Snapchat Advertising: Take Advantage of an Underrated Gen Z Engagement Platform

Yes, TikTok is still all the rage, and yes, Snapchat has had some notable struggles of late. But advertisers who turn their backs on Snapchat without assessing the platform’s opportunity are leaving potential efficiency gains on the table when pretty much every business needs to spend more wisely.

In case you need a refresher, advertising on Snapchat is a great way to drive traffic to a website or app, increase brand awareness, and generate leads for B2C brands, especially brands with a younger demographic. Because 39% of Snapchat’s advertising audience is between the ages of 18-24, Snapchat can be a complement (or cheaper alternative) to other social channels such as Meta or TikTok. Snapchat has 306M daily active users who send, in aggregate, roughly 2 million snaps every minute. That’s a lot of attention and potential engagement from Gen Z.

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Snapchat has more to offer than an active young user base; interactive formats such as Lenses, Filters, and Collection ads offer creative pros fun ways to engage their audiences. It also provides advertisers with several campaign objective mechanisms at major purchase stages Awareness, Consideration, and Conversions:

  • Awareness-based campaign objectives: Awareness, Promote Stories, Promote Places
  • Consideration-based campaign objectives: App Installs, Drive Traffic To Website, Drive Traffic to App, Engagement, Video Views, Lead Generation
  • Conversion-based campaign objectives: App Conversions, Website Conversions, Catalog Sales

 

Have you set up your Snapchat Ads Manager Account yet? Check out our guide to getting started!

 

Snapchat Creative Options - Specs and Functionality

Outside of exploring these objectives, an important and unique aspect of this channel is the creative being used. There are currently six different ad types that advertisers can leverage. Below are some details you should know about each type. (Note: the information below can all be found on Snapchat’s Business Help site or the Snapchat for Business site.)

 

Snapchat Single Image and Video Ads

Single Image and Video Ads were Snapchat’s original ad formats; they’re full-screen, easy-to-create ads that appear in between Snapchat Stories. Adding an attachment will allow users to swipe up and take action. The ad specs for these ads are:

Full Screen Canvas

  • 1080 x 1920px
  • 9:16 aspect ratio
  • Scaled proportionally to original asset

Length

  • 3 to 180 seconds (if file size does not exceed 1 GB)
  • 30 seconds (if created in Snap Publisher)
  • If the video is longer than 30 seconds, you’ll need to utilize an external editing software and upload the video to the Creative Library.

File Format

  • Video: .mp4 or .mov and H.264 encoded
  • Image: .jpg or .png (Ads Manager only)
  • Storage Aspect Ratio (SAR): 9:16
  • Display Aspect Ratio (DAR): 9:16
  • Pixel Aspect Ratio (PAR): 1:1

File Size

  • Video: 1 GB or less
  • Image: 5 MB or less

Text Specs

  • Brand: Up to 25 characters with spaces 
  • Headline: Up to 34 characters with spaces
  • Calls-to-action: You select the CTA text; Snapchat applies the visual and places the CTA on the ad.
    • Attachments: Website, app, long form video or AR Lens

Creative Restrictions (the following are prohibited):

  • Letterboxing (i.e. plain colored rectangle boxes without graphics, animation or text located on the top and bottom of creative) that lasts for more than 50% of the Ad's duration in still image ads.
  • Use or promotion of Snapchat usernames (or accounts) and Snap-owned trademarks or products (except in the context of promoting a Snapchat account – e.g. 'Follow @advertiseraccount on Snapchat' or 'Add us on Snapchat').
  • On-screen text or graphic CTAs that use the word 'Unlock' unless tied to a Snapchat creative tool (i.e. Lenses, Filter, Sticker pack).
  • Use or promotion of Snapcodes.
  • Altering of Snap trademarks, including the Snapchat app icon. All uses of Snap’s trademarks must comply with Snap's Brand Guidelines.
  • Falsely implying or suggesting any partnership or endorsement by Snap.
  • Inclusion of Snapchat UI elements or organic Snap features (restriction does not include native text bar, doodles, Helvetica font* or emojis*).
  • Emulating Publisher content to mislead Snapchatters.
  • Ads that have little or no correlation between Single Image or Video and landing page, use overly sensationalized language or make unverifiable claims, and/or use deceptive copy, or imagery to incentivize a Snapchatter to swipe up.
  • Headlines that feature all capital letters.
  • Legal language within the top or bottom 150px.

Of note: Snap UI CTA highlights (such as single semi-circle or triangle) are all allowed only if they are static and do not dominate the creative. The only movement allowed is an introductory reveal.

 


 

Snapchat Collection Ads

Collection Ads appear in Snapchat Stories and showcase a series of (up to four) products, giving Snapchatters the ability to browse and purchase. Collection Ads can be created dynamically when you upload product catalogs. Snapchat cites 4.1x to 17x higher engagement rates for retailers using Collection ads compared to individual Snap ads. 

  • File type: mp4, .mov, .jpg, or .png
  • Aspect Ratio: 9:16
  • Resolution: 1080px x 1920px
  • Length: 3-180 seconds
  • Thumbnail image requirements
    • File Format: Static image only (.jpg or .png)
    • Thumbnail Images: 3 or 4 square images only
    • Thumbnail File Size: 2MB or less for each image
    • Thumbnail Image Size: Equal to or more than 160px by 160px

Restrictions

Single Image or Video
  • Legal language must be restricted to the bottom 445 px.
  • 'Tap' CTA must be static, but it is allowed a single introductory reveal only.
Thumbnail
  • Thumbnails can feature the same product at different angles/vantage points but not the same exact image.
  • Thumbnails can include text but cannot be text only.
  • Thumbnails must feature an image (e.g. product, icons, item, feature) rather than just a single- or multi-color fill, gradient, or pattern.
  • Thumbnails cannot have a transparent background.

Examples of Snapchat Collection Ads.

 


 

Snapchat Story Ads

Story Ads allow brands to reach users with a branded tile in Snapchat’s Discover feed or between content posts. Once a tile is clicked, a collection of 3-20 images or videos is displayed.

  • File type: .jpg, .png, .mp4, or .mov 
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16 
  • Resolution: 1080px x 1920px
  • Length: 1-20 ‘chapterized’ Single Image or Video ads provided as separate files for flighting. Each Single Image or Video ad can be up to 15 seconds for a total of up to 180 seconds.
  • Tile asset deliverables for Discover section

Logo

  • 993 px wide x 284 high provided as a .png on transparent background 

Image

  • One (1) high-quality image that is 360 px x 600 px, provided as an up to 2 MB .png file
  • Advertisers must account for a 175 px ‘buffer zone’ at the top of the image to ensure logos do not conflict with any important image elements on the vertical tile.

Text Specs:

  • Brand: Up to 25 characters with spaces 
  • Headline: Up to 34 characters with spaces
  • Calls-to-action: You select the CTA text; Snapchat applies the visual and places the CTA on the ad.
    • Attachments: Website, app, long form video or AR Lens

Examples of Snapchat Story Ads.

 


 

Snapchat AR Lenses

AR Lenses allow you to create an interactive experience that your target audience can play with and send to friends. Snapchat’s free Lens Web Builder offers quick, easy-to-use access to AR technology, including a library of objects and animations, directly in the UI. 

Outputs look like:

Examples of Snapchat AR Lenses in use.

Some things to keep in mind:

Branding Guidelines

  • Visible logo or brand name is required on Face and World Lenses.
  • Avoid placing the brand logo where it may be obscured by UI elements or the carousel on the bottom of the screen.
  • The recommended logo placement is on the top left or top right under the UI elements.
  • Snapchat adds a 'SPONSORED' slug to the creative. This appears for only 2 seconds and doesn’t show in users’ Snaps.

 Creative Restrictions (the following are prohibited):

  • URLs, QR Codes, Snapcodes, Snapchat usernames, or any social handles. 
  • Profanity (with the exception of abbreviations(like OMFG or WTF if not used in a sexual context).
  • Editing the Snapchatter's perceivable race or skin tone, unless the Snapchatter is transformed into a non-human fictional character (such as transforming the Snapchatter into a blue alien or a green frog or green lizard).
  • Content that may incite or glorify violence or the use of weapons.
  • Weapons pointed or shooting at Snapchatters, or otherwise depicted in a threatening manner. If you include firearms in your creative, point them away from the Snapchatter and avoid any shooting toward the Snapchatter or the audience.

We also recommend you take a close read of Snapchat’s Advertising Policies for more info on disallowed and restricted categories.

 


 

Snapchat Filter Ads

Filter Ads are creative overlays applied over Snaps. Fun, engaging filters have seen tons of success in use by their target audience. When targeted users take a snap (one of hundreds of millions sent daily), they will have the option to use your filter. 

Filter Specifications

  • File type: .png
  • Resolution: 1080px x 2340px 
  • Visible brand logo or brand name
  • Mandatory text, logos and legal disclaimers may not be placed within 310px of the top or bottom of the canvas.

Filter Restrictions

  • Graphics that feature gambling or lottery material are not permitted.
  • Filter design may not include URLs, barcodes, Snapchat/Social usernames, or CTAs, other social platform logos, phone numbers, Snapcodes, or email addresses.
  • Hashtags are not allowed except:    
    • If limited to '#1' in reference to the number not a handle.
    • If integral or mandated for Campaign cohesion (e.g. the hashtag will be present on every digital or physical asset).
    • Reminder: hashtags within filter creative are not ‘tappable’ or functional
  • Any Filter with political content must include 'Filter paid for by [insert name of purchaser]' in 40 pixel height and with a shadow background of that text. Examples of political content include political issue advocacy, or promotion of certain political parties and candidates.

Example of Snapchat Filter Ads in use.

 


 

Snapchat Commercials

Commercials are found within Snapchat's Curated Content. These are six-second, non-skippable video ads that can run up to 3 minutes long and drive brand awareness. 

Commercial Specs

  • File type: .mp4 or .mov (H.264 encoded)
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16
  • Resolution: 1080px x 1920px
  • Length: Standard Commercial: 3-6 seconds. The full ad will be non-skippable. Extended Play Commercial: 7 to 180 seconds. Only the first 6 seconds will be non-skippable.

Commercial Requirements

  • Full screen and vertical format
  • Approved for viewing by an audience aged 13 and up
  • Must include audio
  • Brand Name and Headline must be added
  • Brand Name must match the paying Advertiser whose products or services are being advertised

Commercial Restrictions

  • Stills, cinemagraphs, .gifs, and silent video are not permitted

Creative Restrictions (the following are prohibited):

  • Letterboxing (i.e. plain colored rectangle boxes without graphics, animation or text located on the top and bottom of creative) that last for more than 50% of the Ad's duration.  
  • Use or promotion of Snapchat usernames (or accounts) and Snap-owned trademarks or products, except in the context of promoting a Snapchat account (e.g. 'Follow @advertiseraccount on Snapchat' or 'Add us on Snapchat'). 
  • Use or promotion of Snapcodes.
  • On-screen text or graphic CTAs that use the word Unlock, unless tied to a Snapchat creative tool (i.e. Lens, Filter, sticker pack).
  • Altering of Snap trademarks, including the Snapchat app icon. (All uses of Snap’s trademarks must comply with Snap’s Brand Guidelines.)
  • Falsely implying or suggesting any partnership or endorsement by Snap.
  • Inclusion of Snapchat UI elements or organic Snap features (use of native text bar, doodles, Helvetica fonts, and Emojis is permitted).
  • Emulating Publisher content to mislead Snapchatters.

 



If you have any questions about getting started on Snapchat ads, we’re here to help! Drop us a line and we’ll chat about where it might fit in your media mix.

 

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