When Snapchat was released in 2011, originally as Picaboo, teens and young adults clamored to download and use the app that let them send pictures or messages that disappeared after viewing.

This method of communicating with friends, family, and strangers through Snapchat pictures, videos, and stories has only continued to grow over the last 10 years with over 265 million daily active users last year – and counting.

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When Snapchat announced Snapchat advertising in 2014, big brands were quick to jump on the bandwagon and run Snapchat ads to reach a desirable audience: millennials and Gen Z.

As more and more brands invest in Snapchat advertising, many small and local businesses are left wondering whether or not Snapchat advertising is for them, and if it is, how they can run Snapchat ads successfully.

In this guide, we’re going to share all the details you need to know about Snapchat advertising, including:

  • What Snapchat advertising is.
  • The benefits of Snapchat ads for small businesses.
  • Tips for effective Snapchat advertising.

Let’s get snappin’!


What is Snapchat advertising?

First, let’s cover the basics. If you’re not familiar with Snapchat, it’s a mobile app that allows users to share images, videos, and stories with their contacts. Once the recipient views the message, video, or picture, it is no longer visible. It also alerts the sender if a recipient takes a screenshot of their snap. You can add users as a friend through your contact or by searching their snap ID or scanning their unique Snap QR code.

Snapchat was one of the first big social channels to introduce filters, which allow users to add fun stickers, photo modulations, or voice modulations to their Snap creations.

Snapchat advertising is exactly what it sounds like: advertising that runs on Snapchat. What’s a little more complicated, however, is the details about how and why it works, which we’ll get into a little later.


Why should you invest in Snapchat advertising?

Before we dive into the details around Snapchat advertising, let’s talk about the benefits. Why run Snapchat ads in the first place?

Here are five reasons small businesses should invest in Snapchat advertising:

You can reach Millennials and Gen Zers

Snapchat remains one of the most popular apps for Millennials and Gen Z. In 2019, Snapchat reached 75% of all 13 to 34-year-olds, which, according to Hootsuite, “means Snapchat is reaching more 13 to 34-year-olds in the USA than Facebook, Messenger and Instagram combined.”

And, Snapchat recently announced they have the ability to reach 90% of 13 to 24-year-olds across the US.

This means that if your audience falls into that demographic age range, it’s important for your business to be advertising on Snapchat.

And, even if your target audience isn’t made up of Gen Z, it’s important to start getting in front of them now as their contributions to the economy will only continue to grow. Over the next 10 years, Gen Z’s income will grow from $460 billion to 7x the size at $3.2 trillion.

Snapchat users are active and engaged

The average Snapchat user is using the app for an average of 30 minutes a day, and it’s the second most-visited social platform in the US.

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This means that you have the opportunity to reach and engage with an active base of users with Snapchat advertising.

Snapchat users are more likely to make mobile purchases

Every business wants to reach consumers on mobile – it’s where people are spending more and more time and where they’re becoming more comfortable making online purchases.

Snapchat users, specifically, are even more likely to make a purchase from mobile than those who don’t use Snapchat.

Now, who would want to miss out on an audience that’s more likely to make a purchase from them on their mobile devices?

Snapchat users are ready to buy

If you’re looking to reach an audience that’s ready to purchase, Snapchat advertising is the channel for you. Snapchat users are 60% more likely to make impulse purchases.

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And, Snapchat advertising has been found to be successful at driving online to offline sales.

Snapchat users are quick to share about their purchases and experiences

The ultimate goal for small businesses is to turn your customers into brand evangelists so you can reap the rewards of referral marketing.

Snapchat users are more likely to play this role as 35% will send snaps to their contacts about products they’re interested in buying. This means that if you can reach and engage with one user with Snapchat advertising, you have the opportunity to reach even more through word-of-mouth marketing.


How small businesses can use Snapchat advertising

Snapchat advertising is not only attainable for small businesses – but it’s also effective at helping them reach a variety of marketing goals and objectives.

Here are a few ways your business can use Snapchat advertising:

Increase awareness for your business

If you want to introduce your business to a new audience, grow recognition for your brand, or get in front of consumers in another place they’re spending time online, Snapchat advertising is a great option for you.

Drive website visits

With Snapchat advertising, you can include a call to action to drive traffic to your website. Users will then swipe up or click on the ad to visit your site and can then take further action to make a purchase or become your customer. Or, you can drive them to your website to simply learn more about your business.

Encourage in-person visits

Snapchat advertising has a feature that allows you to target local users near or in a certain location through the app. You can then use this to drive Snapchatters to visit your business.

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Educate your audience

You can also use Snapchat advertising’s innovative features as a fun and easy way to educate your audience about your business or a local cause your business supports. This can also help drive awareness for your brand on Snapchat. 

Get more downloads for your app

If you’re marketing an app, Snapchat advertising is a great option to educate your audience about your app and get them to download it directly from their mobile devices.


Types of Snapchat ads

One of the great things about Snapchat advertising is that there are multiple ad types to choose from depending on your goal, your audience, and your message.

Here are the three most popular types of Snapchat ads:

Single image or video ads

This Snapchat ad type is a full-screen image or video that appears between or after content on Snapchat.

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These ads can be up to three minutes long but are best around 3-5 seconds long. It doesn’t take long to capture a user’s attention on Snapchat!

Story ads

Story ads on Snapchat are a great way to reach users. With Story ads, users will see a branded tile on their Discover page that then plays or displays your ad when clicked.

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Your Snapchat story ad can display 3-20 single images or video ads meant to build excitement for your business and reach new audiences.


You can run Snapchat advertising through filters by creating a custom one for Snapchatters to use. This is a great option to market an event, your business location, or just to increase awareness for your brand in a fun and stylized way.

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Other types of Snapchat ads

There are a few more types of Snapchat ads available, including:

  • Lenses
  • Collection Ads
  • Commercial Ads


Tips for effective Snapchat advertising campaigns

If you’re ready to run Snapchat advertising for your small business, we’ve got some tips to help you get started. (But first, make sure you create a Snapchat business account!)

Choose your Snapchat advertising objective

Snapchat advertising outlines three common business objectives for running ads:

  • Build awareness.
  • Drive consideration.
  • Boost conversions.

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These can tie into the ways you can use Snapchat ads for your small business that we outlined a little earlier.

Identify your target audience on Snapchat

Snapchat allows you to target users based on a variety of demographics and factors, similar to Facebook advertising.

While it may be tempting to narrow down your target audience, it’s also important to make sure your audience is wide enough to reach the optimum number of people to learn about your business and hopefully take an action.

Design the right Snapchat ad

Here’s the fun part: Because Snapchat is an image and video-based platform that skews toward a younger demographic, you have an opportunity to play around with your creative and make it appeal to users on the platform.

While you want to keep your ad consistent with your brand, you can also play around with bold colors, fun graphics, and silly videos to see what best engages your audience on Snapchat.

Understand how to measure Snapchat advertising success

Measuring your Snapchat advertising is important to understand how it’s contributing to your marketing goals. With Snapchat advertising, you can measure metrics like the number of swipe-ups your ad has received, impressions, and views. You can also see valuable information like the demographics of the audience that has viewed your Snap ads.


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Snapchat advertising for small businesses

Snapchat advertising is the perfect channel to connect your business with a younger demographic and capture an engaged and active audience. By using the right mix of Snapchat ad types and strategies, you can see success on the platform no matter your business size or goal.

PS: Did you hear about our recent partnership with Snap Inc. to make Snapchat advertising easier for local businesses? Read about it here!

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