How Brands are Advertising on Snapchat

Brands always seem to be looking for ways to reach younger audiences and with a significant Generation Z user base, Snapchat offers a way to do just that. If you’re over the age of 25, there’s a good chance you’ve never used Snapchat. The majority (60%, to be exact) of the app’s users are 13 to 24 years old, most of whom are female. These demographics are a big factor when brands are considering whether the social network has a place in their marketing mix. Although it isn’t as large as Facebook’s billion active users, Snapchat has been the social network of choice for some of its youngest users, which makes it an attractive space for advertisers.

You might be thinking that it doesn’t make much sense to invest in a platform where content disappears after only 24 hours, but there are many brands that have been able to achieve amazing results through their Snapchat partnerships. Given this success and the amount of exposure brands are seeing, it’s surprising that more haven’t embraced the app. Social Media Examiner reports that only 5% of marketers are currently using Snapchat, but according to a recent study by eMarketer, 22% of ad execs plan to advertise on the $16 billion-valued app in 2016. As big brands pave the way with successful campaigns, Snapchatters can expect to see more and more ads popping up on their screens. An example of this is the recent announcement that ads will soon be appearing between Stories. A Story is a collection of Snaps shared for a 24-hour period. A person can view all their friends’ Stories back-to-back, so when ads are integrated between Stories, consuming them will become a more natural process for users. Snapchat also unveiled a new API, which will usher in a new wave of advertisers and revenue.

For advertisers, there are a number of different options available on Snapchat and, as some larger brands have already discovered, these ad types can each generate some impressive results.

Snap AdsProbably the most common ad type because of their affordability, Snap Ads are vertical, full-screen video ads that last up to 10 seconds. These include the option to add an interactive element and they always appear in the context of other Snaps. When Snapchatters swipe up on the ad, long-form content is revealed, like a video, article, app install ad, or mobile website. These types of ads run at a $20 CPM.

Selfies get real in this example from World Wildlife Fund. Their #LastSelfie Snapchat campaign featured a series of #LastSelfie Snap Ads meant to symbolize the diminishing population of different endangered species. After one week, 40,000 tweets reached 120 million Twitter timelines and in just three days, WWF reached their donation target for the entire month.

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Sponsored GeofiltersSponsored filters can be selected to overlay pictures or videos in order to add some context and fun to Snaps. When Snapchatters in selected locations take Snaps, they’ll be able to see related Sponsored Geofilters and add them to their pictures or videos to explain where, when, and why they took their Snap. The area selected must be between 20,000 and 5 million square feet and filters cannot be active for more than 30 days. Buying On-Demand Geofilters can get pricey depending on the timeframe and geography that is selected. As a test, I chose a 5,000,000 sq. ft. area in downtown Ann Arbor for one week and the price tag was $7,500. For the same timeframe and area in downtown Detroit, the Geofilter totaled more than $175,000. On the other hand, a 20,000 square-foot area for a 24-hour period could cost as little as $5.

(RED) partnered with Snapchat to create three Geofilters, which allowed Snapchatters to use any of the three designs to spread the word about World AIDS Day. For every Snap sent with one of the Geofilters, $3 was donated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to (RED)’s fight against AIDS. According to Snapchat, 14 million Snapchatters were reached and those who saw the filter were 90% more likely to donate to (RED).

Sponsored LensesLenses offer users the most interactive and fun experience. To activate Lenses, Snapchatters simply press and hold the screen where their faces appear. Some Lenses include animations that are triggered when users follow prompts like “raise your eyebrows.” Once a user records or takes a picture of the Lens they want, they are able to send the Lens video or photo to a friend or post it to their Story. A Sponsored Lens on a weekday is estimated to cost $500,000 compared to a holiday like the Super Bowl, where Lenses are reported to run $750,000!

During this year’s Super Bowl, Gatorade and Snapchat partnered to bring the “Gatorade Dunk” from the stadium to the smartphone, with the Sponsored National Lens shown below. The Lens promotion generated more than 165 million views on Snapchat.

As someone who uses Snapchat on occasion, I can testify to how entertaining the various Lenses are to play around with. Who wouldn’t want to turn their head into a Taco Bell taco, see what they look like as a dog or make a rainbow come out of their mouth? Although I will admit that the Face Swap Lens is pretty terrifying. There is definitely a fun factor that makes these features very sharable. For many small to mid-size brands, testing Snap Ads or narrowly-targeted Geofilters might be a good place to start, especially considering how pricey Sponsored Lenses can be. So what do you think? Would you consider advertising on Snapchat? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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