A beginner’s guide to Snapchat Ads

In May 2017, Snap introduced their advertising self service platform to the public to compete with the likes of Facebook and Google. Before ads were only available via sales reps or third-party software provider that were using Snapchat’s advertising API. Since then a lot of changes have been made to the platform – the API has been opened to everyone and new ad formats & targeting options have been added.

So how do you actually use the platform today? It’s pretty straight forward: similar to Facebook you can structure your campaigns with the following layers: campaigns, ad sets and ads – budgets and targeting are managed on the ad set level. Next to the usual demographical targeting options, you can target via pre defined categories (e.g. fitness enthusiasts, foodies or gamers), lookalikes based on your existing users and your own remarketing lists.

Snapchat Ads Targeting
Source: Snapchats Ads Targeting Options | Snapchat Ads | 15 May 2018

When it comes to ad formats you have three different types available within the self service tool: Snap Ads, Filters and Promoted Stories. If you are looking for performance marketing and something similar to Facebook Ads, Snap Ads is what you are looking for. They are basically up to 10-second vertical videos that can direct to a specific target based on your needs: app installs, web traffic or video views. If awareness and branding is what you need, filters and promoted stories could be an option. Filters are picture overlays for snaps that users are sharing within the platform. A Promoted Story is a series of three to ten snaps which are located in the discovery tab.

Snapchat Ads
Source: Snapchat Ad Products | forbusiness.snapchat.com | 15 May 2018

So how do you optimize your campaigns? Let’s take an “App Install” campaign via Snap Ads as an example: you will be charged per 1.000 impressions of each ad but you can tell the algorithm to optimize on a certain value for “Swipe Ups” or “Installs” – a “Swipe Up” is like a click that directs you to the app store. It’s not as sophisticated as Facebook (for now) but at least you can let Snap optimize towards a certain goal. Other formats are also paid via 1.000 impressions and can be optimized towards “Swipe Ups” or CPM depending on the creative.

In order for your ad to show up, you just need to bid high, right? Not exactly. Of course it helps but it’s just one side of the coin. The other side is called Organic Impact and together they add up to what Snap calls “Ad’s Total Value” or “Total Bid”. It’s a value that helps them to determine which ads makes them the most money. The bigger the total value of your ad, the more likely it will be shown. An example: Brand A is bidding $12, Brand B $8. Both have a positive organic impact of $1 which results in total ad values of $13 and $9. Brand A wins the auction but doesn’t have to pay $13 – you are only paying the total bid of the runner’s up ($9 for Brand B) minus your own organic impact (1$ for Brand A). In the end Brand A is paying $8.

Snapchat Ad's Total Value
Source: How Snap Determines an Ad’s Total Value | businesshelp.snapchat.com | 15 May 2018

It’s not clear how exactly the Organic Impact of your ads is calculated but Snap gives some hints about what is important:

  • Predicted Event Rates: The probability that reflects how likely we believe a given user will take the desired event on the ad.
  • Quality and Relevance: A bid on behalf of the users’ interests (i.e. if an ad has been flagged several times in the past for negative feedback, its quality component could reduce its total bid).1

It’s quite obvious but make sure that your ads are relevant for your targeted audience because it helps you to win more auctions and lower the bids. For more information, you can visit Snapchat’s Business Center or it’s more sales oriented overview page.

1 Snapchat | "How Snap Determines an Ad’s Total Value" | 
May 15, 2018 | URL

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