Why Snapchat Ads Are the Best Form of Advertising

Hillary Black
Jan 22, 2015 · 6 min read

If you’ve read my blog before or follow me on Twitter, you know I love Snapchat as a form of marketing, and had a hand in the successful launch of the University of Michigan’s Snapchat last year, but since then, hundreds of other brands have shown their creative side on Snapchat as users, and now are turning to advertising since October. Are Snapchat Ads a good idea? I think so.

We haven’t seen a lot so far, but according to a recently published study, people are LOVING Snapchat Ads. While only 17% of consumers said they were okay with seeing ads on their mobile phones,

44% of Brand Stories (aka advertisement) viewers said they enjoyed the ads.

Why is this? I like to call it “opt-in advertising.” Meaning, it’s voluntary for a user to view a Snapchat ad. If a user doesn’t want to see it, they simply don’t open it, and it disappears after 24 hours. There’s no ‘X’ to click in their timeline, no quickly scrolling past, they just don’t click the little circle and just like their friend’s stories that they don’t care about, it goes away. But they aren’t, and that’s why it’s so powerful.

There was a 13% increase in turnout during opening weekend for viewers exposed to the Ouiji and Dumb and Dumber To ads.

Let’s think about that more. Users, 71 % of whom are under the age of 25, are using Snapchat to interact at an alarming rate with their friends, and now opting-in to interact with their favorite brands in 1-to-1 and 1-to- many conversations.

Snapchat User: Mashable

Returning to opting-in, remember, there is NO other advertising platform where users can choose to not view ads at all. No skip after 5 seconds, play this game to avoid ads, or watch a longer ad to watch no ads, ‘I don’t want to see this ad.’ Is the voluntary nature of Snapchat ads what makes them work so well? Or is it that the brands utilizing it are targeting the specific audience of Snapchat users?

Studies show the success of Snapchat comes with the addictiveness the platform. Whether people want to see most of their friend’s stories or not, they become obsessed with either missing out on their friend’s story, or wanting the little circle to go away. Either way, they’re opening them, and watching them, and I don’t think that ads are any different.

One BILLION Snapchat Stories are viewed per day.

In August 2014, Snapchat reported 100 million active monthly users, with 700 million photos sent per day.

Brands that have the bravery to make a Snapchat ad and take advantage of the offering of the platform (especially knowing the high price in comparison to the much lower prices of Facebook and Twitter advertising) keeps the brands ahead of the curve and wanting to REALLY connect with their audience where they are. They’re adapting, and taking a risk knowing that there’s a chance the users won’t see their ads, but betting that the ones that see it will like it.

Another opt-in advertisement, even less intrusive option, is sponsoring the “Our Story” for major events. In a new way of using user generated content, brands can create Snapchat Geofilters, enabling any in attendance to upload their snaps from the event and broadcast them live, all over the world. Macy’s tried this out at the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and Samsung put the power behind the celebrities at the American Music Awards.

60% of Our Stories viewers said they enjoyed the ads.

Users are much more familiar with the Our Stories, often used to broadcast cultural events from around the world, and show off select college campuses.

Even further, users can actually hide the “Our Story” if they don’t want to see it in their feed (this would include a brand’s ad, as well, closing the loop between opt-in and opt-out ads)

Now, the most interesting part. Snapchat is setting out to serve users video, text, and photos from media companies like ESPN and Vice, supported by advertising, that will split revenue between Snapchat and media. At $.15 to $.30 per view, this will rival YouTube ads and open up Snapchat’s advertising strategies (and media distribution) to an entirely new place. What the Discovery content will look like is unclear, but it will definitely make people stay in-app longer, and become more familiar with viewing advertisements.

Is this a revolutionary way to advertise? While Snapchat ads seem to be the best, in my opinion, they still remain advertisements at the core. They still lack the authenticity of original content.

What does that mean exactly? Brands that advertise via Snapchat Ads don’t have to play like the rest of us do. While brands like Taco Bell, Grub Hub, Mashable and the NBA continue to show off their Snapchat skills daily, native advertisers can simply upload videos. This means, users that play the game right, like Taco Bell, still win bigger.

In August, Taco Bell had over 200,000 followers on Snapchat, with 90% percent of friends who opened a story viewing it in its entirety.

Like any advertisement vs. creative brand and user generated content, authenticity will always win.

Why you should establish your own Snapchat account:

  1. Only 1% of marketers are currently using Snapchat
  2. Unlimited potential to interact with your fans both 1-to-1 and 1-to-many
  3. 58% of college students said they would purchase a product from a brand that sent them a coupon on Snapchat
  4. Totally free

Remember: It’s important to engage with your fans regularly, and Snapchat is time consuming and requires fresh, creative content.

Who Snapchat Advertising is for:

  1. Brands and publishers with a target audience of 13–25 and a budget
  2. Brands who know how users use the platform, but may not have the creativity or bandwidth to manage their own account.
  3. Brands with established social presences on other social networks

Remember: Set realistic goals on what you expect as a ROI.

Will you be starting a Snapchat account for your brand, or make plans to advertise on Snapchat? I would love to hear what you have to say about it. Leave me a note, or send me a Tweet!

Need a freelance marketer to help your brand in social media? Email me at h@hillaryxfrazier.com

“We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in & be what people are interested in.” — Craig Davis

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Hillary Black

Written by

✨🎀🔮 Head of Chatbot Strategy and Conversation Design at Black Ops. Join my Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/conversationdesigners

Social Media Lessons

Useful articles to help students learning about social media

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