Many marketers consider using Snapchat advertising in an effort to get their message across to a younger demographic.

But is Snapchat a cost-effective advertising platform?  

Read on to discover our opinion on whether Snapchat advertising is really worth it. 

Advert Objectives

Snapchat’s suite of advert objectives gives you a comprehensive range of options that are comparable to Facebook’s industry leading products.

  • Awareness – Increase awareness of your business
  • App Installs – Send people to the app store to download your app
  • Drive Traffic to Website/App – Send Snapchatters directly to your website
  • Engagement – Get users to engage with your ad
  • Video Views – Promote your product or service through video
  • Lead Gen – Generate leads for your business
  • Website Conversions – Drive actions such as purchases or sign-ups on your website
  • Catalog Sales – Increase online product sales

Snapchat offers businesses and marketing managers the ad objectives they will need to boost their brands. Generating and recording leads and actions on and off Snapchat is possible once you have installed their pixel.

Next we look at the audiences you can home in on…

Audiences You Can Target

Custom Audiences

With Snap’s Audience Match (SAM) Audiences you can upload your customer lists and emails which will then be matched against existing Snapchat users. If there are at least 1,000 matched users, you will be able to deliver ads to these people – a great tool for remarketing purposes!

You can also create Lookalike Audiences from your uploaded lists or website conversion data. Snapchat will then find other users with similar interests to these people. Note: One issue with lookalike audiences is that they are only available in select countries at the moment.

To retarget people who have already interacted with your website, Snap retains the details of people who have visited or taken actions on your site, and also users who have engaged with your Snapchat adverts. These can be found in Pixel Custom Audiences and allow you to remarket to these high-intent individuals. 

If you’re looking for a wider advert reach, there’s good and bad news.

Snapchat’s version of Facebook’s Audience Network is called Third-Party Custom Audiences and is a partnership with data giants Oracle and Nielsen. However, while this may seem an intriguing prospect, the option is only available within the United States.

No doubt about it – The lack of global availability for Snapchat’s custom audience features definitely hurts their offering. That said, if you just want basic remarketing capabilities to provide extra touchpoints in your marketing funnel, then Snap provides the opportunity.

Predefined Audiences

Are predefined audiences an improvement on Snap’s custom offering?

If you prefer to create your ad audiences from scratch, predefined audiences can help you to reach specific Snapchatters. Targeting is achieved by age and gender selection, and by using Snap’s selection of interest filters based on their users online and real world behaviours and interests.

You can choose a variety of different interest segments in the Lifestyles, Shoppers, Viewers, and Visitors categories. 

  • Lifestyles –  Lifestyle Categories consist of over 100 interest categories such as basketball fans, adventure seekers, and automotive enthusiasts. These ‘lifestyles’ are based on which content users watch on the platform.
  • Shoppers – The Shoppers audiences are based on what Snapchat users buy in stores, venues, and restaurants.
  • Viewers Snap offers 33 predefined audiences formed from TV and movie viewership. This is achieved through partnerships with comScore TV & Film Viewer.
  • Visitors – You can reach Snapchatters based on the places they have visited over the course of their day. Restaurants, retail stores, and venues are some examples.

On the face of it, these targeting options seem decent (the ability to advertise to people based on the places they have visited is an exciting development), but again the kicker is that 3 of these 4 audiences are only available in the US at this time.

It leaves the rest of the world with around 100 lifestyle categories to use. Ok, but certainly not great, especially in comparison to Facebook & Instagram.

Location Targeting 

Snapchat has everything you need when it comes to targeting users in a specific location. 

It’s possible to market to people by using their country, region, and postcodes. Searching by town and city data can be a bit hit and miss, so we prefer to use the map targeting method.

To access map location targeting you will need to select the ‘Advanced Create’ option when building your ads. Then you simply drop a pin location on the map and select a radius around the location that you want to target.  

As long as there are enough Snapchatters within your chosen location (1000 people), you will be able to show ads to these users. 

The radius distances available are good; from 0.6 – 62 miles, or 100 metres to 100 km’s.

Bulk Location Upload

In addition, you can choose to bulk upload locations to Snapchat by using the geo-location batch input tool.

Locations can be copied and pasted using addresses, latitude and longitude, region, or post codes. This is a great feature if you often market to people based in particular suburbs, or use different pricing strategies in different locations.

Unfortunately, the availability of the bulk upload features are mixed:

  • Latitude and longitude pairs are available for all country targets. 
  • Availability of regions and post codes differ by country target. 
  • Addresses are only available in Bulk Locations in the United States. 

Budget & Bidding 

Bidding on Snapchat Ads is broadly in line with other paid social ad platforms – you can choose to manually bid or let Snapchat do the work for you:

  • Auto Bid – The Snapchat algorithm will try to optimize for the most efficient cost per goal 
  • Target Cost – This bidding strategy tells Snapchat to make the best effort to keep your average CPA below the amount you set 
  • Max Bid –  Set a maximum amount that Snapchat can bid for you 

In terms of results, we have found that auto bid tends to provide the best results and delivery on the majority of occasions, although target cost bidding is useful if you have a CPA you really cannot exceed.

The minimum daily budget for any advert campaign created on Snapchat is $50 or €20. This is very high compared to Facebook where you can experiment with ad budgets from just €1 per day.  

At €20 daily, advertising budgets can be eaten up quickly, particularly when you have several campaigns running. This does not incentivise small and medium-sized businesses to use Snapchat Ads.

Summary  

At the current time, unless you live in the US, we would give Snapchat Ads a rating of 6/10

This is mainly due to the significant amount of features that are only available to US businesses.  Once these upgrades are rolled out globally then Snapchat is more likely to become a realistic contender to Facebook’s advertising crown.

That said, we have had some decent Snapchat advertising results, and if you’re looking to increase your overall social ad budget, then it may be worth trialling Snapchat alongside your Facebook and Instagram main social spend.

Also, Snapchat are currently running an attractive offer where you get $375 Credit on $350 Spend, so now could be a good time to see if it fits into your marketing strategy.