Hello and welcome to the wonderful world of Snapchat!
If you’re reading this article, you probably already know about the power of Snapchat Ads. Or maybe you’re just getting started and looking for some help.
Either way, we’re about to make it easy for you to run profitable Snapchat ads!
If you DON’T already know about the awesome power of Snapchat…I wrote an entire blog post about it. You can check that out here.
And if you’re looking for cliff notes, here you go: Snapchat can make you a lot of money. Start advertising on Snapchat.
So now that we’re on the same page, let’s talk about how to make sure that you’re using Snapchat to get the most bang for your ad spend (as I believe the saying goes).
First, you’ll need to optimize your ads and ad sets. And then, you’ll need to measure your campaigns and adjust accordingly.
How to Optimize Snapchat Ad Campaigns
To run successful Snapchat campaigns you’ve got to optimize both on the ad set level and on the individual ad level. Optimizing on the ad set level is all about that fun nerdy stuff like bidding strategies, targeting, testing and whatnot. Optimizing on the ad level is more of an artsy endeavor—it’s all about using the right creative.
So, a little nerdy, a little artsy…like the cast of a John Hughes movie, that’s Snapchat optimization in a nutshell.
Snapchat Ad Set Optimization
Let’s start with the nerdy.
5 Ways To Improve Snapchat Campaign Performance
At the ad set level, there are five different ways you can improve campaign performance and get the most out of your ad spend.
Snapchat Optimization Strategy #1: Use Goal-Based Bidding
Snapchat auction dynamics work through Goal-Based Bidding (GBB). Instead of set prices, you bid on a specific goal, such as Impressions, Swipe Ups, or Pixel Purchases. Snap’s AI is pretty advanced at this point, so we’ve found that this is the best way to get the most efficient campaign results. Pick your goal, then select your bidding strategy (which we’ll get to next) and let Snapchat do its thing.
Snapchat Optimization Strategy #2: Select the Right Bidding Strategy
After you set your budget and goal, you have up to three GBB strategies to choose from:
- Auto-Bid: Auto-bid uses the suggested bid at launch as the bid amount for the entire flight. For most situations, we recommend this strategy as the way to get the most goal actions based on your budget and target audiences.
- Target Cost: If you need to ensure that the cost per action (CPA) stays below a certain amount, you can bid by target cost. Be careful not to set the amount too low though, or you might not be able to spend your whole budget.
Max Bid: This strategy lets you set a maximum amount Snapchat can bid for you while trying to get the most efficient CPA. Again, if you set the amount too low you risk not spending your whole budget. Snapchat will offer you a suggested bid range, and they recommend sticking to the higher end so that doesn’t happen.
No matter which option you choose, it’s essential to check in frequently with your delivery and performance against your GBB strategy. You may need to adjust your bid over time due to seasonality and changing auction dynamics.
- Lower your bid if you need to drive more efficiency, but as noted before keep in mind that this risks not spending your budget in full.
- Increase your bid in order to allow your ad set to enter and win more auctions.
Snapchat Optimization Strategy #3: Target a Broad Audience
Our next tip for optimizing your ad sets is to target a broad audience. You might think you want to keep your audience limited to a smaller group that you know is more likely to engage with your brand, but when you expand the reach of individual ad sets, Snapchat’s delivery system has more room to optimize based on your bid goal. It’s important to remember that even with broad targeting, Snapchat’s Goal-Based Bidding will always try to show your ads to Snapchatters who are most likely to take the desired action.
It’s important to target a broad enough audience to ensure you can hit your desired budget. If you are already reaching your budget, you can explore which audiences are performing best by using Delivery Insights reporting (which we’ll go into in detail below.) Then narrow your audience down from there.
Snapchat Optimization Strategy #4: Adjust or Remove Frequency Caps
Frequency capping is available when you bid on Impressions. If you notice your spend goes up and down throughout a flight, there’s a chance the frequency cap is preventing full spend.
In this situation, you can remove the frequency cap or lessen stringency to open up more ad spend.
Snapchat Optimization Strategy #5: Split Test
Testing, testing, testing. I almost get tired of saying it, but I’ll probably never stop because it’s pretty much always true: You need to test to see what works. Luckily, Snapchat has a built-in split testing feature that makes it easy.
Snapchat supports split testing by audience and creative. You can compare different marketing strategies and use the results for future optimizations. Split testing also guarantees your budget is allocated evenly between each variation, which would be impossible to achieve if you tried to compare ads without using Snapchat’s built-in feature.
It couldn’t be easier to set up. On the ‘Campaign Setup’ of Advanced Create, select ‘Create Split Test.’ Then choose whether you want to split by audience or creative.
Optimize Your Snapchat Targeting with Audience Insights
I’ve got one more nerdy optimization strategy for you before we move on to the artsy stuff. But this one is BIG, so it gets its very own section. In order to optimize your targeting, you should definitely make proper use of Snapchat’s Audience Insights. It’s a GREAT tool.
Audience Insights lets you compare and create audience segments. Using Snapchat data like demographics and Snap Lifestyle Categories (SLCs) as well as external data from third-party partners, you can learn more about your target audience and discover new segments that could become successful target audiences for your brand.
How to Access Audience Insights
First, here’s how to access Audience Insights:
1) Click the menu in the top left and select ‘Audiences.’
2) Click ‘New Audience’ in the top right, or ‘Get Started’ in the middle if you don’t have any existing Audiences. Then select ‘Saved Audience.’
3) Input your targeting information, including locations, demographics, audiences, and devices. The Audience Insights for the specified targeting parameters will begin to update.
4) To save a particular audience to use in your campaigns, click ‘Save’ in the top right. Enter your audience name and description and click ‘Save.’
How to Utilize Audience Insights
Audience Insights is an incredibly powerful tool that will help you improve your targeting and hone your creative to suit your audience. Here are some of the ways that you can use it to optimize your Snapchat campaigns.
View Demographics. See the demographic breakdown of people in your Custom Audience. Having this basic understanding of who your audience is will be essential for creating relevant ad content.
Optimize Your Creative to Suit Your Audience. You might learn some interesting things about your target audience when you check out their SLCs and Interests. For instance, let’s say you’ve been targeting 40-something men in the Los Angeles area. You might discover that 50% of your audience also happens to have an interest in deep-sea fishing. With this in mind, you can create more relevant advertising that will appeal to your audience’s interests.
Discover Lookalike Audiences & Expand Your Reach. If you advertise on Facebook, then you already know all about the awesome power of Lookalike Audiences. Well, Snap offers the same great tool. Actually, Snap’s ability to find great Lookalike Audiences might be even better than Facebook’s. It’s a great way to expand the reach of your campaign.
Save Relevant Audiences. Once you find Lookalike Audiences or other relevant segments to target, you can save them in order to target them in your next campaign.
See Purchase Intent. It’s not hard to see why the likelihood of your target audience purchasing your product is a super-helpful piece of information to have. You can contrast and compare the purchase intent of different audiences and target/bid accordingly.
Optimize for Locations. You can optimize targeting for top regions and DMAs.
Adjust Bids by Device. You can adjust bids by device, including type and carrier. If you see that, for example, the purchase intent is much higher for iPhone users than Android users, you can adjust your bid accordingly.
And that’s all for the nerdy. Now onto the artsy…
Optimize Your Snapchat Creative
Everything I talked about above is important—bidding, targeting, budgeting, all of that fun stuff. But the MOST important part of your Snapchat strategy is your creative. Snapchatters are primed and ready to engage, but that doesn’t mean you can toss them any old ad and watch the dollars roll in. Luckily, the way to optimize your creative so that your ads deliver on your goal is not a great mystery.
Remember that time I said the creative side of Snapchat is an art? That was a bit of a lie. If you magically make content that works immediately with no adjustments necessary—congratulations, you’re a certified Snapchat artiste. Most of us, though, need to test and learn and adjust. And that’s not art, it’s…I don’t know. Science. Or math. Or maybe social studies…?
The thing is, if your ad creative doesn’t resonate with Snapchatters, you may have trouble spending your budget, or you could end up with a higher cost per optimization event.
Try creating and testing new creative whenever possible. By testing creative variations, you provide Snapchat’s delivery system with more opportunities to explore new ads that may perform well with your customers.
How to best optimize your creative will change depending on your primary goal and which ad format you’re using. Here is a breakdown of our top tips as well as questions to ask yourself for each of the four most common ad formats.
1. Optimizing Creative for Snap Ads & Commercials
First and foremost, the thing you want to keep in mind when creating ANY ads for Snapchat is that Snapchat has its own look, feel, and even language. You need to familiarize yourself with it in order to create effective ads, because if you show up looking like this guy:
Snapchatters just aren’t going to feel your brand, and they definitely won’t swipe up.
So, how to do Snapchat like a real Snapchatter? Here are our top tips:
Use User-Generated Content. Or, at least create ads with a UGC look and feel. These ads do well on Snapchat, much better than overly produced ads. Speaking directly to the camera, with Snapchat-inspired features, will go a long way.
Keep it simple. Snapchat is all about bite-sized content, and your ads should fit right in. Think 5 to 6 seconds long. You should also keep in mind that Snapchat will put your brand name in the upper left corner of the ad, so keep that area clear in order to avoid clutter.
Establish branding early on. Make sure your logo or other branding is visible around the 2-second mark, or you risk missing the opportunity to get your most important message across.
Beyond that, here are questions that will help you optimize your Snap Ads and Commercials according to your particular goals:
Optimizing Creative for Snap Ads & Commercials
|AD GOAL||QUESTIONS TO PONDER|
Cost per View or Completions
|Does your ad make effective use of imagery or video?|
|Does your creative capture attention in the first three seconds?|
|Is your video timed to the right length for messaging?|
|Cost per Swipe Up or Swipe-Up Rate||Does your creative drive Snapchatters to the action you want them to take?|
|Does your ad present a clear value to viewing the attachment?|
|Is the product or offer clear?|
Cost Per Sign-Up, Purchase, or Install
|Is your messaging and ad content engaging and clear?|
|Does your messaging address the right audience?|
|Is your landing page optimized for performance?|
Once you’ve done your best to answer each of the questions, TEST!
2) Optimizing Creative for Snapchat Story Ads
When running Story Ads, keep in mind that you really have TWO opportunities here to get your message across: the tile and the Story itself. Users will see the tile for your Story on the Discover page, even if they don’t click on it and watch. That means you should make sure that your logo really pops! Take advantage of the space to get your audience to notice your brand.
And if you want anyone to click on your tile, there are a few things you should do. First, make sure you create a sense of curiosity. Give them a reason to learn more! Make sure your copy is simple, clean, and most of all—HONEST. Don’t make them think they’re clicking on something they’re not. Snapchatters do not appreciate that, and they won’t forget it, either.
When it comes to the Story itself, make sure it presents a linear, easy-to-follow narrative. Remember to include plenty of movement and personality, and be sure that it grabs attention right away.
And here is your handy chart for questions that’ll help you optimize your Story Ads according to your goal (or in some cases, according to common problems you may need to troubleshoot):
Optimizing Creative for Story Ads
|AD GOAL or PROBLEM||QUESTIONS TO PONDER|
|High Open Rate but Low Swipe-Up Rate||Is your tile image or copy misleading?|
|Can your Story Ad video sequencing be more effective?|
|Can you add website attachments to each Snap?|
|Low Open Rate but High Swipe-Up Rate||Can your tile image or copy be more attention-grabbing?|
|Does your tile fit in seamlessly with Snapchat content?|
|Completed Story View Percentage||Is your video sequencing cohesive?|
3) Optimizing Creative for Snapchat Filters
First and foremost, make sure your filter is relevant to your audience. Users have to have a reason to use your filter and send it to their friends, so it’s essential that you know your audience well enough to design a filter that will resonate with them.
Keep the design simple, otherwise it will crowd out users’ Snaps. Make sure that the design ADDS something to a Snap, be that humor or visual appeal or relevance.
And without further ado, your handy chart:
|Optimizing Creative for Filters|
|AD GOAL||QUESTIONS TO PONDER|
|Shares, Saves, Earned Impressions, or Total CPM||Does your filter spark the right emotional response?|
|Is your filter built for 1:1 communication?|
|Does brand messaging occur organically?|
4. Optimizing Creative for Snapchat Lenses AR Experiences
When creating Lens AR Experiences, like other types of Snap Ads, make sure to keep it simple. If you’ve got too many triggers, it can get overcomplicated, confusing, and messy. Take this classic so-bad-it’s-good (in my personal opinion) example from Taco Bell:
On the one hand, it’s terrible. It completely covers up the user’s face (we generally advise against that) and doesn’t exactly make me want to eat tacos. In fact, it makes me a little bit afraid of tacos.
On the other hand, it’s hilarious. And it showcases a brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is perfect for Snapchat. And it certainly got people talking about Taco Bell. So when you think about it like that, it’s actually perfect.
That said, unless you’ve got a genius-level taco idea up your sleeve, make sure the USER is the focal point of the Lens (as in, don’t cover their face up with a taco). And remember to focus on your ultimate goal—be that creating a branded experience, or simply showcasing your product in a fun and engaging way.
It’s chart time:
Optimizing Creative for Lens AR Experiences
|AD GOAL||QUESTIONS TO PONDER|
|Shares, Saves, Earned Impressions, or Total CPM||Do your Lenses spark the right emotional response?|
|Are your Lenses built for 1:1 communication?|
|Does brand messaging occur minimally?|
|Are you using the right type of lens? (Use Face Lenses, as opposed to Gamified or World Lenses, to drive high shares.)|
|High Playtime||Are your Lenses easy to use or confusing?|
|Do the Lenses open to an obvious experience, or is the fun too hidden behind a prompt?|
|Is there too much messaging and not enough experience?|
|Are you using the right type of lens? (Use Gamified and World Lenses, as opposed to Face Lenses. to drive high playtime.)|
And that sums up the optimization part of our journey. And now let us move on to part two of our adventure: measuring.
How to Measure Your Snapchat Ads Campaigns
In this next section we’ll take a look at the two main ways to measure how your Snapchat Ads campaigns are doing: Ads Manager Reporting and Delivery Insights. We’ll also do a quick overview of some of the more advanced measurement options you can look into if it suits you and makes sense for your brand.
Ads Manager Reporting
To get started, here’s a look at how you can view, customize, and export reports in Ads Manager.
How to Access the Ads Manager Reporting Dashboard
Within the default ‘Manage Ads’ view of Ads Manager, you’ll be able to see how all of your ad accounts are performing. Click each icon to learn more.
- From Ads Manager, select an ad account from the drop-down in the top right corner.
- Click the menu in the top left corner and select ‘Manage Ads.’
- At the top level, you’ll see summary metrics. Clicking on any of these metrics will display different graphs relative to the metric selected.
- Select ‘Campaigns,’ ‘Ad Sets,’ or ‘Ads’ in the lower graph to access reports specific to those levels.
You can customize the lower graph to show the exact metrics you care about. Click through to learn more.
‘Columns’ allows you to customize which metrics you’d like to view in the lower table. Here, you can add additional metrics as columns or remove the defaults.
In the ‘Columns’ dialog, you can also adjust the attribution window applied to your campaign conversions. By default it’s set to 28 days post-Swipe Up and one day post-View.
Note: As the attribution window only applies to conversions tracked through Snap Pixel or one of Snapchat’s Mobile Measurement Partners, this option can’t be adjusted unless a column from the ‘Conversions’ section is included.
‘Add Filter’ allows you to apply filters to the Campaigns, Ad Sets, or Ads you’re viewing.
Save Your Custom Report
Saved Views gives you a quick way to review additional campaign data in the order, date range, and specification that you prefer, without you having to rearrange the columns each time.
You can create a Saved View in three steps:
- Click ‘Saved Views’ in the top corner and click ‘Save Current View.’
- Name your new view and select whether you’d like it to be Personal or Shared. If you select ‘Personal’ only you will be able to load, upload, or delete this view. If you select ‘Shared’ any member of your ad account with access to view campaigns can load this view. However, only you can update or delete this view.Click ‘Save.’
- Now when you’re reviewing campaign metrics, you can simply click ‘Views’ in the top left corner and select the preferred view you’d like to see.
Export Your Custom Report
You can export your report in the form of a CSV file that contains all of your metrics and insights for a particular ad account.
- Click ‘Download’ to select a configuration and export your CSV file.
- Click ‘Export.’ The current selection of columns, dates, and times will be exported into an Excel document.
- Enjoy nerding out on spreadsheets all day, every day. Or maybe that’s just me.
What Metrics to Track on Snapchat Ads Manager Reporting
Snapchat offers a lot of different metrics that you track. A lot. You can find a full breakdown of them here.
This might be stating the obvious, but the most important metric you’ll definitely want to check is whatever the goal for your campaign is, be that Pixel Purchases, Swipe Ups, Impressions, etc.
Beyond that, here are some other metrics you should look into to see if your ads or ad sets need adjusting. Though, please note, the metrics available to you will vary depending on your ad format. The following recommendations won’t necessarily apply to all ad formats.
Paid Impressions vs. Earned Impressions
These two metrics are the most basic stats you should definitely check out.
Paid Impressions will show you how many people your ad is getting served to. If this number is small, you might want to adjust your ad spend or broaden your audience.
Earned Impressions are when Snapchatters share your ad with friends. Earned Impressions are super important, because Snapchatters are much more likely to sit up and take note of your brand if your content is coming directly from a friend. If you’ve got an ad with high Earned Impressions, definitely figure out what you did there and do it again.
Two-Second Video Views vs. Completions
The two-second video view will tell you how many people have watched your video for at least two seconds, or who have swiped up on your ad. (The idea being that it doesn’t matter if they only watched for one second, a Swipe Up is a Swipe Up.)
Completed video views will show you how many people watched at least 97% of your video. Snap will also let you look at quartiles, so if you want you can see how many people watched 25%, 50% or 75% of a given video.
If you’re getting a lot of two-second video views but not a lot of Swipe Ups or completions, you’re going to want to test out different creative to see what garners more engagement. Likewise if you’re getting a lot of completions but not a lot of swipe ups, you’ll have to ask yourself how to make your CTA more relevant and/or enticing for your audience.
Unless you’re running an Awareness campaign, you should be tracking a variety of conversion-related metrics. At the very least you should take a look at ROAS (return on ad spend), Add to Cart and Purchases. Depending on your goal or business model, it might also be a good idea to track Sign Ups or Subscribes.
Note: In order to track conversion metrics, you’ll need to have the Snap Pixel installed on your website. The Snap Pixel is a piece of code that allows Snapchat to track Snapchatters’ actions on your website.
Third-Party Tracking Solutions
You can also set up third-party tagging solutions to verify and measure Impressions and Swipe Ups from your campaign.
You can learn more about third-party tracking in the Snap Business Help Center: Third-Party Tracking
Learn More About Your Audience with Snapchat Delivery Insights
The metrics in Ads Manager Reporting can tell you a lot about what ads are getting Swipe Ups, what videos are getting viewed, what ads are driving purchases, etc.
Notice anything about that last sentence? A lot of what, what, what. Not a lot of who.
That’s where Delivery Insights comes in.
Delivery Insights helps you identify who viewed, engaged, and took action on your ads. You can export Delivery Insights at the campaign, ad set, or ad level, as well as at any point during or after campaign launch.
This tool will enable you to draw on insights across demographics, locations, and interests to inform optimization and increase overall campaign efficiency.
Access Delivery Insights
Delivery Insights provides estimated audience data on campaign, ad set, or ad level performance. You can get Delivery Insights for in-flight campaigns or post-campaign with the following steps:
- Select an ad account from the drop-down in the top right.
- Click the menu in the top left and select ‘Manage Ads.’
- Select ‘Campaigns,’ ‘Ad Sets,’ or ‘Ads’ in the lower graph.
- Select the campaigns, ad sets, or ads that you want to see Delivery Insights for.
- Click the ‘Download’ button.
- Select the metric breakdown you would like from the drop-down.
How to Utilize Snapchat’s Delivery Insights
Delivery Insights can help you improve workflows, drive optimizations, and increase ROI. You can use Delivery Insights to explore which audiences are performing best, and then narrow your audience to increase overall performance.
However, we only recommend restricting your targeting when an ad set is consistently spending daily budgets in full AND meeting performance goals. When excluding non-performing audiences, you should do so incrementally to ensure your spend is not reduced.
Snapchat’s Advanced Measurement Solutions
Although you can get a good idea of how your ad campaigns are doing using the methods outlined above, if you really want to know how your Snap Ads are doing, you’ll need to get a bit more advanced.
You can access more detailed, accurate data through Snapchat and their major measurement partners.
And accurately measuring advertising effectiveness is the key to unlocking incremental revenue.
Snapchat can conduct brand lift studies to accelerate learning and prove the impact your campaigns have (or have not) had on customer journeys.
We also work with every major measurement partner out there today. You can work with us to ensure your ads are reaching your audience, influencing their behavior, and driving the desired actions.
Reach out to us and we can kick off any of these solutions!
The advanced measurement options break down into two main categories: first-party options and third-party options.
First-party options are solutions offered by Snapchat. The pros of first-party measurement solutions are that they tend to be less expensive than third-party options, are available to smaller businesses, and have a faster turnaround time.
Third-party options are solutions offered by Snapchat’s partners. The reason to use third-party measurement solutions is, as one ad exec put it, “No one likes when you grade your own homework.” Meaning, you might not trust the numbers that Snapchat gives you, simply because they’re coming from Snapchat. Third-party measurements come from highly trusted sources with proven methodology.
Third-Party Brand Lift
In-App Polling, powered either by Kantar Millward Brown or Nielsen Brand Effect, evaluates the effectiveness of Snapchat advertising on brand outcome metrics in three ways.
- Polls appear seamlessly inside Snapchat, without asking Snapchatters to leave the app.
- Respondents are recruited directly from your campaign footprint to ensure accurate and precise measurement.
- Snapchat compares the responses of Snapchatters who were and were not exposed to a brand’s advertising to determine campaign resonance.
First-Party Brand Lift
Snapchat offers first-party Brand Lift if your campaign doesn’t meet the spend/reach thresholds required for third-party research, or if you don’t have a preference for third-party measurement.
First-party Brand Lift utilizes the same methodology as Snap’s trusted third-party providers. However, all analysis and reporting is done by Snapchat, reducing turnaround time and overall cost.
First-Party Conversion Lift
Conversion lift reporting lets you measure the incremental impact of your ad campaigns across devices. Given the current prevalence of multi-device browsing and shopping, this is all but essential for an accurate understanding of your campaigns’ impact.
Conversion lift reporting also provides a way to control for media exposure on other platforms so that you can know which conversions are driven specifically by your Snap Ads campaigns. Snapchat offers web-based conversion lift through Snap Pixel, as well as app-based conversion lift through your MMP.
Third-Party Visitation Lift
Visitation lift reporting is a great option for brick-and-mortar businesses that run ads with the goal of getting additional people to visit stores IRL. Snapchat partners with Placed to measure incremental visitation generated through ad exposure and approximate ROAS.
How do they do that? Placed compares the visitation rate of a campaign-exposed audience to the visitation rate of a control group, which is similar to the test group but which hasn’t been exposed to the campaign on Snapchat. This enables you to know how much incremental foot traffic your ad campaigns are driving, rather than simply guessing whether your ads are working or not.
Marketing Mix Modeling
Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) lets you measure the ad contribution of multi-product campaigns, so you can know how much each individual part of your marketing mix contributed to your overall results. To ensure the proper attribution of Snapchat ad products, Snapchat has partnered with Nielsen, Neustar, Analytic Partners, and Marketing Management Analytics to train and accredit MMM analysts on how to ingest and model Snapchat performance data.
MMM is approved on a case-by-case basis. We can help you get approved if you’re interested!
And that sums up the advanced measurement solutions portion of our journey, which means…
CONGRATULATIONS! You now know how to measure and optimize your Snapchat campaigns. This is arguably the most important skill to master to improve account performance.
Next Steps on the Road to Snapchat Success
- Definitely be sure to use our 5 Ad Set Optimization Strategies when you set up your next campaign: Use Goal-Based Bidding, select the right bidding strategy, target a broad audience, adjust frequency caps, and split test.
- Explore Audience Insights to learn more about your target audience.
- Make Snapchat-friendly creative.
- Check Ads Manager Reporting and Delivery Insights to see how you’re doing, and adjust accordingly.
- If you want to get fancy, or if you want any help with your Snapchat Ads campaigns at all, get in touch with us!