Snapchat Advertising: Is It Worth It?

If you're thinking of diversifying your social media advertising strategy, you may be interested in Snapchat, the friendly little app that promises spontaneity, fun, and a direct line to Millennials' hearts.

If you're considering advertising on Snapchat, you're not alone. The app is expected to pull in $770 million in ad revenue by year's end.

So is Snapchat advertising worth that kind of money? Read on to find out.

Here's the Lowdown on Snapchat Advertising.

Snapchat, if you don't know, is a social media platform that allows users to share photos, videos, and messages using a variety of extra touches. Those extras could be filters that frame photos with fun or interesting images or lenses that turn users into a variety of strange and wonderful things.

One key draw to Snapchat is that users determine the lifespan of each post or Snap. Traditionally, Snaps disappeared relatively quickly, which was seen as a plus for those worried about their social media exploits following them for life.

What does Snapchat advertising look like?

Snapchat sprinkles in ads throughout users' feeds. They sell using formats as unique as their platform, including:

Snap Ads: For the right brand, these can be more than mobile video ads. You can incorporate interactivity and mini-games into your snap ads, taking that ever-elusive user engagement to the next level.

Lenses: These let Snapchat users interact in real time with your brand or product. Users can turn themselves into your brand mascot or wear, eat, drink, or otherwise interact with your flagship product, all on their mobile device.

Sponsored Geofilters: Geofilters allow users to add custom filters to their Snaps depending on where they are in the world. You can tailor a geofilter to fit a particular event, tie it to a shared space, release it throughout retail chains, or even roll it out nationwide. 

How much does Snapchat advertising cost?

The cost of advertising on Snapchat will vary quite a bit depending on which format you decide to go with.

Snapchat ads have thankfully dropped in price since their introduction in 2014. The service debuted with a $500,000 price tag and fewer options. Now advertising on Snapchat will cost you much less and give you more ways to interact with its user base.

Does it actually work?

As with all advertising, it will take a little legwork on your part to gauge the success of your campaign. That said, Snapchat does track metrics you can use to calculate your ROI.

Snapchat advertising tracks:

Ad views;

Ad reach and audience data;

How your ad resonates;

Ad impact; and

The number of times your ad is served.

Snapchat's vast demographic data on its users also means it offers laser-focused audience-matching services. The app also works with a network of partners that can help you identify your targets by their purchasing behavior, TV viewing habits, and physical location.  

If you're willing to dig deep into analytics about your customer base, Snapchat ads could provide your brand with some highly effective targeting.

What you Need to Know about Snapchat Before Advertising.

Snapchat's demographics are changing, but it's still mostly popular among young people.

Originally designed to keep parents, grandparents, and bosses off of the network, new Snapchat users get minimal hand-holding when they sign up. That means, as you can expect, that Snapchat's core audience tends to skew pretty young.

But times do change. Older folks are catching on to the app's popularity and their share of the user base is steadily growing. In 2013, the 35-and-up age group only accounted for 2% of Snapchat users. Now they hold 8% of the pie.

Time will tell if the older generations will take over Snapchat as they did with Facebook, but as of right now, Snapchat as an advertising vehicle is best-suited for younger, Millennial-friendly brands and products. 

Snapchat is changing as a platform and a brand.

Snapchat's parent company, Snap Inc., took the brand public in March of 2017 and they're already showing some losses on the stock market. Shares dropped by 25% after the company reported a slightly stunted growth in their user base—just 8 million joined the past quarter—and a net loss of $2.2 billion for the business. 

Snapchat could, of course, turn those numbers around. The company has shown itself to be agile and surprisingly well-tuned to what its users want out of their social media.

But as Snap Inc. grows in the public eye, you can expect some changes in the way the app is managed. For instance, they recently rolled out an infinity option for Snaps, allowing users to view posts longer but effectively weakening the platform's carefree, ephemeral attitude.

Will that and any future changes be a boon to Snapchat or will they sound its death knells? Only time will tell.

It's important to consider that uncertainty before purchasing Snapchat advertising. It may not make sense to blow your entire advertising budget on Snapchat while the company is riding some rocky waves. But if you've got the capital and your brand fits that bootstrapped, rollercoaster ride of an image, Snapchat advertising could be just what you're looking for in your marketing strategy.

The Snapchat advertising sheen may be wearing thin with users.

While turning yourself into various branded products may have entertained users at first, there are signs of increased annoyance with Snapchat advertising among its core base.

According to a recent survey, 69% of users said they habitually skip over ads. That number is at an even higher 80% among 18 to 24-year-olds. That's bad news if you're sinking big bucks into custom lenses or geofilters for each of your events throughout the year.

Look Before you Leap.

Ultimately, running ads on Snapchat can be a gamble, but that's par for the course in the world of marketing. If you're worried about spending your budget on an app with an uncertain future, Snapchat may not be the right vehicle for your next campaign.

If, however, you've got a flexible attitude, agile mindset, and the drive to stay on top of metrics, give it a shot. It could pay off big time in drawing more users to your brand.

For more expert advice on navigating the fast-changing world of digital marketing, visit Blirt.