First Impressions of Snapchat Ads Manager

About a month ago we were given access to Snapchat's new advertising platform. We were excited to start using this service since many Snapchat users are in the target demo for some of the businesses we work with. The social network boasts 173 million users and growing, 18+ times users open the app each day, and 30+ minutes spent in app each day. After making a few ads for some of our Plato's Closet stores, here are a few thoughts we have to share.

Budget: Let's start by telling you that the minimum daily budget is $100. Not all of our ads spent the full $100 per day but that's the mandatory minimum. Make sure there is room on your credit card.

Campaign Types: The tool offers ads to drive web traffic, app installs, brand awareness, and video views.

Targeting: The targeting is good but still behind the capabilities of Facebook and Google. You can target regions, metro areas and/or zip codes. If you have a customer list of over 1,000 people, you can upload to create an audience and make a lookalike audience from that list. They have some interests and demographics like retail shopper, car shopper, etc. You can select age ranges, parents with children of specific age ranges and a few more options. All in all, pretty good. We had to use zip codes to get our audiences as specific as we liked so it took a good chunk of time to look up all of the zip codes near the business locations.

Creative: We started by going on Snapchat and looking at tons of ads. Most were big brands and all were videos. After looking at all of the ad options available on Snapchat, making a video seemed like our best bet. Snapchat has a publisher tool that allows you make creative fairly easily. We tried that for some and made our own graphic videos for others. The challenge for this is the dimensions. It's a full screen vertical video which is very different from most of the creative we make for marketing materials. That means adding Snapchat to our arsenal creates more work for two people(graphic designer & digital ad specialist). The good thing about full screen vertical ads is that they take up someone's entire device eliminating any distractions.

Reporting: The reporting is pretty basic right now. You see spend, impressions, CPM, Swipe Ups, Cost per Swipe Up, a lot of video watching stats, screen time, and app install data. Not quite what Facebook can provide but a decent start.

Support: Facebook and Google have chat support which is great. Snapchat has email support that responds within a few hours. We did get an email from a Snap rep after we placed our first ad to see if we had any questions. That was exciting but it did take him about a week to respond to our questions. Since the tool is so new, it is hard to find answers to questions and concerns.

Summary: All in all, we are happy with the tool. Like anything new, it will have some glitches here and there and will get better over time. For our retail stores with substantial digital ad budgets targeting high school or college age shoppers, this is a good place to advertise. Right now the CPM is very inexpensive(around $3). For comparison, Facebook CPM can range from $5-$25 per thousand impressions. One of our ads ran in a smaller community so the audience wasn't too big. That ad did not spend as much as we wanted to spend. We plan to continue using Snapchat Ads Manager for our brands looking to target young shoppers. We expect it will get better just like Facebook and Google have over the years.  We like using new tools early in the game because the cost is typically really low for impressions before everyone else jumps on board.

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Clayton Clark