Snapchat Advertising: What You Need to Know

March 27, 2016

Collective Measures

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With over 210 million daily active users, Snapchat has become one of the most powerful social messaging applications in the world. Known for its strong (and affordable ) user engagement, it is critical that marketers understand the paid advertising opportunities available on Snapchat to effectively reach target audiences.

So, what do marketers need to know about Snapchat ads?  Well, lots of things… but we will start by reviewing the different ways to reach your target audience.


snapchat discover wide

Discover is a section of Snapchat that hosts new content from publishers (i.e. Buzzfeed, Mashable, CNN, etc.) daily. Discover Stories do not exist on the native landing page of Snapchat and must be accessed through the Discover or Stories pages.  Advertisers can choose to take over all ad space or own 10-second segments of a publisher’s Discover Story. Full-screen, vertical-video content that meets Snapchat’s quality and editorial standards is required to advertise within a Discover feed. These ads are signified by an “ad” watermark on the video, and will be active for 24 hours.

Discover is best suited for advertisers looking to fuel national awareness. Since Discover channels are content-driven, it is best for advertisers to create content-driven ads. Movie trailers have done well on the platform due to their shareability. Product showcases have also been a popular form of advertisement on this channel.

Pricing for Discover is determined by view count. Each view costs $0.02, as part of Snapchat’s ad product, Two Pennies.


snapchat advertising

A Live Story is a curated series of user-submitted content documenting major events and themes. Past Live Stories have highlighted world cities, high-profile events (i.e. Oscars or NFL draft), and Universities. Advertisers can opt to take over all ad space or sponsor 10-second segments of a Live Story. As with the Discover ads, Live Story content must be full-screen, vertical-videos and meet Snapchat’s quality and editorial standards. The ads on Live Stories are also signified by an “ad” watermark on the video and are active for 24 hours.

A Live Story is best suited for advertisers looking to fuel global awareness. Due to the high reach of a Live Story, new product launches and campaigns are recommended for this channel.

Pricing for Live Stories varies by scope and reach. Reports from AdAge and CNBC suggest that a takeover of a Live Story runs $250,000-$500,000 per story, while a 10-second segment runs an estimated $50,000-$100,000.


filter snap chat

A geofilter is a sponsored photo / video filter that is active on every Snapchat user’s account, in a pre-defined geographic space and time. The brand is responsible for creative (web optimized PNG file) that must follow all of Snapchat’s community and brand guidelines.

A sponsored geofilter is best suited for advertisers looking to fuel local awareness. Historically, sponsored geofilters have been used for local brand recognition, company announcements, and a tool for the recruitment of talent.

Pricing for a sponsored geofilter varies by duration and reach, but at a minimum cost of $5.00, it is one of Snapchat’s most accessible forms of advertising. A sponsored geofilter can be active from 1 hour to 30 days. 


lens snap wide

Lenses are interactive filters that all Snapchat users can use to embellish their photo or video. Advertisers work closely with Snapchat to ensure the creative works interactively across operating systems. Notable brands that have utilized sponsored lenses, include Gatorade, Taco Bell, and The Peanuts Movie.

A sponsored lens is best suited for advertisers looking to fuel national awareness. Not only does placing of the ad demand come at a high cost, the asset development does as well.  Sponsored lenses are best used for nationally-known brands to bolster their image, as well as the launch of new products. However, it is important that the brand matches with the experimental and fun tone that sponsored lenses exemplify. For example, Gatorade emulated a football post-victory Gatorade shower for their sponsored lens during the Super Bowl.

Pricing for a sponsored lens, according to Fast Company, is variable. Cost is estimated at $450,000 on weekdays, $500,000 on weekends, and $750,000 on events and holidays. A sponsored lens will be active for 24 hours.


A successful Snapchat campaign is not only reliant on following creative best practices and creating the most engaging ad content. In order to succeed in today’s digital advertising space, personalization is key. The six different ad formats outlined above are intended to be interactive and personal to the user, which means they are not one-size-fits-all. Selecting the most effective Snapchat ad format starts by thoroughly researching the digital behavior patterns of your target audience and clearly identifying the goals of your campaign. Marketers will achieve much better Snapchat campaign results if they are able to accurately match user behavior with their ad content and format.


Discover and Live Photo, Personal Screenshot / Ad Age / SnapChat Help / SnapChat Business

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