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What are Snapchat Ads Creative Best Practices?

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In the fiercely competitive world of social media advertising on Snapchat, it is important for app publishers to employ the latest media strategies and creative best practices. But creative excellence is not easy. High-performance, control-beating creative is rare. In our experience, after spending over $3 billion in user acquisition advertising, we have found that typically only one out of 20 ads can beat the current “control” (the top-performing ad).  So, it is important to keep testing to discover the next winning creative, and you need to keep generating enough creative to fuel that testing machine. Since creative fatigues so quickly, you’ll need 20 new creative concepts every month, or possibly even every week. As you are fueling your creative engine, here are additional Snap ads creative best practices to consider:


Snap Ads Creative Best Practices


Build Effective Snap Ads

1. Design for Second 0

  • The first frame and beyond should include all your value props (e.g., logo, product shots, key messaging, CTA).
  • Minimize the amount of text used on-screen and remember users will be able to learn more in the attachment.

2. Tell the User Your Objective

  • Tell users exactly what you want them to do.
  • Think strategically about formats here. If you show a video, you are telling users you want them to watch a video.
    • If you show a Still Image, you are presenting a quick way to digest info and then quickly act.
    • Include a CTA to add context to what you are offering and to encourage action (e.g., Shop the New Collection, New Styles for Summer, etc.).

3. The Power of 1

  • Each asset should focus on ONE objective, ONE audience, ONE product.
  • Since you are showing everything in Frame 0, you do not want to cause information overload. Break your assets down into different focuses. This will also help to see what truly resonates with your audience.
  • To assist with relevance, your creative should reflect your targeting categories.

To Drive Purchases:

  • Mention a promotion or offer if applicable.
  • Include a strong CTA that gives context to what you are offering.
  • Leverage multiple creatives to test and optimize.

Insider Tip:

If you need to include a good amount of text, try stacking the copy so it is easy to read.

Bonus Tip: Collection Ads

Collection Ads are Snap Ads with product thumbnails that drive to individual URLs – perfect for lower-funnel objectives. This unit encourages swipe up as it presents the user with multiple options to tap into. Use thumbnails to show the breadth of the product, different styles/flavors/colorways, gift guide suggestions, etc. Avoid placing important text in the bottom 384 px of the screen.

Snap Ads: Commercials


Commercials In:

1. Premium Content

  • Shows are a leaned-back experience, with commercials literally being a ‘commercial break’.

2. Games

  • With games, the commercial ad unit will be opt-in. Players can watch an ad to unlock extra lives or points within a game.


Build Effective Commercials:

1. Feature branding and a clear message

Since this unit is all about awareness, it is important the branding is clear, and the message is focused.

2. Use purposeful sound design

Sound is mandatory for this unit due to the large number of viewers who watch/play with their sound on.

3. Tell a simple narrative

All eyes are on you! Start on a strong note and end on an even stronger one!

Insider Tip:

Pay attention to campaign details! Since this is a force-view unit, it is very important to have multiple assets and varied creative. The longer the campaign and the higher the frequency, the more creatives you should have!

Think TV:

Keep traditional TV in mind when it comes to creative. However, the screen is now vertical, and the user is even MORE leaned in! (Repurposed ads = happiness!)

Snap Ads: Story Ads


Story Ads “Story (telling) Ads”

Speak directly to your consumer in a way that is natural on the platform. Consisting of a tile entryway and a collection of sequenced 3-20 Snap Ads, your brand will be able to story tell in a place where users actively search for authentic, trusted content

Build Effective Story Ads:

1. Tile

  • Consists of an image, logo, and headline.
  • Should pique interest and introduce the story (think article headlines!).
  • Test and learn by changing up the Tile Image and/or headline.

2. Body/Story

  • 3-20 Snap Ads that can swipe up into attachments (e.g., web view, long-form video, app install, filters/lenses).
  • Design with your objective in mind (incorporate Snap Ad Creative Best Practices).
  • Use your judgment on the number of Snap Ads to include within a Story. This would be a great thing to test, but when in doubt… less is more!

Insider Tip:

End the “Story” by creating a final Snap Ad that closes the narrative. In most cases, that final Snap Ad should encourage users to swipe up and act. (e.g., Shop the Entire Collection Now, Swipe Up to Find Your Fit, See the Whole Gift Guide Below, etc.).

Recycle and Repurpose:

Repurpose Story Ads for other media and vice versa! Story Ads do not need to be custom. Group your Snap Ads together to create a Story Ad OR separate your Story Ads to create individual Snap Ads.

Story Ad Thought Starters:

  1. Product Storytelling
  2. Item Features/Benefits
  3. Product Catalog
  4. Repurpose Long-Form Video
  5. Testimonials
  6. Game-ify experience (e.g., quizzes, flip-book style, play with a tapping motion, etc.)


Snap Ads: Filters & AR Lenses


Filters “Your Brand Stamp”

Take part in Snapchatters’ conversations with creative overlays they can add to photo and video messages.

Build Effective Filters:

1. Simple, Clean Design

Place designs on the edges of the screen, with the heaviest part of the design being at the lower portion of the screen

2. Caption Relevancy

  • The best captions relate to both the brand AND what users are doing/how they are feeling. Captions should either provide a feeling (Friday Feels, Mood of the Day, etc.) or they should provide context (e.g., currently in New York, 4 Days until the Super Bowl, etc.)
  • A caption is not the same as a brand tagline. Think more about how you can take your brand values and transform them into the user’s everyday voice

3. Targeting Relevancy

You can target based on audiences or location. Think about who your users are and what they are doing at that moment.

Insider Tip:

These are not banner ads! To users, they are a way to enhance snaps. To brands, they are a way to create brand ambassadors and to stay top-of-mind.

AR Lenses “The People’s Filter”

Create memorable, interactive moments with augmented reality experiences Snapchatters can play with and send to friends.


Build Effective AR Lenses:

1. Concept with Your Objective in Mind

What are you looking to achieve with this lens? What are your business goals?

2. Evoke an Emotion

The best lenses evoke emotion – whether that be sheer “coolness,” silliness, nostalgia, fun, beauty, etc.


Snapcodes come as an added value to AR Lenses. Use them on emails, OOH, social media, etc. to garner additional impressions.

Insider Tip:

Lenses can be a built-in selfie or world mode. They can also include an attachment driving to a website, long-form video, or app download page.


Creative Testing to Optimize Snap Advertising

In addition to the creative strategies mentioned above, it is also important to remember to continue testing, testing, testing your creative.

Quantitative Creative Testing is an A/B split-testing methodology we have developed for ad creative. It is designed to be super-efficient with both time and ad spend, to find the sort of breakout ads that can replace a campaign’s previous control. To do Quantitative Creative Testing effectively, we take batches of new concepts and run them against each other in an ad set. Each new concept gets about 50,000 impressions before we decide if it is a winner or a loser. If it is a winner, it gets moved up into another ad set, where it will run against another winning mobile ad creative, including the current control. If the new ad can outperform all the other ads in that ad set, then it gets moved into another, primary ad set and gets the bulk of the campaign’s spend.

You can also check out our video and whitepaper on creative testing best practices:


Final Thoughts about Snap Ads Creative Best Practices

As mentioned, while knowing general creative trends is helpful, dig deeper into the trends most relevant for your app. Further, you will also want to overlay all this creative development and testing with actual performance data. This is because you will want to chase trends that boost ROAS, not just chase every trend that comes along. Keeping testing, and testing, and if you have any questions on how to streamline your creative testing process, reach out to us to discuss.

snapchat ads creative best practices


Read our blog post, UA Media Buying Model, and see how it works in tandem with our Ad Concept Model. Learn the media buying best practice strategies for Facebook Android, Facebook iOS SKAN, Google, and TikTok.

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