Snapchat advertising for dummies


The article gives a view of how marketers can go about Snapchat advertising, right from basics.

Recent data compilation revealed that Snapchat garners 10 billion video views each day. Further a report by TechCrunch states that this number has spiked from 8 billion views in February 2016, 6 billion November 2015, and 4 billion in May 2015. This results to a 150 per cent hike in video views in a span of one year.

Since Facebook’s latest video views data is of November 2015 (8 billion views), Snapchat seems to be leading the race currently. Evan Spiegel’s brainchild seems to have come a long way from sending an app for drunk college kids and naked selfies to one of the most impactful and expensive advertising platform.

Unprecedented content growth is only one reason; Snapchat boasts of 100 million active users who share over 400 million snaps daily. Further, a report by ComScore suggests that 50 per cent of Snapchat users fall under the 14 to 25 age group.

As the Facebook, Instagram, and virtually every platform gears up to battle the growing popularity of Snapchat, we bring to you the essentials of marketing on it (Snapchat).

Targeting & Measurement

Snapchat lacked targeting and measurement in its initial days, treading dangerously in line with the Orkut demise path. Spiegel fortunately took the warning bells seriously and started adapting advertising formats that it formerly called “creepy” in late 2015.

Snapchatters can be targeted basis Gender to begin with. While users don’t usually provide gender details, it can be inferred from Millward Brown. While signing up users fill in their birth date thus allowing age based targeting.

Location is Snapchat’s one of the strongest targeting filter. Geo-filters, Local, and Live have been used by advertisers time and again to reach out to the Millenial. Location based targeting allows geo targeting basis country, state/city, or even specific theatre or college campus.

To polish their measurement metrics, Snapchat has been working with third party vendor – Millward Brown, which offers numbers such as views and reach. It also partnered with Nielsen to offer advanced measurement metrics such as completion rate and brand resonance.

3V Advertising

Vertical video views or 3V advertising was launched by Snapchat in June 2015; this advertising format was designed to deliver video ads on mobile devices in a full screen format so as to cover 100 per cent viewablity.

3V turned out to be one of the biggest strengths for Snapchat with upcoming apps such as Virool now following suit with vertical formats.

According to data by Snapchat vertical video ads have up to 9x completition rate when compared to horizontal mobile videos. Vertical ads also usually blend in as opposed to pre-roll ads that come across as intrusive, which also eliminates white noise that is usually created by a blast of content on social networking apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

In May 2016, Snapchat introduced the option of measuring the performance of 3V ads. The app partnered with Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings, to report a campaign’s total digital audience across devices such as computers, tablets and smartphones using metrics similar to TV.

Advertising options

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Snapchat resorts to more of native advertising; communication that blends in. For instance, brands can advertise with the tailored content that Snapchat’s partnering publishers push through its Discover section. Most of these ads are vertical videos that fit in the content tailored for Snapchat. CNN is a prominent publisher on Snapchat; for the longest BMW was marked as the presenting sponsor on the content.

Advertising through Snapchat Live Stories is yet another strong option. Live stories are usually used for advertising a place (tourism) or events (like Coachella) – wherein 40 human curators, a part of the Live Story team initiate the story. Reports suggest that a Live Story attracts 20 million people on an average in a time frame of 24 hours; such stories are pegged to be worth $40,000.

Snapchat opened up geofilters for advertising in June 2015 with an exclusive filter for McDonald’s. For those who might not be aware geofilters are special overlays for snaps that can be accessed only in certain locations. Some of the most popular overlays were by Ted 2, The Terminator, and Minions.

Parting words

While there is no definite number on Snapchat users in India, it is safe to say that the app is increasingly gaining popularity amongst the youth. It is no longer an option; if brands haven’t yet, they will soon have to build individual Snapchat strategy.

Also, paid advertising on Snapchat isn’t exactly a monetarily viable unless you’re a MNC or a very well established brand. But, if you have budgets, nothing like it, if not, devise tactical methods to make the most out of the platform.


A writer by Karma, grammar Nazi by heart and traveler by hope, Saloni loves to pen about anything under the sun. With six years of journalism experience under her kitty, Saloni has tried hands on various beats including – Social Media, e-commerce, Mobile, Indian radio, Advertising, Food and Travel. Writing for various national and international publications has given Saloni an understanding of the science of social media.