With over 100 million daily active users, Snapchat may become one of the most powerful social messaging applications in the world. It was no surprise when Snapchat launched its advertising service, 3V, in 2015, allowing advertisers to leverage its appeal to younger audiences through annotated photos and video. Known for its strong user engagement in comparison to other social networks, it is critical that marketers understand the paid advertising opportunities available on Snapchat to effectively reach target audiences.
So, what do marketers need to know about Snapchat ads? Below is an outline of the key advertising features and how to use them.
SNAPCHAT ADVERTISING: DISCOVER
Discover is a section of Snapchat that hosts new content from publishers (i.e. Buzzfeed, Mashable, CNN, etc.) daily. Discover Stories do not exist on the native landing page of Snapchat and must be accessed through the Discover or Stories pages. Advertisers can choose to take over all ad space or own 10-second segments of a publisher’s Discover Story. Full-screen, vertical-video content that meets Snapchat’s quality and editorial standards is required to advertise within a Discover feed. These ads are signified by an “ad” watermark on the video, and will be active for 24 hours.
Discover is best suited for advertisers looking to fuel national awareness. Since Discover channels are content-driven, it is best for advertisers to create content-driven ads. Movie trailers have done well on the platform due to their shareability. Product showcases have also been a popular form of advertisement on this channel.
Pricing for Discover is determined by view count. Each view costs $0.02, as part of Snapchat’s ad product, Two Pennies.
MARCH 2017 UPDATE: Although it is unknown whether Snapchat still follows the Two Pennies model (2015) – where marketers were charged $0.02/view – representatives at the company have noted minimum insertion orders at around $40,000 for Discover placements.
SNAPCHAT ADVERTISING: USER STORY
User Story placements run within Snapchat users’ “Stories” feed. Typically, placements will be served after a user views another user’s MyStory. Advertisers can choose to own 10-second segments of User Story placements – fully customizable with Snap Ads attachments (see “Snap Ads with Attachments”). Full-screen, vertical-video content that meets Snapchat’s quality and editorial standards is required to advertise within a Discover feed. These ads are signified by an “ad” watermark on the bottom right of the video, and will be active for 24 hours.
User Story placements are best suited for advertisers looking to fuel national awareness through more casual brand messaging. Since User Stories are not publisher-driven, there are greater liberties of tone of voice and production value for these placements.
Pricing for User Story: Representatives at the company have noted minimum insertion orders at around $40,000 (12 months at the longest) for User Story placements.
SNAPCHAT ADVERTISING: LIVE STORY
A Live Story is a curated series of user-submitted content documenting major events and themes. Past Live Stories have highlighted world cities, high-profile events (i.e. Oscars or NFL draft), and Universities. Advertisers can opt to take over all ad space or sponsor 10-second segments of a Live Story. As with the Discover ads, Live Story content must be full-screen, vertical-videos and meet Snapchat’s quality and editorial standards. The ads on Live Stories are also signified by an “ad” watermark on the video and are active for 24 hours.
A Live Story is best suited for advertisers looking to fuel global awareness. Due to the high reach of a Live Story, new product launches and campaigns are recommended for this channel.
Pricing for Live Stories varies by scope and reach. Reports from AdAge and CNBC suggest that a takeover of a Live Story runs $250,000-$500,000 per story, while a 10-second segment runs an estimated $50,000-$100,000.
MARCH 2017 UPDATE: In October 2016, Snapchat merged Discover and Live Story into one section. Due to this change, popularity and viewership has allegedly waned for Live Stories – some reports noting a 50% decline in engagement.
Pricing for Live Stories varies by scope and reach. Reports from AdAge and CNBC suggested that a takeover of a Live Story ran $250,000-$500,000 per story, while a 10-second segment runs an estimated $50,000-$100,000.
MARCH 2017 UPDATE: A December 2016 Digiday report indicates the cost is now $250,000 for three, 10-second ads in a Live Story.
SNAPCHAT ADVERTISING: SPONSORED GEOFILTER
A geofilter is a sponsored photo / video filter that is active on every Snapchat user’s account, in a pre-defined geographic space and time. The brand is responsible for creative (web optimized PNG file) that must follow all of Snapchat’s community and brand guidelines.
A sponsored geofilter is best suited for advertisers looking to fuel local awareness. Historically, sponsored geofilters have been used for local brand recognition, company announcements, and a tool for the recruitment of talent.
Pricing for a sponsored geofilter varies by duration and reach, but at a minimum cost of $5.00, it is one of Snapchat’s most accessible forms of advertising. A sponsored geofilter can be active from 1 hour to 30 days.
Metrics for Geofilters:
- _ Total swipes, uses, views, uses/swipes, reach
- _ Unique swipes, uses, views, uses/swipes, reach
SNAPCHAT ADVERTISING: SPONSORED LENS
Lenses are interactive filters that all Snapchat users can use to embellish their photo or video. Advertisers work closely with Snapchat to ensure the creative works interactively across operating systems. Notable brands that have utilized sponsored lenses, include Gatorade, Taco Bell, and The Peanuts Movie.
A sponsored lens is best suited for advertisers looking to fuel national awareness. Not only does placing of the ad demand come at a high cost, the asset development does as well. Sponsored lenses are best used for nationally-known brands to bolster their image, as well as the launch of new products. However, it is important that the brand matches with the experimental and fun tone that sponsored lenses exemplify. For example, Gatorade emulated a football post-victory Gatorade shower for their sponsored lens during the Super Bowl.
Pricing for a sponsored lens, according to Fast Company, is variable. Cost is estimated at $450,000 on weekdays, $500,000 on weekends, and $750,000 on events and holidays. A sponsored lens will be active for 24 hours.
MARCH 2017 UPDATE: The average cost of a Sponsored Lens is around $400,000 – $550,000 per day, according to Snapchat advertising representatives.
Metrics for Sponsored Lens:
- Total plays, views, uses/swipes, reach
- Unique plays, uses, reach, use/play, playtime
- Direct snap uses, views, views/use
- Story uses, views, views/use
WHY SNAPCHAT IS USEFUL FOR ADVERTISERS
Snapchat is continuing to expand its catalog of offerings for advertisers. At launch, advertising on Snapchat required high spend, but now offerings such as the Sponsored Geofilter can be utilized for as little as $5.00. This means more and more advertisers can experiment with one of the fastest growing, most highly-engaged, and fun-loving social networks in history.
SNAP AD ATTACHMENTS + METRICS
Marketers use Snap Ads in many different ways and, as such, Snapchat has provided the following four customizations for ad placements as well as the associated metrics that can be reported on. Many of these options encourage Snapchat users to “Swipe Up,” from the ad.
Article: Structured similarly to editorial content on Discover, these multimedia ad units can feature text, in-line videos, galleries, and animated GIFs.
Metrics for Article: Reach, frequency, swipe-up rate, average view time, average percent of article viewed, and snap view-through
App Install: Marketers can drive Snapchatters to an embedded App or Google Play Store. This seamless integration makes it possible to install the applications in the background while Snapchat is live. ¥
Metrics for App Install: Reach, frequency, swipe-up rate, average view time, snap view-through, and number of installs
Long-Form Video: For Marketers wanting to share long-form video content, this placement will combine a small teaser with the ability to watch the full content on the platform.
Metrics for Long-Form Video: Reach, frequency, swipe-up rate, average view time, snap view-through, and average time viewed
Web View: Marketers can drive Snapchat users to a fast-loading landing page within the application. This means access to the website is as easy as swiping up on the ad in the Snapchat platform.
Metrics for Web View: Reach, frequency, swipe-up rate, average view time, average time on site, and snap view-through
(Amendment added 6/17/16):
Snapchat recently launched a rebrand of their “3V” advertising service, now dubbed, “Snap Ads.” This revamped service introduces Snapchat Partners, its greatly anticipated advertising API (application programming interface). This new API marks a transition to an automated, auction-based inventory purchasing system, which means advertisers will now be able to use programmatic interfaces to buy ad space. Additionally, Snapchat Partners allows advertisers to leverage ad, creative, and measurement partners to execute vertical video campaigns on the platform. These newly introduced features are applicable only for vertical video campaigns and not available for sponsored lenses or geofilters.
WHAT MARKETERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SNAPCHAT ADS
Snap Ads do not change the paid opportunities available on Snapchat, but allow greater accessibility for advertisers to execute campaigns on the platform and gain access to more measurement solutions. Moreover, the introduction of Snapchat Partners allows advertisers to commission experts to help with campaign strategy, creative execution, and measurement. Snapchat ad partners will help advertisers manage ad buying tools and optimize campaigns; Snapchat creative partners will help advertisers create stunning vertical video with Snap ads; and Snapchat measurement partners will help advertisers understand engagement with their ads. If advertisers choose to leverage these partners, fees will be automatically invoiced to Snapchat and the partner will collect a fee from the platform.
IN-CONTENT PHOTO SOURCE INFORMATION: