Have you always wondered about Snapchat and how well it might work as a marketing tool? Or perhaps you're an Instagram fan who hasn’t seen great results lately and you’re looking for an alternative?
Read on to find out how you can make the most out of Snapchat ads with our comprehensive guide.
If you’re wondering whether to use Snapchat or Instagram, here are a few points to consider. Instagram has a much bigger following than Snapchat, with some 250 million daily users on its stories feature alone, which is the key feature that mimics Snapchat. And in the past year or so Instagram has added a bunch of features that are very similar to Snapchat as part of its competitive strategy, including special stickers and face filters.
That being said, Snapchat still boasts 166 million active users each day, so that’s still a pretty strong baseline for basing a social strategy.
So which one is better for your marketing needs? It really depends on what you are looking for. Instagram Stories and Snapchat are pretty similar but have different pros and cons. Clearly, Instagram has a bigger audience base, which at first may make it seem like the obvious better choice. But a bigger audience means more competition, and to that end, Snapchat has a smaller and more selective demographic. Snapchat’s demographic is also significantly you nger, with more users in their teens and 20s.
Snapchat provides businesses the opportunity to use various formats and create ads that essentially are placed alongside Snapchat stories, so that when users are viewing a sequence of stories, they’re going to see an ad in-between two other stories, sort of like you would see a commercial “slot” on television.
One feature of Snapchat ads is that they have solid audio support, so if you’re marketing something that’s heavily reliant on a combination of audio and video, they can work well for you.
There are a few different types of Snapchat ads that can be used for small business needs and they all can work well depending on what your ultimate small business goals are.
Here’s a rundown of the different ad options that Snapchat offers.
Snap Ads are 10 seconds long and offer viewers the option of swiping up to get more information about the ad. These are super user-friendly and immediate in the sense that, if a person is interested and swipe quickly, you know that the ad has hit the mark at a micro-moment level. These are also great if you regularly share longer form content like blogs or videos that you wouldn’t typically share directly to Snapchat.
Sponsored Lenses are really what gives the brand its characteristic “cute” look, with all kinds of weird filers to make your images more fun and lively. And most of its users use this feature regularly, so if you can create an ad that incorporates a familiar or well-loved lens and is brand-focused, you may just hit the nail on the head with engagement.
Sponsored Geofilters area popular filter option that is tied to location. While this may be a geographic location, it can also be a store or event, so to that extent they can be useful for brick-and-mortar retailers as well as those in the tourism industry. On Demand Geofilters are similar and they’re specifically designed for special events and other things that may benefit from a real-time locational reference. Geofilters are useful for companies that are trying to connect and engage with your audience organically, and they’re also useful for product launches and personal branding.
There is a feature called Snapchat Publisher which the company introduced as an incentive for businesses to create video ads quickly. The publisher allows people to easily convert existing videos from horizontal to vertical, enhance video quickly with various design elements and use templates that include special features like fading.
Snapchat is all about ephemeral content and moment-based marketing so anything that you do that relates to real-time marketing can be effective on this channel. You want to give people an authentic, up-close glimpse of something to do with your personal day or product and to that end showing your face (especially with a cute filter) as a part of your brand can build trust with the younger demographic.
Here are some frameworks you can work with as you design your ads.
Customize Your Profile
Snapchat doesn’t allow the same level of customization as some other social platforms but you can still take the opportunity to fill in important information about your business and product. When you’re taking a look around, notice too that in your profile you have a Snapchat Score which counts the number of Snaps you’ve exchanged.
You’ll also notice that the trophy icon is there to show your accomplishments, which is another thing you’ll want to keep tabs on as you use Snapchat for business.
It’s also a great place to build a unique facet of your brand, possibly even coming up with a different type of product or service based on the types of interactions you’re having with people on the platform. The whole key is to find a unique element and sell it in a new way, using graphics and color to stand out. You want to curate your content to match that of a given channel’s purpose and audience.
Offer Exclusive Peeks
Snapchat is super personal and to that end you can use it to offer audiences exclusive, intimate or behind-the-scenes type of videos. This could be a perfect opportunity to advertise any ethical practices or special initiatives, and it’s also a great spot to advertise events. The idea is to pique people’s curiosity and get them more interested in how you do business or run events, rather than just in the product itself.
Have Real Conversations
Another thing to think about with this app is that it’s not only an image-based app, it’s more of a messaging app like Whatsapp then it is like Facebook. So you will have different opportunities to engage in a messenger-focussed setting.
Make it Urgent
The fleeting nature of social apps like Snapchat make it ideal for promoting time-sensitive things. Keeping your videos under a minute and even making them under 30 seconds can help to create a sense of urgency as well.
In addition, people are more interested in engaging in part because they know they can’t go back to a story -- it has a limited time, so you have to love it now or never. In that way, anything that you do to promote an event or product that is time-sensitive should be “grabbed” by a user. Consider a discount promotion that leads them to your website -- if they know that the ad won’t stay up, they’ll probably just pop over to your website right way to see what all the hype is about or to check out your products in more detail.
Tell a Story
The main thing that you bear in mind as you create your ads is that Snapchat is about stories -- your brand story needs to fit in, to some extent, with the Snapchat feel and look. But in it’s focus on real-time activities, snapchat is a great place to advertise events and other time-relevant or face-to-face marketing initiatives. You can also get creative with the multimedia aspects of Snapchat to create a unique look for that channel specifically.
Is Snapchat essential for all small businesses? Probably not. But as far as social media platforms go, Snapchat is certainly a unique tool that can take you far if you have the right products, targeting and a campaign that suits the feel and demographic base of this quirky and fun platform.
The key point when creating any content is to ensure that you’re meeting the needs of your target audience. In this sense, Snapchat’s younger demographic is focused on authentic, engaging stories, often with a cute or fun feel. So if you’re going to use it, you want to consider that this is the audience that it’s best suited for.