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How To Develop a Snapchat Ad Strategy [Step-By-Step]

Last Updated April 26, 2021

Snapchat ads are easy to use and deliver meaningful results regardless if you want to drive sales, app downloads, or meet potential customers. To top it off, Snapchat Ad Manager is easy enough to use that you’ll get the hang of it quickly.

If you’re curious about advertising on Snapchat but don’t know where to start, then we’ve got you covered! There’s a lot of information out there but it’s not always easy to find in one place. We put together this guide to give you all the things you need to understand Snap ads like never before.

How to Advertise on Snapchat

Like other social media platforms’ advertising structure, Snapchat allows you to organize your ads using three levels: campaigns, ad groups, and ads. But, of course, you need to have your Snapchat account already set up to finally get started on your Snap ads — having one will also allow you to log into Snapchat Ads Manager.

Creating a Campaign

1. Choose an objective for your campaign

Snapchat objective screenshot

From four available options, you will have to decide what you want your audience to do once they see your ad:

  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Drive install of your app
  • Grow awareness
  • Drive video views

2. Set a schedule for your campaign

You can either start the campaign immediately and run indefinitely or define the start and end dates. You also have the option to set the status to active or paused.

3. Name your ad campaign

You might want to think of a simple naming convention for you to find your ad campaigns easily, such as: (Objective) — (Schedule) — (Campaign Manager’s name)

☝️ Pro Tip: It will be helpful for tracking if you can be as specific as possible in your campaign names.

Creating an Ad Set

1. Name your ad set 

Similar to naming your ad campaign, you can also create a naming convention for your ad sets, such as: (Goal) — (Audience) — (Schedule)

2. Fill up the main sections of your ad set.


This section contains five main parts that will generally allow you to specify your target audiences:

  • Geography: You will have to select a location (particularly a country) that you want to target. You can be as specific as you can be by including or excluding certain areas.
  • Demographics: You can specify the people you want to reach by their age, gender, language, income, and more!
  • Audiences: You can target people based on their interests such as what they like, what they bought, what they watched, and where they have been.
  • Placements: You can also choose where you want your ads to appear — Snapchat’s stories, publishers’ stories, or all of Snapchat.
  • Devices: You can target the devices where you would want your ads to run based on the operating system (Android, iOS, or both), connection type (cell, WiFi, or both), and service provider.

☝️ Pro Tips:

  • Create an ad set for each unique group of people you’re trying to reach.
  • Use multiple ads per ad set to see how different creatives perform with your audiences.

The minimum amount for the daily budget is $100. Any lower amount you will place, you will not be able to proceed to the next steps.

The delivery of your ads will be optimized for the goal and the bid amount you specified. And, if there’s any consolation to this, you will only be charged based on the number of times your ad is served.


This section is different from the schedule you set on your ad campaign. As you can run multiple ad sets within each ad campaign, the ad sets can have a shorter schedule than their ad campaign.

Creating Snap Ads

Once you’re set, you can finally move on to creating your Snap ad.

1. Select your Ad type

Snap ads can take many forms — videos, photos, and gifs. Regardless of the format, the ads always take up the whole screen. Ads appear in between different types of Snapchat content. They allow the viewer to take immediate action, such as installing an app or clicking through to a specific URL.

Though Snap ads can be up to three minutes long, they are most effective when they are three to five seconds long.

Types of Snapchat Ads

1. Single Image or Video Ads

Snapchat ad example 1

Single image or video ads are full-screen mobile ads that can be used for all business objectives, from awareness all the way through to purchase. Since they're fullscreen, they never compete for a viewer's attention with other content or ads.

You can play around with the different forms that these ads cater to — videos, photos, gif-like creative, or cinemagraphs. You can also add an attachment to your image or video so your audience can take an action immediately, such as visiting your website or installing your app.

2. Filters

Snapchat filter example

Filters are overlays that appear after you take a Snap and swipe either left or right. Filters generally contain stylized text and images that indicate when and where the Snap was taken — a city, shop, restaurant, event, and more!

3. Lenses

Snapchat lens example

Lenses are powered by augmented reality that seems to include objects and animated characters as if they're really there when you Snap! Users also use Lenses to transform themselves in entertaining ways like puppy ears, flower crowns, masks, and a whole lot more!

4. Story Ads

Snapchat story ad

Story ads will let you reach audiences with a branded tile in Snapchat’s Discover section. The tile opens up to a collection of between 3-20 images or videos. These ads are highly consumable content regardless of your objectives.

5. Collection Ads

Snapchat collection ads

A Collection Ad features four clickable tiles to showcase multiple products, services, or experiences that your business offers.

6. Commercials

Snapchat commercial

Commercials are non-skippable that range from 6 seconds to 3 minutes. These ads appear within Snap’s curated content.

Best Practices for Your Snapchat Ads

It's very important to be familiar with the best practices before you start making your own ads — most especially if you want to maximize your efforts and your budget.

Know your audience

Make sure that you build your audiences from your Snapchat customer lists or lookalike audiences based on your Snapchat customers.

Define your business objectives

Don't simply run Snapchat ads for the sake of it. Make sure you know what you want for your campaign and business to achieve. Doing so will help you develop the best strategy that will work for you.

Test and optimize

Snapchat will automatically optimize your ads for the goals you choose. As you run your campaign, keep a close watch on your creatives that are performing well and the time of day your audiences are most receptive to. This way, you can strategize your action steps better.

Measure results

Snapchat offers robust analytics reporting that you will know for sure if your Snapchat ads have delivered your desired outcomes — provided, of course, that you know how to use Snapchat Analytics before your campaign starts.

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