Cinemagraph
  • Slideshow
  • Gif
  • Still image

Length of Snap Ad: 3 – 180 seconds

Aspect ratio: 9:16 (1080px x 1920px)

Character limitations:

  • Brand (up to 25 characters, including spaces)
  • Headline (up to 34 characters, including spaces)

File size:

  • The video should be under 1 GB
  • The image should be under 5 MB (Image will be converted into a video of 5-second duration.)
Example of a Snapchat Snap Ad.
Example of a Snapchat Video Ad.

2) Filters

Filters allow you to take part in hundreds of millions of Snaps sent between friends each day on Snapchat.

How do Snapchat Filters work?

When Snapchatters are in the location you’ve chosen and they take a Snap, they’ll be able to see your Filter and use it to explain where, when, and why they took the Snap.

Format: PNG with transparent background, 1080 x 2340 pixels

File size: under 300KB

The filter should be artistic, not photographic. Realistic filters are not recommended. Think about how your filter is going to be used.

You should leave enough room for photos of Snapchatters – their image or video content should be seen behind the filter. This type of content has great potential to reach many users since Snapchatters will be sharing this among their friends.

Smart Filters

When using Smart Filters, you can serve Ads with real-time updates. Smart filters integrate variables in the text part of your ad and make your ads more personalized.

You can integrate time, count (for example: until New Year’s), or location (neighborhood, city, state, zip code, high school, college…).

Example of a Snapchat Filter Ad.
Example of a Snapchat Filter Ad.

3) Story Ads

Story Ad will appear as a branded Tile in Snapchat’s Discover section that will open into a collection of 3-20 Snap Ads.

Logo: 993 px wide x 284 high provided as a .png on transparent background

Image: One high-quality image (360 px x 600 px)

Title of Story: Up to 55 characters

Example of a Snapchat Story Ad.
Example of a Snapchat Story Ad.

4) Lenses

Snapchat lenses are a collection of augmented reality (AR) animations for your photos or selfies made in the Snapchat app.

These animations work by using facial recognition software to track your face and apply animation that will follow your facial movements.

There are certain restrictions on lenses specification, to read about it check out the Snapchat Business help center.

Example of a Snapchat AR lens.
Example of a Snapchat AR lens.

5) Commercials

Commercials are non-skippable six-second video Snap Ads. If you’re not among selected Advertisers, you won’t be able to use this feature. The format is similar to Snap Ads, the main difference is that it’s shorter and non-skippable.

snapchat commercial ad example
Example of a Snapchat Commercial ad.

6) Collection Ads

Collection ads appear in Snapchat stories and are designed for commerce ads. They display multiple products divided into tiles. When users tap on a product, they are able to see more details. 

Aspect ratio: 9:16  (1080px x 1920px)

Snap length: 3-180 seconds

File type: image, video, .mov

Attachment types: website, app, lens, long video

Other than these ad requirements, the required elements include a brand, headline, call to action, and a thumbnail image.

Example of a Snapchat Collection ad.

In this type of ad, we can see the brand name in the top left corner, as well as a short caption. At the bottom, there is a swipe-up CTA button “shop now” to get access to additional content. In the right bottom corner, it is clearly stated it is an ad.

This ad is a mix of video and graphic elements montaged in a creative and engaging way. CTA on the bottom of the video ad can be personalized for your app, product, or service. Snapchat conveniently lists all Call-to-Actions and translations to the most common languages.

Examples of CTA texts in the ads:


These are the 6 formats of ads you’ll be able to create on Snapchat. Ours’s most often used format is snap ads.

How to Create Great Snapchat Videos?

Snapchat is a unique platform with a unique user base. Have that in mind when creating Snapchat video ads.

Young & Fun Platform

The community of Snapchat has a unique style of communicating and a specific sense of humor. Your ad should be a representation of your brand but still be created with the audience in mind.

Snapchatters will have a unique language and if you want to create great ads, so get to understand Snapchat. Trends (memes, jokes…) will have a huge impact on the content created on the Snapchat platform.

Stay True and Authentic to Your Brand

Your brand should be recognizable but adapted to the environment of Snapchat. Ad flow should be organic. The user should find something consistent with the ad they just watched.

Think Vertical

The rise of vertical video is evident. More and more brands are embracing vertical video to stay on track with changes in the digital habits of consumers. Snapchat was a pioneer of vertical video, and the trend continued with Instagram and Facebook stories.

Vertical video requires a specific approach to telling a story. You’re able to reach users in a more organic way, the same way they receive other content on their smartphones. However, the vertical video presents challenges in storytelling. It requires a closed, cropped, and more refined take.

Vertical ads are usually displayed in the mountains of other content and they disappear in a matter of seconds. A successful ad will grab attention and encourage the viewer to take part in relevant actions.

Fast-Paced Game

Keep it short and sweet. Don’t be scared to make very shortcuts to tell your story in 10 seconds or less. Of course, it still needs to tell the story.

Display the App/Game

If you’re advertising a game or an app, make sure you show how it works. Present the main functionalities of your app in action. Viewers will be able to get a better understanding of your app. This is a great time to display unique elements of the app that stands out from other apps.

Add Captions and Titles

Snapchat ads, similar to Facebook and Instagram ads, are viewed on mobile. According to Snapchat, over 60% of Snap Ads are watched with audio on. But since we’re unaware of the environment the user is in and how loud his surrounding is, it is essential to caption the video to get your point across.

Titles and captions are also important if your user is among the 40% of users who mute the tones when using Snapchat.

So, How to Win on Snapchat?

If you still need help with Snapchat advertising, feel free to contact us. This is just a small insight into the world of Snapchat. Snapchat, like every social media network, requires a specific approach when creating ads.

Each social network will have a completely different audience with different habits, humor, and values.

The key to being a successful advertiser on any network is maintaining the balance between the brand you’re presenting and the audience. Understanding your audience is the key to the success of your brand.

We wish you a lot of successful Snapchat ads!



About Udonis

Udonis is an independent full-service mobile marketing agency that acquired more than 200,000,000 users for mobile games since 2018.

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