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Snapchat provides tips on how to increase ad engagement for the holidays

With the holiday season closing in, and brands looking to maximize their opportunities to make up what they can after an incredibly tough year, this week, Snapchat has provided some new pointers on how brands can get the most out of their Snap promotions, with ten tips of note for your campaigns.

You can read Snapchat's full overview here, but here's a quick overview of Snap's top tips.

1. Choose the right ad format for your goals

Snapchat ads offer five different objectives:

Within these, Snapchat says that these ad products are best aligned to specific goals:

  • Driving sales and sign-ups online - Dynamic Ads, Single Image or Video Ads, Story Ads, and Collection Ads.

  • Boost app installs and engagement - App Install attachments, Lens AR Experiences. 

  • Build brand awareness - Story Ads, Lens AR Experience, Extended Play Commercial. 

  • Retargeting existing customers - Story Ads

There are various ways in which you can utilize each, so they're not limited to these categories, but Snap says that these are the best match campaign types for each objective.

2. Showcase your product front and center in your ad creative

Snapchat notes that brands should look to feature a ‘hero’ message, and include relevant offers or specials to help drive consideration.

For eCommerce, Snap advises that brands should feature the focus product/s ''front and center', while local businesses should look to specifically highlight the services and/or products they specialize in.

"For example, a local restaurant can showcase popular dishes or specials in their ad creative to entice customers to visit." 

3. Make your ads feel native to Snapchat

Snapchat also says that brands should look to align their creative with the native platform experience, in order to provide a more integrated user experience.

For this, Snapchat advises that your ad duration should be a non-intrusive 5 to 6 seconds. Snap also notes that ads which feature user-generated content (UGC) and/or 'Snapchat inspired features' typically see better response, as opposed to more polished, generic brand promotions.

4. Drive urgency with relevant messaging

Furthering the above point, Snapchat also notes that simplicity is key in your ad creative.

"Your messaging should be easy to understand, displayed from the beginning of your ad, be localized for your audience, and provide an offer message (if available) within the first 2 seconds of the ad."

That's not a lot of time, but at 5-6 seconds duration, you don't have much to work with. The more direct, and aligned to your brand purpose, the better. 

5. Design for sound on

Interestingly, given that various other platforms advise brands to add captions for sound-off viewing, Snapchat says that 64% of Snapchat Ads are viewed with sound on, so you should look to include audio elements.

"An effective way to include sound in your ad creative is to use a customer testimonial of your product or brand within the ad creative. Including a spoken testimonial helps Snapchatters better understand your products, relate to your brand, and see how your business can add value."

That's a simple, and potentially valuable tip, which could help enhance your Snap ad messaging.

6. Link your ads properly

Snapchat also advises brands to ensure that they're using the right links for their campaign objectives:

  • Drive online sales - Web View attachments, which enable Snapchatters to 'swipe up' to view a web page Drive app installs - App Install attachments enable Snapchatters to swipe up and download your app 

  • Drive app engagement/app visits - Deep links enable businesses to direct users to specific areas of their apps

You can find more information about your Snap ad linking options here.

7. Test ad creative and try new ad formats

Snapchat also recommends testing your ad creative to maximize performance.

"When testing ad creative, consider running your test for 2-4 weeks to gather enough impressions on your ad(s). After you’re up and running your ads on Snapchat, we recommend testing a variety of ad formats to find out the winning combination for your brand."

Of course, more testing is always better, but not everyone will have the capacity and/or scope to test on a broad scale. But if you are able, running initial tests, for a defined period, will help to drive better results.

8. Use goal-based bidding to bid towards your desired action

Snapchat says that brands should also look to utilize goal-based bidding, which will optimize your ads in alignment with a specific action, like installing your app or making a purchase.

"By specifying your cost-per-action in the ‘Delivery’ section of Ads Manager, impressions will be delivered to efficiently achieve that outcome." 

Goal-based bidding essentially rewards more responsive creative - if people are engaging with your content, the system will drive more engagement, boosting performance. 

9. Broaden your targeting

Snapchat says that brands can further maximize their campaigns by broadening their targeting once they've been running an ad for a while, and have a better understanding of audience response.

"Within existing ad sets and campaigns, you can expand your targeting by geo, gender, age ranges, and languages to expand your reach and get more impressions."

That also comes with a level of inherent risk, but the more campaigns you run, and the longer you run them, the more you can learn about your audience response rates, which can, indeed, help you expand into more specific segments.

10. Understand your audience reach to optimize

Which leads into the final point - by using Snap's Audience Insights, you can learn more about your audience response, which can then help to further optimize your campaigns. 

You can then create custom audience subsets and saved audiences to test and expand. It takes time and analysis to get down to the right audience focus, but the more you invest in this, the better your ad performance will be.  

These are some helpful tips, and while a lot of them are reliant on testing - i.e. exploratory ad spend in order to optimize performance, that really is the only true way to get a better understanding of how to maximize your ad efforts.

The problem is that this may not be overly helpful for this holiday period, given the limited time frame between now and Christmas. But even so, the notes provided here are a solid starting point for your Snap campaigns, which will give you a better understanding of the platform's potential for your promotions.

You can read Snapchat's full listing of tips here.

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