11 mins read

The ultimate guide to Snapchat creatives – optimizing for 5 Snapchat ad formats

So, if you’re just starting to advertise on Snapchat, you’re probably wondering what are the best practices when creating Snapchat video ads (“Snap ads”). 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.

Matija Hanicar

April 16, 2019

The latest numbers tell us that the Snapchat is in, while Facebook is out. In a research conducted by Pew Research Center, we saw that only around 51% of teens use Facebook, in comparison to 71% in 2014–2015.

This image and video messaging app was developed in 2011, and it became famous by video feature ‘Stories’ that was later copied by Facebook and Instagram. Today, there are 186 million daily active Snapchat users.

For the first time, in 2018 the number of daily active users has started to decline. It is still very popular in the United States, with almost a quarter of American using it in the 2018 – this puts Snapchat ahead of LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp. 94% of American young adults use this app. Across this network, there are over 3 billion snaps sent every day, and Snapchat Stories are reportedly viewed 10 billion times a day. Ads were introduced in 2015 – via ad feature platform “Discover” that allows publishers to advertise their third-party short-form content. With Discover, users browse different content from partners like CNN, The Food Network…

So, if you’re just starting to advertise on Snapchat, you’re probably wondering what are the best practices when creating Snapchat video ads (“Snap ads”).

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. As of 2018, about 45% of Snapchat users are 18-24 and 71% are under 34 years old. That means Snapchat is very popular among Millenials. If your target audience is younger, this is a great platform to reach it in an engaged and fun way.

Snapchat users spend an average of 30 minutes on the platform, and they create almost 3 billion videos a day.

Setting up 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 for 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, platform’s built-in analytics tool that can tell you:
Your viewer count over weeks, months and years
Your 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 a 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.

Currently, there are 5 different Snapchat ad formats:

1) Snap Ads

The most typical Snapchat ad with swipe-up CTA in the bottom of the screen. The main action that drives this type of ads 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, or stop motion video
Still image

Length of Snap Ad: 3 – 10 seconds

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

File size:
Video should be under 32 MB
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 Snap Ad.

2) Filters

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

How 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.

PNG with transparent background, 1080 x 2340 pixels

File size: under 300KB

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 Years) 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) Lens

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

These are the 5 formats of ads you’ll be able to create on Snapchat. Ours most often used format is snap ads.

In this ad, we can see the brand name in the top left corner, as well as a short caption. In 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 graphics 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 most common languages. Examples of CTA texts in the ads: APPLY NOW, BOOK NOW, BUY TICKETS, INSTALL NOW, OPEN APP…

A lot of Snap Ads run in a loop and user needs to tap to go to the next Snap.

Snapchat Ad Commercial example.
Snapchat Commercial example.

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

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 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.

But 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, vertical video present challenges in storytelling. It requires 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. 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 short cuts 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 it 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.

To sum up – how to create great ads on Snapchat:
Think about all the formats Snapchat offers. We listed all 5 of them, maybe you can use multiple ad formats to tell a complete story about your brand.
Stay true to your brand.
Think vertical.
Display your product, app or game benefits.
Test and optimize according to results.

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, as 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!
We wish you a lot of successful Snapchat ads!

About Udonis:

We are an award-winning marketing agency specialized in mobile apps & games. We help scale products that people love, while keeping the attention on data and results. Have questions, need help? 🤗 Email us at hello@udonis.co!

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