The End-All Snapchat Ads Guide: Cost, Specs & More

The End-All Snapchat Ads Guide: Cost, Specs & More

Snapchat now has its own proprietary ad platform, allowing any user to create a business account and start advertising through the new Snapchat Ad Manager. Not only that, but Snapchat has also included a new video creation tool that allows you to create incredible video ads on the fly. 

How Do Snapchat Ads Work? 

A Snapchatter can see video ads between friends’ stories or within the curated content area where all Snapchat stories, publisher stories, and celebrity content is placed. 

Snapchat ads display just like a vertical video ad. When clicked, these ads take you to a landing page, app page to install, or an article to read through. 

This new platform allows advertisers to access more than 165 million Snapchat users who use this visual app every day. On average, users spend about 30 minutes within the social media app every day, but it’s also opened nearly 20 times by the average user. 

You can also target users based on a myriad of demographics, behaviors, and interests. Businesses with email contact lists or CRM data can also upload their own customer lists into the platform to find and target with ads. 

To understand how it works a little better, here is a quick guide to using this social advertising platform

1. Snapchat Ads Cost 

Campaign costs with Snapchat are similar to Facebook Ads or Twitter Ads. You can set up your budget within the “Budget & Goals” tab. This allows you to set your daily budget, bid amount, and goals such as “Clicks” or “Swipe Ups.” 

Currently, there’s a minimum daily amount of $100 to start a campaign. You won’t be able to set up a campaign unless you are able to commit to this amount. 

In addition, the delivery and budget are optimized based on the goals. If you choose app install with a bid of $10, then you should expect to compete against others when bidding for placement on users’ feeds. Snapchat will only show your ads to users who are most likely take the action you selected. 

As such, you should start off with a lower bid amount and slowly increase to see what the right bid amount is for your campaign.  

2. Snapchat Ad Specs/Types 

While other social platforms have single image ads, forms, video ads, or carousel ads, Snapchat bases its ad formats around vertical videos and stories. Your ad will likely appear as a user is browsing through their friends’ stories (often called Story Ads). 

Through Snapchat, you can build:

  •  Vertical video snap ad
  •  Geofilter
  •  Sponsored lens

These ads link to the following:

  •  Article (hosted within Snapchat)
  •  App install (Routes user to Google’s Play Store or ApplesApp Store)
  •  Long-form videos
  •  Web view (links to landing page

Advertisers should also take note of Snapchat ads specs. There are specific Snapchat ads specs for all images and videos used for campaigns

File sizes on videos must be less than 1 GB, while images should be less than 5 MB. They should be in a 9:16 aspect ratio

Videos should use the file formats .mp4, .mov and be H.264 Encoded. Images should be uploaded as either a .jpg or .png

3. How to Run Successful Snapchat Ads 

If you have never used Snapchat before, we suggest trying out the app and exploring all the different areas, such as the stories and curated content sections before starting a campaign. This gives you a chance to see how your ad will display and what types of content you’ll be competing against. 

Next, you’ll set up your Snapchat Ad Manager before moving into campaign creation. Once you’ve signed up for Snapchat for Business and set up payment, you can move onto your first campaign. 

What’s Needed for Your Snapchat Campaign

  •  Campaign creatives (image, video, or GIF)
  •  Messaging/copy
  •  An article, long-form video, landing page link, or app install page
  •  Budget
  •  Audience demographics
  •  Customer lists (if available) 

Your brand strategy is very important when building your campaign, so be sure to incorporate your style, fonts, and messaging within your ad creative

1. Click +New Campaign to Begin 

Once inside of the Snapchat advertising manager, you’ll choose an objective. There are four to pick from:

  •  Drive Traffic to My Website
  •  Drive Installs of My App
  •  Grow Brand Awareness
  •  Drive Video Views 

Make sure that you’ve already drilled down to the specific goal or outcome that you’d like to receive from your campaign before starting. Picking your objective will help Snapchat optimize your campaign around your goal and generate the best return on your investment.

Pick a Schedule

Snapchat allows you to set start and end dates for specific promotions, or you can run an ad immediately with no end date. 

Name Your Ad Campaign

Depending on how many campaigns you’ll be creating, you can use a naming convention to organize your campaign such as “Objective-Dates-Promotion Name.” 

In the next step, you’ll set up your ad set with budget, audience, and goals. 

2. Set Up Your Ad 

In the next part of the campaign set up in the ads manager, you’ll create ad sets. These are typically segmented by audience, goals, and budget. For each ad set, you can target a unique audience and set different budgets or goals.


You can target multiple audience demographics, locations, and customer lists within Snapchat’s targeting tool to create truly custom audiences.  

Advertisers may also specify placements and devices for further targeting. See our best practices section below for more information on what to target. 

Budget and Goals

The minimum daily budget is $5 for all Snapchat advertisers. Depending on what goal you select, your bid will be optimized for that action. Each time someone installs your app from the ad, you’ll pay whatever you set the maximum bid to. 

Snapchat ads can be pretty costly if you don’t select the right bidding strategy. This is why it’s best to start off with a low-end max bid to make the most out of your budget. If you start out with a maximum bid of $2 per goal, then you can scale up if you don’t see any activity until you start getting installs. This prevents you from blowing through your entire budget in one day.

3. Select Your Ad Type and Creative 

In the next part of the campaign setup, you’ll create your ad and upload your image or video to finalize the creative. 

The first step is to select your ad type. This includes Top Snap Only, Web View, App Install, or Long-Form Video. These will typically appear in a snap story or in the discover tab. 

Depending on what you selected, you’ll upload the creative in the next step, paying attention to Snapchat ads specs. We recommend looking at Snapchat ads examples within the app before creating your own. 

Your creative should be optimized for Snapchat ads dimensions. You’ll also enter your brand name, headline, and call-to-action to finalize your ad. 

4. Upload Your Attachment

Finally, you’ll upload your website, app page, or video that you want users to see when they access your ad by swiping up. Your content should be optimized for mobile so it’s easy to view and take action. 

4. Quick Best Practices for Snapchat Ad Success  

Targeting Audiences within Snapchat

There are five main ways to target audiences within Snapchat. Advertisers get the best responses by building buyer personas first and then extracting data from those personas to build profiles. 

You can target by geo-location, age, gender, language, income, marital status, and much more – so it’s important to understand who you’re trying to reach and what their interests are. 

In addition, you can upload an email subscriber or phone list with customer data into Snapchat. The platform will automatically try to match profiles to your data so you can create remarketing campaigns or send promotions to existing customers. 

If you already have a sizable customer list for your brand, try creating a lookalike audience within the platform. You can choose to have Snapchat target this lookalike audience based on three levels of similarity to your existing customers.

Monitor Performance and Optimize

Within Snapchat ad manager, you can customize columns for the metrics you want to track such as overall cost, conversion cost, clicks, CTR, and impressions. You can also edit schedules, change budgets, and build reports. 

You can also duplicate and change ad sets if you want to test different audiences or creatives within your campaign. 

Start Advertising On Snapchat Today

Not sure where to begin when it comes to advertising on the Snapchat app? Work with a digital marketing agency that has a proven track record of successful paid media campaigns, including those on social networks

Contact us today so we can get your business the audience it deserves.