How to Make the Most of Snapchat's New Ad Platform

How to Make the Most of Snapchat's New Ad Platform

View all Insights

By: 321

May 17, 2017

Since going public early March, the tides have been turning for Snapchat. Not only did they release an extensive new update just last week but they also announced that their Self-Serve Ad Platform will be rolling out come June. This is big news for advertisers since the Snapchat Ad Manager tool is aimed at making it easier to purchase Snap Ads.

Seems pretty cool, right? Well…maybe, maybe not. It’s really too soon to tell. The kind of Snapchat advertising we’re going to start seeing more of, if executed properly, could be great for both Snapchat and advertisers. But if not, it could send Snapchatters packing.

So, how can you make sure your get the most out of your Snapchat ad campaigns?

The Platform

Snap ads have been around for a little while now and are used in the forms of ad videos that play between Snap stories; Lenses, which use facial recognition and augmented reality to distort pictures; and Geofilters, which can be applied to user’s pictures based on their location.

Up until this point, Snap Ads were only accessible to a handful of advertisers at ridiculously expensive minimums ($400k/day for some Lenses) and left up to Snapchat to control. But the new platform changes all of that. Now, any company –big or small – can:

  • Purchase ads just by using a credit card 
  • View ad performance metrics
  • Manage ad campaigns
  • Assign roles to team members directly from the app

The Nature of the Beast

So, what could go wrong? Well, we believe the issue lies within the live story video ads. These 10 second videos fill up the entire screen and may even seem like just another Snap story until the user notices…it isn’t their friend’s Snap story. So, as soon as they realize, they can click right through, totally ignoring the ad while also getting annoyed by the interruption in their Snapchat experience.

And it’s not really their fault they click right through, this app has literally been training them to do so. Snapchat instilled this behavior in their users with the app’s design. Tapping the screen is how you close out of someone’s Snap or go on to the next one. Users are so accustomed to this behavior that it’s instinct when an ad pops up.

Although ideally it’s a great outlet for marketers to reach the younger, teenage demographic, these types of ads are averaging less than three seconds a view. And the reason why is obvious: Snapchat created a behavior that they are now disrupting.

What You Can Do

As an advertiser, you might be thinking, “but… I really want to use Snapchat in my marketing strategy!” Well don’t worry, you absolutely can. But rather than using video ads, Geofilters and Lenses have much more value.

Anyone who’s ever used Snapchat knows that Lenses and Geofilters are both popular and entertaining. And, now Snapchat has rolled out three new types of lenses and geofilters that advertisers can utilize:

  • World Lenses: allow advertisers to create content for the rest of the photo beyond the face, such as floating 2D or 3D objects, interactive content, and other items.
  • Audience Lenses: allows advertisers to purchase regionally targeted Lenses.
  • Smart Geofilters: automatically add location information or other real-time information to a nationwide or chain Geofilter.

When advertisers utilize Lenses and Geofilters, Snapchat users will not only see the ad and try it out as they’re swiping through their options, but they can also send out to their friends. So rather than disrupting the user experience, these methods enhance it.


As a public company, Snapchat must continue finding innovative ways to bring in revenue – and letting in a wider array of advertisers is one way to do it. However, the concern is that with a sudden influx of ads the platform will become less attractive not only to top marketers, but users as well.

It’s really too early to tell, but hopefully these ads can be executed creatively enough that it will keep users from abandoning Snapchat and also establish the app as a strong competitor with the ad platforms of Facebook and Google.

Next Insight

+ 321 Creative Rebels | Tessa Henley, Senior Product Manager

Tessa Henley isn’t your typical 9-5 product manager.  She’s a Harley-gunnin’, mountain-livin’, tatted-up creative with a propensity for breaking the mold when it counts; an ad woman who flies her fashion degree in the rearview.  … Continued