If you’re a business that wants to advertise online, Snapchat is probably not the first platform that comes to mind. A couple of years ago, advertising on Snapchat was inaccessible for most businesses and ridiculously priced compared to other channels.
Thanks to the continuous updates and Snap self-service Ads Manager. Businesses now of all sizes and budgets can advertise on Snapchat and benefit from an average of 210 million people using Snapchat every day.
Snapchat advertising solutions are now tailored to all industries and business mediums, whether affiliate marketing, eCommerce marketing, apps, game marketing, or even local business advertising.
Its power lies in its conversational, non-intrusive way to reach the community to drive change and grow your business.
Now that you’ve had a highlights reel on why Snapchat advertising in 2021 is worth your time and effort, this guide will clearly lay out everything you need to know about Snapchat ads: How to create them, how to target and engage your audience and how to measure your success. 
Ready? Let’s get started.

How Can Brands Advertise on Snapchat? ‍

Snapchat offers a whole bunch of features to create different types of content:

  • Images and Videos. Snapchat allows you to share portrait format images either after being taken and edited on the app or loaded from your library. You can also share videos shorter than 10 seconds, and these too can be edited like pictures.
  • Snaps. Snaps can be either images or videos. They are sent to specific recipients in a private setting. The snap disappears right after being seen by its recipients.
  • Stories. Stories are images or videos that a user can share with all of their followers/public.
  • So how to use Snapchat for advertising your eCommerce brand and incorporate it in your marketing strategies in ways that make sense and cater to the platform’s active demographics?

Set specific goals for the platform that helps with your marketing effort

Having specific marketing goals will help you make the best out of Snapchat to meet those goals. Let’s say your goal is to promote offers and products on your website; then, you need to use Snapchat’s feature that allows you to add direct links to your Snaps. With the help of Snapchat Insights, all business accounts have access to their analytics to track and analyze results.

Utilize Snapchat to promote content from other platforms

Suppose you’ve grown your following on other social media platforms. In that case, you can encourage those followers to check your content on Snapchat by sharing special content with a different angle or focus. A sneak peek of this content will create excitement and encourage them to follow you on this platform as well. Keep in mind that you are targeting generations known for being in tune with the latest trends, so your content must be unique and engaging.

Arrange brand takeovers on your account

If you’re collaborating with bloggers and influencers, you can let them take over your account for a day. They will be promoting this takeover on their account, which will help you in driving traffic. Although some brands might repost the content on other platforms, if you want to get the full impact of the platform, it is better to keep it exclusive to Snapchat and work with influencers who are already active on the app.
If you need help in influencer marketing to bring your brand story to life, you can rely on Think Orion. It is where our team of influencer marketing experts excel. Get in touch today!

Invest in Snapchat ads

Snapchat’s advertising program can be a lucrative part of your social media marketing strategy and worth taking advantage of. Businesses interested in region-specific marketing can benefit from Snapchat’s powerful geographical targeting features to drive foot traffic to boost and measure sales by region. For others with young- tech-savvy audiences, they can use other types of Snapchat ads to promote app installs. Using the swipe-up feature on the ad, they can direct users to the installation page. All while using storytelling to present solutions and reveal the unique personality of the brand. Taking a step back on selling and focusing on helping your customers know you better will help you gain trust while promoting your business.

Interactive Snapchat filter advertising for instant exposure

One of the most popular features on Snapchat are the filters, known as geotags on the app. Businesses with stores or brick and mortars can create location-specific filters, known as Snapchat geofilter advertising, which appear to users near their business location.  

Why do brands excel when using Snapchat ads for eCommerce marketing?

Less Competition, More opportunity

Almost all businesses have a Facebook account, a Twitter account, an Instagram account, and probably a Pinterest one. On the contrary, most eCommerce businesses haven’t established a presence on Snapchat yet. This is why we also provide eCommerce Marketing services to solidify your brand on this social network.

Stand out and show the fun side of your brand

Snapchat was designed to be casual and fun. Snapchat is a more authentic, more natural, and more spontaneous platform. Using Snapchat makes it possible to show another side of your eCommerce business and express your brand personality in a new way to build a closer and warmer relationship with the users.

Engagement on a personal level‍

Snapchat allows one-on-one engagement with customers. Just like celebrities use Snapchat to show a “day-in-my-life” or “behind-the-scenes,” businesses can do the same. Here’s an example of “Go behind the scenes” with Alexa Chung on Vogue’s Snapchat during London Fashion Week.

‍Reach the younger audience

Since the majority of Snapchat users are between the ages of 18-34, they will most likely see your business videos there rather than your TV ad. Besides, as we mentioned earlier, you have the opportunity to show the fun side of your business, which is a great way to promote and gain a loyal following.

What are Snapchat Campaign Goals? 

Snapchat, like other social platforms, offers different goals depending on what you like to achieve when it comes to advertising. Depending on your goals and budget, brands can choose from different attachment types to effectively increase their ROI.
Here’s a breakdown of each campaign goal:

Brand Awareness

This is the simplest form of advertising on Snapchat, where brands just ask users to watch a video. The key is to keep it short and create a few different versions of the video ad to avoid what is known as ad fatigue. This is more common on Snapchat than on other social advertising platforms. 

Web Views and Conversions

Ads that encourage swipe-ups to read more or check out a site aim to push the target audience down the sales funnel to a conversion. This is the most popular advertising way on Snapchat. 

Lead Generation

For brands that aim to drive users to download, fill a form or register, creating ads with the lead generation goal is possible within the Ad Manager.

App Installs and Engagement

With the down-funnel event tracking that Snapchat has recently introduced, brands can accurately track app installs and conversions along with their third-party tracking platform to measure their campaign’s success. 

Deep Linking in Snapchat Ads

Brands can deep link their ad into their app to bring users where they want them to be, a feature that can drive surprising results. 

Brand Engagement

Users are constantly looking for discounts or promotions and ready to purchase after viewing a product on Snapchat. Your opportunity for brand engagement is already wide open.

Catalog Sales

With shoppers spending much more time on their mobile devices than laptops and desktops, brands can now benefit from the Collection Ads to drive catalog sales through a phone screen. 

Which types of ads will work best for your Snapchat Campaign?

Snapchat has changed the way we consume content, and it is redefining the habits of an entire generation. In order to achieve the above marketing and advertising goals, Snapchat offers six different formats to create your ad.

Snap Ads

This is the most basic format offered by Snapchat. They can be videos, photos, gifs, etc. Regardless of the format, these are full-screen and designed to be full of sound, sight, and motion. Snap ads are displayed between different Snapchat content types and allow users to take immediate action, such as swiping up to a URL or installing an app.

Remember that Snapchat will add a call to action if you add an attachment, so avoid placing anything important in that area.

Technical specifications

  • Width: 1080 pixels
  • Height: 1920 pixels
  • Proportions: 9:16
  • Format: .MP4, .MOV, H.264 encoded
  • Audio: 2 channels only, PCM or AAC codec, 192 kbps minimum, 16 or 24 bit only, 48 kHz sampling rate
  • Duration: 3 seconds to 3 minutes (but 3-5 seconds is the sweet spot if you’re looking to drive action)
  • File size: 32 MB or less

Story Ads

They are a collection of Snap Ads perfect when you need more than three to five seconds to say what you want to say!

Story ads are displayed in the “Discover” feed, with a cover photo and a headline. When a user taps your tile, a collection of ads open, similar to personal Snapchat stories; this means you are reaching a highly-qualified segment of your audience, driving CPAs at a fraction of the cost.
For Story ads guidelines, click here.


Filters are another great way to advertise on Snapchat. Those who are targeted to geographic locations are referred to as Geofilters. This is an exciting option to introduce your brand in the millions of snaps that users will send to each other daily. Quaker Oats developed a filter for College & Young Working Women, Female Fitness Buffs, Convenience Seekers, and Working Moms and drove 11.4 million impressions.

When creating Snapchat filters, always keep the user in mind. Create a filter that represents your brand without being too brandy that nobody uses it.
Snapchat recommends designs not to take up more than 25% of the user’s screen to maintain a positive user experience.
Businesses can create their own geofilters for as little as $5. They are ideal for businesses that are location-specific, as costs can significantly rise as you increase the radius.

Technical specifications

  • Width: 1080 pixels
  • Height: 1920 pixels
  • Format: PNG resource with transparent background
  • File size: 250 KB or less


When you think of Snapchat, the first thing that might probably pop in your mind is those puppy ears, flower crown selfies, long rainbow tongues, or giant tacos by Taco Bell. Those are lenses!

Technical specifications

  • High resolution, transparent background: PNG of the logo
  • High Resolution, Layered: PNG file for any static image the brand wants to appear in the lens
  • For 2D lenses: High resolution. PSD file of any specific 2D model that will be added to the face or lens frame
  • For 3D lenses: 3D Max or Maya files of 3D models that will be added to the face/head/frame in the lens
  • Audio: .MP3 or .WAV files

In addition to “Face Lenses,” Snapchat also offers “World Lenses,” which uses the front camera to add objects that seem like they are in your physical space.
The possibilities are just endless with these ads. This lens from Bareburger lets potential customers imagine their meal from all angles.

You can find the guidelines on AR lens ads here.

Product Ads

These are ideal for shining light on your products. Upload your catalog and create “shoppable” ads, a.k.a Product ads.
Users can click on the item they like and buy it straight away, which shows how Snapchat has become a channel that can drive full-funnel growth from awareness down to conversions and profit.

These are a very recent addition that rolled out mid-October 2019 and only available in certain countries. Dynamic ads bring automated personalization to Snapchat advertising offering new ways to scale and drive performance. Syncing a product catalog with dynamic ads allows Snapchat to be automatically updated about changes to products like price and availability so you can run ‘always-on’ campaigns.
Swarovski and Ivory Ella had early success on their dynamic ads over the holiday season.

Snapchat Pixel Tracking

Just like Facebook Pixel for advertisers, Snapchat Pixel provides marketers with a code to place it on their website so they can track signups, product sales, and all traffic that convert on Snap Ads.

How to measure the metrics of Snapchat advertising?

Understanding where to find Snapchat performance metrics and how to analyze the metrics to make smart choices for your Snapchat marketing is essential for getting a positive ROI for your social media efforts.

#1 Total number of openings

This is the total number that your Snapchat stories have been viewed by users. Tracking this metric helps you assess the success of your content and growth. 
If users can’t find any value in the stories you share, Snapchat’s algorithm will unlikely show your content to users. Your content must add value or at least be interesting and engaging. 
One way to increase the number of views is to build excitement through anticipation. Instead of cliche content, take your viewers on a journey or behind-the-scenes that encourages them to keep watching.
As for growth, you want to make sure you are reaching your target audience. No one wants to spend hours creating content that will never find an audience. Even if you have a social media expert on your team, a Snapchat advertising agency can better assist in driving fast results.
At Think Orion, Snapchat ad specialists are obsessed with data and brand-centric mindsets. Partnering with experts who are thoroughly familiar with the platform’s marketing capabilities, features, and secrets will help you stay competitive and maximize the return on investment. No matter your size or your budget, Think Orion is the agency of choice for industry leads and small businesses alike. Get in touch today about what we can do for you. 

#2 Average open rates

Just like the engagement rate on other social media platforms, the average open rates are the percentage of the total estimated subscribers who have engaged with your story. This statistic is closely related to the number of openings. 
One way that helps increase average open rates is by repurposing your Snapchat stories for your other social channels and encouraging viewers to follow you on Snapchat.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have a large following on other channels, this tactic won’t help you much, but it brings us back to the growth strategy. Who is the primary social growth strategist on your marketing team? If you don’t have one, you need one, don’t underestimate the importance of this role.

# 3 Total number of screenshots

This metric shows how many times people have saved your snap. When users take a screenshot, it indicates that the content was valuable to them.
Dive deeper to find out which stories got the most screenshots to identify the content that best resonates with your Snapchat followers.
Plan your content accordingly and in advance using an editorial calendar to stay on top of your metrics. 

# 4 Completion rate

The completion rate is similar to the retention rate on other platforms. It is the percentage of subscribers who viewed the entire story from the first moment to the last. 
This metric represents the loyalty of your audience and how interested they are in the content you share. To increase the completion rate, brands need to share content focused on series and provide a reason for interaction. Consider adding text to snaps and even calls to action to let the audience know what to do next. 

# 5 Subscriber growth

This key metric determines where your Snapchat followers are coming from. That way, you can adjust your strategy accordingly and optimize the source to make it easier for users to connect with you. 
Use these metrics to determine how successful you are growing and engaging your Snapchat followers.

Is AR Snapchat’s Key Point of Difference?

60% of Snapchatters watch video ads with the sound on, while 85% of the videos are watched muted on Facebook. For that reason, Snapchat has successfully created a totally different opportunity for brands to communicate with their audience. Adidas has started selling its products using Snapchat’s new shoppable augmented reality technology that allows adding a ‘buy’ button to AR lenses.

How much does it cost to advertise on Snapchat?

Snapchat advertising cost depends on the structure of the campaign. Advertisers are charged per 1,000 impressions (CPM). But, they also have an option to choose goal-based bidding, which allows them to set up a maximum price for every time a viewer performs the action optimized in the ad, like swipe ups, app installs, and impressions.
Snapchat recommends bidding between $1 and $3 for swipe-ups, making any needed adjustments based on the performance. Whereas for app installs, Snapchat recommends setting bids at the ideal cost the advertiser would pay for a user to install the app, and also any modifications should be made based on performance.
After setting up the campaigns, Snapchat will deliver the ads to generate the maximum result at the lowest cost. While advertisers have the option to decide how much each specified goal means to them, they are still charged by impressions (CPM).

3 eCommerce Snapchat advertising examples to inspire you


An eCommerce website for moms, babies, and household products has used Snap ads, story ads, and collection ads to show their latest products and engage potential customers with a straightforward, shoppable experience.


An eCommerce business for women’s fashion has used Snapchat advertising to drive installs and reach buying-female customers. The ad featured a call to action and specific product categories based on product-focused creativity and expanded multi-country targeting. ZAFUL acquired high-intent customers using the minimum ROAS bidding and achieved a CPI growth of 20%.


Using AR lens and Snap ads, Jaguar created a Snapchat advertising campaign to build awareness for the launch of their 2020 E-PACE Engage Edition in Spain. Users 25+ old explored the exterior and interior of the car in their own surroundings and were asked to sign up on their landing page using a call-to-action button.
Just like the above Snapchat ads examples, take advantage of the platform’s unique features to create memorable and shareable experiences relevant to your audiences.


There are a lot of great potentials for eCommerce brands to promote products on Snapchat, especially if it is of interest to Millennials and Generation Z. It has a robust advertising platform, through which you have a lot of control using their Ads Manager. It’s easy, fun, and you get to spread your message to 186 million people, so give it a try!

Key points to remember:

  • The Snapchat advertising platform is powerful if you are targeting a younger audience.
  • Take your time to understand the channel and Snapchat advertising policies before setting up your strategy.
  • Take advantage of shoppable ads to showcase your products and increase sales.
  • Snapchat advertising opportunities are endless, don’t be hesitant to experiment with new interactive and engaging content.

What other tips are you using to sell your products on Snapchat? Join us on Instagram and let us know in the comments!