Everything advertisers need to know about Snapchat in 2020

In a world that is rapidly changing, wherein smart advertisers are those who can adapt the most to meet the changing needs of consumers, Snap is really shaking up its offering for advertisers and consumers.

A 2020 timeline

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, Snapchat rolled out a variety of new features, and successfully communicated the value of this offering in relation to current circumstances.

In March, Snap introduced a worldwide filter with information on how to stay safe provided by the World Health Organisation, and worked with the WHO to develop custom content to answer community questions and concerns. A new feature called ‘Here for You’, a set of mental health resources, was also launched early with an additional section on Covid-19, produced by the WHO, CDC, Ad Council and Crisis Text Line. 

In April, Snapchat made it easier for users to donate to COVID-19 relief efforts with the launch of a new AR donation experience, and a Swipe Up to Donate option on content covering COVID-19 within the Discover section of the app.

In May, Snapchat beta-tested a new direct e-commerce feature, Dynamic Product Ads in the US and UK, and rolled this out globally to all advertisers in June, citing the rise of e-commerce during Covid-19 lockdowns as reasons for launch. 

Finally, in June Snap announced a series of new features to revamp the app at their annual partner summit. Additionally, at the company’s inaugural NewFront presentation on the 22nd June, Snapchat emphasised its young, progressive audience as a point of pride, showcasing a roster of shows and news coverage that it believes speak to the social awakening that is happening in the US and UK. 

Snap’s core audience

Snapchat usage is on the rise, with worldwide daily active users hitting 210 million in Q4 2019, and rising again to 229 million in Q2 2020, with recent growth in users accelerated by COVID-19.

Regular users of the app tend to demonstrate quality engagement, coming into the app for an average of 30 times a day, adding up to 30 minutes of engagement each day on average. 

Snapchat is also a great platform to tap into the coveted millennial and Gen Z market, with the strongest cohort being 18-34 year olds, and the platform boasting a fairly unique and unduplicated audience compared with rival social platforms. 

This is skewed slightly more towards the younger end of this age group, with 69% of 13-17 year olds using the app versus 69% of 18-34 year olds. 

Snapchat aims to offer a unique user experience to suit their relatively young user base, with social interactions, creativity and joy at the heart of this. 

List of emotions associated with social media apps

Key points to note for advertisers:

  • Available audience targeting: Interest segments, custom audiences and lookalikes based on customer lists, ad engagement, and website or mobile app events
  • Optimise for the appropriate goal:
    • Awareness
    • Lead generation
    • Traffic to app or website
    • Engagement or video views
    • App installs
    • Website conversions or catalog sales
  • Formats available for every objective in the funnel:
    • For brand awareness: Commercials (non-skippable 6 second video)
    • For consideration: Collection ads
    • For app installs: Story ads and Snap ads with an app install attachment
    • For e-commerce: dynamic product ads
  • Brand safety features:
    • Snap says it is committed to brand safety with a set of moderating tools, which includes moderation of Snaps and Stories from popular Snapchatters – If a Snap or Story is flagged as unsafe for advertisers, no promoted content will share space with it either in the Story or Discovery sections
    • Users can report content created by other members of the Snap community in-app
    • If you want to completely avoid appearing next to native content, Snap Ads are screen videos that provide advertisers complete exclusivity on the phone screen, rather than sitting above or alongside other content
  • Location targeting: very granular targeting enabled, with majority of users allowing the app to identify their exact location 
  • A/B testing: Now available on the platform

Snap takes on e-commerce with Dynamic Product Ads

The biggest news of 2020 for performance marketers is Snapchats’ new Dynamic Product Ad (DPA) format. 

DPAs allow you to automatically personalise your ads to each individual user so the product they are likely to be most interested in will show to them. This form of automated personalization opens up new ways to scale and drive impact easily in e-commerce marketing. 

An advertiser only needs to integrate their product catalogue with the platform, then select an audience for prospecting or retargeting, and Snap’s system will deliver the most relevant ad to each user.

Snapchat Dynamic Product Ads

The benefits of this include:

  • Ready-made, high-quality creative: You can choose from templates designed to showcase products visually in a way which is native to the platform. Automating the creation and optimisation of ads ultimately frees up time and leads to smarter and better performance.
  • Increased ad relevance: As changes to products occur (i.e. price or availability), the ads will adjust accordingly, and the shopping experience will be continuously tailored to user preferences, based on the intent signals captured from a range of data points. 

We were one of the first to take the opportunity to run Dynamic Product Ads during the beta launch. As a result of very low impression costs and strong engagement, we managed to drive £13k in incremental revenue during the first month, for a ROI of 4.5. We are now working with Snapchat to bring DPAs to a number of our clients in fashion, retail, health & wellness, and entertainment.

And more changes are coming: Snap announced a new partnership with Spirable, a data-driven video platform, that will allow brands to dynamically deliver video personalisation at scale.

Snapchat Location, Chats, Snap Camera, Stories & Discover sections

New features for Snapchatters

At the company’s 2020 partner summit in June, a whole host of new features were announced; among which include:

  • Snapchat Minis, micro-apps embedded within the Snap app including Headspace
  • Host of new Snap Originals’ TV episodes and series located within the app
  • New AR capabilities for lens creation, and the Lens Studio tool, giving users an easy way to create their own lenses 
  • A Happening Now’ tab featuring real-time information updates which are contextually tailored to the user based on their recent activity
Snapchat Mini Headspace image

These features feed into Snap’s mission to create shared social experiences on their platform, and push the boundaries of what a mobile app can provide in terms of user experience. With Snap Minis, in particular, Snapchat believes that the app integrations which allow for shared user experiences will be the most successful. 

For marketers, this mission to drive growth and engagement means we could see Snap’s user base and engagement levels accelerate even further this year. 

With its efficient reach, unique and engaged user base, and innovative features, Snapchat is becoming an increasingly valuable platform to consider in any marketing strategy.

(Images by Snapchat)