Do Snapchat’s new self-serve Ads products have what it takes to compete with Facebook?
By 2017, social media advertising spend is expected to exceed $35 billion-- the large majority of the budget being allocated towards Facebook. Even though Facebook Ads have a proven track record of success, higher budgets mean that advertisers are finding new ways to engage consumers and Snapchat’s efforts to find new ways to monetize users and attract advertisers, after underwhelming earnings this quarter, have come at the right time.
Advertisers who have previously struggled to find ways to utilize Snapchat as a profitable marketing channel are in for a pleasant surprise. Snapchat Ads Manager “Advanced Mode” has just launched and it’s allowing brands of all sizes to get their products in front of millions of engaged consumers.
New Snapchat Ads capabilities such as customized audiences, bulk creation, and power reporting mean that Snapchat may finally provide brands with the tools they need to reach Snapchat’s over 166 million daily users.
A Comparison of Snapchat Ads and Facebook Ads
Snapchat Ads appear between user’s “stories” as 1080 x 1920, 3-10 second videos. Even though over 70% percent of marketers plan on increasing their use of video ads this year, the majority of a brand’s existing creative won’t be optimized for Snapchat Ads.
Unlike Facebook Ads creative, which can be easily repurposed across several marketing channels, brands will need additional resources to create vertical videos that are specifically tailored for Snapchat Ads.
Social media in general is a great way to increase customer engagement with advertisements. Facebook Ads receive 9x higher click-through rates than normal web ads and Snapchat users are known for being more engaged than any other group of social media users. In fact, a representative from Curology, a skincare brand, stated that their Snapchat Ads performed 10x better than their ads on Instagram
This is all great news for advertisers wanting to keep their ads fresh, but keep in mind that at this point Facebook users are accustomed to seeing and interacting with sponsored posts. Users of Snapchat, on the other hand, are used to seeing images and videos from regular people that, in comparison to other social platforms such as Instagram, lack heavy editing and manipulation.
That being said, because Snapchat Ads are a new experience for users, advertisers should make maintaining authenticity in Snapchat advertisements a top priority. In order to keep an authentic feel in Snapchat Ads, it is even more important for marketers to use influencer generated content so that ads are still relatable and engaging to the audience.
Both Facebook and Snapchat provide advertisers with custom targeting capabilities such as:
Retargeting existing customers
However, Facebook’s in-depth user profile API means that advertisers have access to a highly customized profile of each user, including data around consumers’ spending habits, income level, interests, etc. Snapchat currently has less data around it’s users so their customized targeting features have the potential to be less accurate.
How Snapchat Ads Products Work
According to Snapchat, ads will appear in between friend’s stories as 10 second, full-screen videos. Advertisers will also have the option to create branded lens and sponsored filters that consumers can use on certain dates or in in proximity to stores or other customized areas.
Users will only be exposed to up to 3 ads per day, despite frequency of use.The low number of ads shown was done intentionally. According to Peter Sellis, Head of Monetization Product at Snapchat, “ad effectiveness can be inversely correlated with the number of ads that the viewer sees. If you see 50 ads in a day, the probability of you remembering them is low.”
Snapchat Ads Manager - Advanced Mode
Snapchat’s new Ads Manager Advanced Mode is the social platform's version of Facebook Ads Power Editor. With this new update, advertisers are given:
Bulk creation capabilities - upload spreadsheets to create campaigns, custom audiences, and ads, at scale
Media library - uploads assets to use in future campaigns
Audience library - create favorite Snapchat audiences to streamline targeting process. Compares to “custom Audiences” on Facebook
Power reporting - ability to customize and export performance metrics and data
Automatic permutation testing - create ad creative and targeting variants at scale
Snapchat publisher was launched in July in the hopes of minimizing some of the effort brands will need to make in order to create vertical content that is optimized for Snapchat.
Snapchat Publisher allows advertisers to:
- Trim horizontal videos to fit into Snapchat’s vertical format
- Add motion to existing photos
- Create videos with pre-made templates
- A/B test several versions of content
If this tools works according to this video, advertisers will be able to create full-screen ads in just a few minutes only using their web browser.
In conclusion, Snapchat Ads ‘Advanced Mode” is a step in the right direction. The new capabilities give advertisers a great opportunity to get authentic content in front of an already engaged audience. However, because a brand's existing creative will need to be heavily modified or abandoned altogether, more data and performance results are needed to convince advertisers to allocate some of the social media spend on Snapchat.