Snapchat advertising: How to capture the attention of a young audience

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

The Media Image consider how marketers can benefit from Snapchat's Snap Ads and Story Ads.

What started off seven years ago as a witty idea between Snapchat’s founder Evan Spingel and his friends at Stanford, materialized into one of the most successful platforms for addressing younger audiences. Having a database of 190 million daily users, Snapchat is successfully reaching 90% of all 19-24 year-olds and 75% of all 25-34 year-olds in the USA.

With only one year since the launch of Snap Ads, the platform currently offers six ad formats, depending on the selected goal, such as brand awareness, app installs, website conversions and many more. While make-up and skincare companies have the wider share in Snapchat ads right now, it is still new in the market and not so ubiquitously used by advertisers.

Having similar properties and outlay to many paid social ads, the philosophy behind snap ads stems from a unique spot in the bidding competition. Whereas other biddable platforms have multiple opportunities for advertisers, with Snapchat, only the most aggressive bidder will have their ad displayed. How beneficial would it be for gambling firms to use Snapchat for marketing and how could this form of advertising help increase their share within Generation Z and millennials?

Firstly, Snap Ads are regarded as the most effective form of Snapchat advertising for acquisition-oriented clients, having options to either engage in branding activity, illustrate an offer and drive traffic to the website, or optimize towards app installs. This gives advertisers another unique placement for promoting an app while expanding their audience and experimenting with divergent creative types, such as statics, gifs and videos. Both Snap Ads and Story Ads are un-skippable, which is a happy bonus for marketers who aim to keep their audience engaged.

Snapchat follows the Cost Per Thousand Impressions model (CPM). The system understands the stipulated KPIs, however it will merely use them as a guideline, not necessarily optimize towards them for a more efficient budget spend. In this case, the relevant metrics would be tracked in the system, such as impressions and swipe-ups; traditionally knows as clicks. Depending on the chosen goal of the campaign, the final conversion event will be tracked as well, such as website purchases, page views or installs. While having a single position for competing bidders, the platform will choose to feature based on three metrics; the bid, the probability that a served user will convert on an ad and, lastly, the quality and relevance of that ad in regard to the selected audience.

While Snapchat is efficiently tracking pixel-based events, for app-installs campaigns it must be linked to a third-party tracking software. Although most app-acquisition based platforms track the conversions through the engine, Snapchat will display 0 in the case of integration with the software not being completed. Notably, an adjoining platform would be wise to consider regardless, considering it provides the advertiser with the means to track log-ins, registration and many more subsequent events for them to decide which audiences and creatives acquired valuable customers.

Target again and again

Additionally, the targeting options for Snapchat advertisers are divergent from other social media platforms, with the ability to address customers based on income, marital status or life-stage. While targeting people interesting in a competing product is not an option for all industries, being able to combine demographics with psychographics and behavioral targeting will give the advertiser the possibility to go from broad to very specific, niche customer segments. Bear in mind that Snapchat is still acquiring pre-defined audiences, with the intent of significantly expanding each product sector. Moreover, the most powerful targeting tool, Lookalikes, is also provided, with the possibility of uploading customer data and finding similar profiles to serve ads to, within a standardized percentage.

Snapchat has embraced Venn-diagram style targeting with the new ad format Snap Engagement Audiences. Although advertisers are not able to retarget users who viewed the ad but did not engage, this retargeting technique will address a list of people who had actively interacted in some way with the ad and got close to completing the event. Advertisers could use this function to sequence retargeting campaigns, maybe for higher value purchases or for combining branding efforts with acquisition-based ads. This feature is regarded as being effective for marketing events by using a database of users who had already shown a certain interest in the product to make that audience the most likely to participate or convert. Additionally, this can also be used to exclude a list of customers from ever being targeted by a campaign, had they converted already or were, conversely, reluctant to do so.

Make it cheaper for you

Let’s look at it from this perspective; even though advertisers can select a desired event for the system to optimize towards, the budget will nonetheless be spent on a CPM basis. Considering this approach, the cost per acquisition can easily reach higher values, since the system is not able to learn from consequent conversion and spend solely when someone clicks on the ad or converts. With retargeting through Snap Engagement Audiences, although the conversion rates would logically be higher due to the higher intent of the retargeted audience, the costs of it can be higher. Therefore, to ensure effective spend for This Venn style targeting, advertisers utilize a goal-based bidding option. With a certain value per conversion set up, this bidding opportunity forces the system to wisely spend the budget in order to acquire a conversion for that exact amount.

Discovery Feed & Sporting Events, Perfect Duo

For advertisers interested in promoting seasonal sports events and encourage customers to access the website or download a betting app, then Story Ads will bridge the gap between higher intent users and promoted products. With this form of addressing audiences, marketers can buy branded titles in the Discovery feed, having the option to either create a wider narrative with a series of stories, or keep it short and sweet with just a few, followed by an app install option or catalogue view. What makes Story Ads special is the nature of the commercial and the unique opportunity for customers to target themselves. With 45% completion rate on average, Story Ads drive deep engagement because customers click directly on the title due of immediate interest. Gen Z and Millennials are notorious for having a shorter attention spans and immediately disregard what they consider useless content, even though they might be interested in the specific market in general. Story Ads can be tailored to a specific audience based on all available demographics and psychographics, however compared to other ad types, Story Ads have a more valuable reach due to the possibility of the user to click on the ads out of interest. Predicting the content from the frame and title of the ad will fuel customers’ intent to convert subsequent to seeing it. Therefore, targeting viewers with big sporting events and promotions will result in higher engagement with the ad and brand awareness as a happy bonus.

All in all, Snapchat is very much an ever-growing platform and continues to deliver engaging features to its users. Whether employing it to break the news about a new product line or to expand your audience reach into the savvy millennial realm, advertisers are starting to include Snapchat in their mixture of placements. Used relevantly, the platform proved beneficial for aiding our clients in acquiring new customers and educating new audiences about their products.

Ilinca Prodanel is an account executive at The Media Image.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.