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Snapchat Advertising 101

Find out how you can get started with Snapchat ads.

Snapchat has drastically changed the way that brands and businesses go about their marketing and advertising efforts since 2011.

Snapchat is all about instant communication through mobile phones. Snapchat has changed every person’s traditional online communication with face filters, silly doodles on video, and other Snapchat-influenced visuals. Snapchat’s ephemeral marketing is definitely encouraging a more natural flow of interaction between brands and viewers.

Now is a great time to get started with marketing your business and building a brand through Snaps and stories. Reach a global audience, drive meaningful results, and inspire action from the people that matter most to your business — no matter the size and the industry you belong to — with Snapchat advertising.

  • Who uses Snapchat?
  • Why advertise on Snapchat?
  • Get started on Snapchat Advertising
  • Snapchat Marketing Tools

Who uses Snapchat?

Knowing who Snapchat users are is synonymous with understanding who your potential audience is, and how to craft compelling yet effective campaigns for them.

Age demographics

  • 48% of internet users aged 15–25 use Snapchat
  • 30% of internet users aged 26–35 use Snapchat.
  • 18% of internet users aged 36-45 use Snapchat.
  • 11% of internet users aged 46-55 use Snapchat.
  • 5% of internet users aged 46-55 use Snapchat.

Gender demographics

From a global perspective, more women are using Snapchat compared to men.

  • Globally, 59% of users are female and 39% of users are male.
  • In the United States, 20% of the male population and 24% of the female population use Snapchat.

Location demographics

As of October 2020, the United States is the global leader in active Snapchat users with a whopping 102 million users! Some countries are continuously seeing massive growth in Snap users day by day.

Here’s a top 10 list of the countries with the most Snapchat users:

  1. United States – 102 million users
  2. India – 50 million users
  3. France – 22 million users
  4. United Kingdom – 19 million users
  5. Saudi Arabia – 18 million users
  6. Mexico – 16 million users
  7. Germany – 14 million users
  8. Brazil – 11 million users
  9. Philippines – 11 million users
  10. Turkey – 10 million users

Why advertise on Snapchat?

Snapchat Ads are full-screen, immersive, and engaging ads that inspire action from viewers.

Snapchat ad example

Snapchat Ads work for all advertisers — ranging from global brands to small and medium businesses alike. Listed below are the following reasons why you should get started on Snapchat advertising.

1. Conveniently create and manage your ads

Snapchat’s self-serve advertising platform called Ads Manager will allow you to create ads, launch campaigns, monitor performance, and optimize everything in just one place.

2. Reach the perfect audience on Snapchat

Snapchat reaches about 75% of millennials and Gen Z — the world’s next generation of consumers with a direct spending power of $1 trillion! This particular audience will have, or already has, an influence on household spending. As a matter of fact, they are now forming their life-long brand preferences — and it’s such a smart move to take action as early as you can.

3. Get started with Snapchat Ads with just $5 a day

Yup, you read that right. You can start running your campaigns on Snapchat with as little as $5 a day. Their low daily minimum spend requirement means you can test, learn, and optimize campaigns while staying within your budget.

The ad pricing on Snapchat is determined by several factors including but not limited to your selected advertiser objective, selected budget, the duration of your campaign, and your bid amount (if you’re using Snapchat’s goal-based bidding).

4. Have immersive and engaging ad formats

Snapchat Ads are full screen, immersive, and engaging ads that inspire action and drive results from your audience.

Types of Snapchat Ads

Snap Ads

Snap Ads are full screen mobile ads that appear in between or after content on Snapchat (for example, stories). Snap Ads can be photos, videos, and GIFs that last up to 10 seconds. You can also include a swipe up feature to reveal more information, such as an article, longer video, website page, or app install CTA.

Technical requirements:

  • Width: 1080 pixels
  • Height: 1920 pixels
  • Aspect Ratio: 9:16
  • Format: .MP4, .MOV, H.264 encoded
  • Audio: 2 channels only, PCM or AAC codec, 192 minimum kbps, 16 or 24 bit only, 48 kHz sample rate
  • Length: 3 to 10 seconds
  • File Size: 32MB or less

Story Ads

A great option if you want to highlight new video content or to show an updated line of products, Story Ads provide your brand with a tile in the Discover section of the app. The tile will allow users to look through your collection of branded Snaps.

Technical requirements:

  • Full screen canvas: 1080 x 1920px, 9:16 aspect ratio, scaled proportionally to original asset
  • Acceptable creatives: Live, motion graphic, or stop motion video, cinemagraph, slideshow, Gif-like, still image
  • Format: Video (.mp4 or .mov and H.264 encoded), image: (.jpg or .png)
  • Audio: Must utilize 2 channels (left and right) in a balanced way throughout, audio target level should be- 16 LUFS, PCM or AAC codec, 192 minimum kbps, and 16 or 24 bit only
  • Length: 3 to 180 seconds (if file size does not exceed 1 GB), 30 seconds (if created in Snap Publisher)
  • File size: Video (1 GB or less), image (5 MB or less)

Product Catalog Ads

This is a great option if you're looking to display your products, services, and/ or experiences in a shoppable ad format. With the various ad options available, you can showcase your existing product line to help develop and automate your ad creation for campaigns on Snapchat.

This “library” of assets can be used to automatically create several Product Ads — story ads, single image or video ads, and collection ads — through various templates in Ads Manager.


As an advertiser or as a brand owner, you can also sponsor Lenses to create an augmented reality experience for your viewers. They can add the Lens to their photo or video and add the Snaps to their story or send it to their friends.

Technical requirements:

  • High-resolution, transparent background: .PNG of logo
  • High-resolution, layered: .PNG files for any static images that you wish to appear in the lens
  • For 2D Lens: High-resolution .PSD file of any specific 2D models that will be appended to the face or frame in the lens
  • For 3D Lens: 3D Max or Maya files of 3D models that will be appended to the face/head/frame in the Lens
  • Audio: .MP3 or .WAV file


As a brand, you can sponsor a Snapchat filter. Filters are seen by an average of 40-60% of daily Snapchat users. This means that filters are generally a great form of advertising in a specific location.

Technical requirements:

  • Width: 1080 pixels
  • Height: 1920 pixels
  • Format: .PNG asset with transparent background
  • File Size: 250KB or less

Get started on Snapchat Advertising

Start advertising on Snapchat today with four simple steps: 

1. Set up a personal account

You will need a personal Snapchat account to start advertising with Snapchat. You can conveniently set up your account online or from your phone.

2. Create a business account

Use your username and password to create a business account by logging into Ads Manager, Snapchat’s self-serve advertising tool where you can create and buy ads on the platform.

3. Create your first campaign

Once your business account has been created, you can now create your first Snapchat Ad through Ads Manager! 

4. Download the Snapchat App

And, of course, don't forget to download Snapchat for iOS or download Snapchat for Android!

Snapchat Marketing Tools

There are a lot of Snapchat ad marketing tools that you can use for your campaigns, although we chose to highlight and focus on tools that are managed and run by Snapchat exclusively in this post.

Snapchat Ads Manager

Within Ads Manager, you have two advertising flows to choose from: Instant Create and Advanced Create

Instant Create is a simplified way to create a campaign with a single ad while Advanced Create is a great way to create multiple ad sets with more advanced targeting and bidding capabilities.

How to create a Snapchat ad with Instant Create

  1. Choose your objective: Website visits, promote your local business, calls and texts to your business, app installs, and/or app visits.
  2. Design your ad.
  3. Set targeting, budget, and duration.
  4. Add payment details.
  5. Publish.

How to create multiple Snapchat ad sets with Advanced Create

  1. Choose your objective: Awareness, consideration, and conversion.
  2. Name your campaign.
  3. Build ad sets.
  4. Design your ad.
  5. Publish.

Snap Pixel

Snap Pixel is a JavaScript code placed on the backend of your website that will allow you to track the actions that Snapchatters take on your website, implement highly-targeted campaigns, build custom audiences, and optimize your content based on real-time insights.

Snap Pixel is ideal for you if your business sells direct response products or goods because it tracks your customer's journey from beginning to end — which will help you determine the impact your Snapchat advertising is having on your business.

Snapchat Insights

If you’re one of the lucky people — a.k.a. influencers and brands who are verified or have a large following — who has access to Snapchat Insights, congratulations are in order! 

Knowing how your campaign performs is one vital part of any marketing strategy (especially on an app like Snapchat), and Snapchat Insights will give you a fair advantage.

If you haven’t gotten the chance to explore Snapchat Insights yet, you can access it in 3 simple steps:

  1. Open your Snapchat app.
  2. Go to your home screen by tapping on your bitmoji (found on the top left corner).
  3. Tap the “Insights” tab and see your Snapchat Insights data.

☝️ Pro Tip: If you can’t find the Insights tab, make sure you have an updated version of the app. If it’s still not showing up, uninstall and reinstall the app before restarting your phone.

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