Snapchat Marketing 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Unlocking Its Full Potential

Reading Time: 15 minutes

Snapchat remains one of the most vital social media platforms for social media marketers. Now that the newer generations have the purchasing power, Snapchat’s GenZs and millennial market can drive engagement and income to any brand. 

Snapchat’s market is uniquely young, lively, and upbeat. So if that’s the kind of audience you’re after, then joining and publishing on Snapchat is a big requirement. 

Consider this blog post as your guide to unraveling the marketing mysteries of Snapchat, whether that is creating content that drives attention or spreading awareness about your logo designs, brand name, product innovation, and more. This article is perfect for beginners and seasoned social media marketers, graphic designers, corporate managers or small business owners. 

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is one of the most famous social media platforms in the world. It ranks tenth in the most number of social media users with 800 monthly active users and 406 daily users. 

Snapchat is known for its dynamic and ephemeral content —photos, videos, and messages that disappear after they’ve been viewed. 

At its core, Snapchat offers a unique way for users to share moments with friends and followers through what’s known as “Snaps.” These snaps once viewed will be erased in the users messages page. 

Over the years, it has introduced and popularized various popular features that strike the heart of GenZs and Millennials alike. Snapchat designs are Stories, Bitmoji, Geofilter, Chats, Snap Maps, and augmented reality (AR) filters. 

Snapchat is home to teenagers and GenZs, which comprise the majority of its users.

What Are the Benefits of Using Snapchat for Marketing?

Snapchat presents a unique blend of benefits for marketers aiming to reach a younger demographic:

  • Engagement: Snapchat’s format encourages active engagement, with users often interacting more personally and frequently. This helps improve your brand identity as having an engaged and interested loyal audience. 
  • Reach: With millions of active users, especially among younger audiences, Snapchat offers access to a demographic that can be hard to reach through traditional media.
  • Innovation: Snapchat’s constant introduction of new features, like AR lenses and filters, provides marketers with innovative tools to create captivating and interactive content.
  • Authenticity: The platform’s ephemeral nature encourages spontaneous and genuine content, which is suited for brands to humanize their presence and connect with audiences on a personal level.

How To Use Snapchat for Marketing

You will get better on Snapchat marketing once you get your hands on them. How do you join the platform? Here’s how:

  1. Create A Business Account

Start by setting up a Snapchat Business account. This grants access to analytics, advertising features, and more, allowing for a tailored marketing approach.

Step 1: Go online and download the Snapchat App. 

Step 2: Click “Sign Up” to create a new account. If you already use Snapchat, you can log in with your existing credentials.

Step 3: Enter Business Details: Provide information about your business, such as name and industry.

Step 4: For ads, enter your payment details.

Step 5: Explore business features: Access tools for analytics and advertising to start promoting your brand.

  1. Have A Custom Snapcode

A Snapcode is Snapchat’s version of a QR code. Customize your Snapcode to reflect your brand’s personality. Users can scan this to easily follow your business, making it a simple tool for growing your Snapchat audience.

  1. Create Compelling Snaps

Creating Snaps that captivate and engage your audience is crucial. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Stickers and Text: Enhance your Snaps by adding stickers or concise, impactful typography that conveys your message clearly.
  • Drawing: Use the drawing tool to add a personal touch or highlight important elements.
  • Filters: Filters can transform the look of your Snaps, making them more engaging or fitting a specific theme.
  • Music: Adding music can set the tone of your Snap, making it more emotive or energetic.
  • Access Hidden Snapchat Settings: Discover options for location filters, friend emojis, and more to customize your Snaps.
  • Switch Cameras Mid-Snap: On some devices, you can double-tap to switch between the front and rear cameras while recording, adding dynamic perspectives.
  • Layer Multiple Filters: After taking a Snap, swipe to add a filter, then hold and swipe again to layer another, enriching your visuals.
  • Add a Soundtrack: Play music from another app before recording your Snap to incorporate your favorite tunes.
  • Enhance Captions: Tap the pen icon after adding a caption to access more styles, sizes, and colors, making your text stand out.
  • Create Your Own Geofilters and Lenses: Snapchat allows you to design custom filters and AR lenses for personal or business events, offering a unique touch to your content.
  1. Create Engaging Snap Stories

Just like Instagram Stories, Snap Stories allow you to string together multiple Snaps to tell a story over 24 hours. Use Stories to share behind-the-scenes content, limited-time offers, or to narrate events, keeping your audience coming back for more.

Here are some more tried-and-tested tips:

Expanding on creating engaging Snap Stories, consider these diverse strategies and ideas:

  • Narrative Arc: Think of your Story as a mini-movie. Start with a hook, build with engaging content, and conclude with a strong call to action or resolution.
  • Interactivity: Use polls, questions, or Swipe-Up links (for those eligible) to engage directly with your audience. This not only increases interaction but also provides valuable feedback.
  • Consistent Theming: Whether it’s a color scheme, recurring characters, or a stylistic approach, consistency makes your Stories more recognizable and engaging.
  • Collaborations: Feature guests and influencers, or cross-promote with other brands and platforms like Pinterest and TikTok to diversify your content and reach new audiences.
  • Educational Content: Share tips, how-tos, or fun facts related to your niche. Educational content can add value, making viewers more likely to return.
  1. Utilize Lenses

Snapchat’s AR lenses offer a highly interactive way to engage users. The AR shopping Lens, for example, allows users to virtually try on products or visualize items in their space, providing an immersive shopping experience that can drive sales and enhance brand engagement.

If you fall in these industries, then you better maximize AR lens for your unique marketing needs:

  • Fashion & Retail: Allows customers to try on clothing, accessories, or makeup virtually, enhancing the shopping experience.
  • Home Decor & Furniture: Users can visualize how products would look in their space, aiding in decision-making.
  • Gaming & Entertainment: Creates immersive experiences, promoting new games or movies through interactive lenses.
  • Education & Training: Offers interactive learning experiences, making complex concepts easier to understand.
  • Health & Wellness: Could be used for visualizing fitness moves, yoga poses, or even simulating the effects of certain health conditions for educational purposes.

Your AR game can get better with these tips: 

  • Customize lenses for events: Tailor AR lenses for specific events or promotions, making them available for a limited time to create urgency.
  • Gather feedback: Use the engagement and interaction data from your lenses to understand what excites your audience, refining future content.
  • Promote lenses across channels: Don’t limit the promotion of your AR lens to Snapchat; use other social media channels to drive users to Snapchat to try out your lens.
  • Don’t forget the trends: Keep an eye on trending topics or viral AR lenses to quickly jump on trends that align with your brand.
  1. Create Content for Snapchat Spotlight

Spotlight is one of Snapchat’s recent additions to the app. It’s a tab that features trendy and entertaining content from their users. Think of it as their answer to TikTok’s “For You” page or Instagram’s “Explore” tab. 

It’s a great opportunity for aspiring influencers and content creators to get exposure and build their following. It’s also a way to build their personal branding by creating content that highlights their personality and expertise. Meanwhile, businesses and brands can also use Spotlight to reach new audiences and hopefully gain new customers. 

Snapchat recommends creating videos that center around comedy, pranks, memes, ASMR, dance, challenges, DIY crafts, and beauty videos to increase your chances of getting featured on Spotlight. Adding a hashtag for your topic (ex. #ASMR) can also help Snapchatters easily find your content. 

Snapchat also mentions that they reward users with highly creative and engaging content regardless of their follower count. Instead, they focus on the number of likes and watch time of the video. This opens up the field for a new user or a small content creator to get popular, instead of getting buried underneath established brands or already popular creators. 

To create content that is geared for Spotlight, follow these tips:

  • Vertical videos with a 3:4 aspect ratio only
  • Still images, text-only, and horizontal videos are not allowed
  • Do a full-screen video, no letterboxing
  • 5 seconds minimum to 60 seconds maximum
  • Use music from the licensed library
  • Use original content
  1. Do Snapchat Polls

Snapchat polls are a fun and interactive way to engage your followers. You can create polls to involve them in your decisions, spark a discussion, or get a pulse on how your audience feels about a particular topic. 

Let’s give you some examples. A fashion influencer can use polls to let her followers decide which outfit she should wear today. An ice cream brand that released new flavors can ask their followers which flavor they liked more. A content creator who talks about books can create a poll to know if people like or hate a book’s ending. And so on. 

To create a poll, take a picture or upload a photo from your gallery. From there, select the Stickers button then click Poll. Write your question, choose emojis to represent your user’s options, and then you’re done!

  1. Create Your Own Snap Filters

Filters are not only a fun way to decorate and customize your Snaps. They can be used to promote your business or event too! How? By creating your own filter.

You can create a paid Geofilter that features design, visual elements, or even your logo to promote your business. A content creator or influencer can also create one that matches their brand identity. Then can they use this when they have an event, product launch, or when they just want to boost brand awareness.

To create your filter, go to and choose “Filter”. From there, you can either upload a predesigned filter or create one by customizing Snapchat’s available templates. 

How To Use Snapchat Ads

While organic marketing is important, utilizing the power of paid ads is also a viable strategy. This ensures that the right audience can see your content. This is where Snapchat Ads come in.

Snapchat Ads require a minimum of $5 spend per day. This is a relatively cheap cost, making it easy for businesses to dip their toes first to see if it will work with them. 

Snapchat Ads also come in a beginner-friendly self-serve format, similar to Facebook Ads. You can easily set up your campaign and monitor their performance in the Snapchat Ads Manager. 

Interested? Let’s dive a little deeper into them. 

Why Use Snapchat Ads?

There are many benefits to using Snapchat Ads, including:

  • Reach Gen Z and Millennials audience – reaches 90% of the 13-24 year old population and 75% of the 13-34 year old population. If that is your target audience, Snapchat is the best platform for you. 
  • Users are highly engaged – Snapchatters visit the app for over 30x per day. They are also 30% more likely to purchase the product they see on an ad. 
  • High spending power – Their young target audience tends to impulse buy and are more receptive to ads. They also have tons of disposable income, with data showing that they hold an incredible $4.4 trillion in global spending power. 
  • Great for local businesses – Over 300 million users engage in Snap Map every month, which helps in discovering businesses near you. Users are also 2x more likely to share their purchases with their network. This helps in word-of-mouth marketing. 

What Are the Different Snapchat Ad Formats?

Snapchat offers multiple ad formats fit for any type of content strategy that you may have in mind. These are:

Single Image or Video Ad

These are full-screen ads that users can then swipe up on to take action. They can appear on User Stories, Publishers, Creators, and Our Stories.

These are very versatile and are great for any ad objective that you have. They can also take many forms – whether a motion graphic, cinemagraph, GIF, live video, slideshow, or still image.

Ad Requirements:

  • Dimensions: 1080px x1920px, 9:16 aspect ratio
  • Length: minimum 3 seconds and maximum 180 seconds for videos
  • File Format: .mp4 and .mov for videos, .jpg and .png for images
  • File Size: 1GB or less for videos, 5 MB for images

Source: Snapchat Business Inspiration

Collection Ads

These are four tappable tiles that showcase multiple products. Basically, this is a video ad that has four images inside to form a collection. 

These are great for businesses or e-commerce stores that want to drive more sales to their products.

Ad Requirements:

  • Dimensions: 1080px x 1920px, 9:16 aspect ratio
  • Length: minimum 3 seconds and maximum 180 seconds for videos
  • File Format: .mp4 and .mov for videos, .jpg and .png for images
  • File Size: 1GB or less for videos, 5 MB for images

Thumbnail Requirements:

  • Dimensions: 160px x 160px
  • File Format: .jpg or .png only
  • File Size: 2 MB or less for each image
  • Note: Each thumbnail image requires a URL to be linked to. These URLs can be used multiple times.

Source: Snapchat Advertising

Story Ads

These are a series of 1-10 ads that can appear on a user’s Discover page or between content. 

Think of these as something similar to Instagram Stories Ads. This is excellent for getting higher engagement or getting more leads, as Snapchatters are active on watching Stories.

Ad Requirements:

  • Dimensions: 1080px x 1920px, 9:16 aspect ratio
  • Length: minimum 3 seconds and maximum 180 seconds for videos
  • File Format: .mp4 and .mov for videos, .jpg and .png for images
  • File Size: 1GB or less for videos, 5 MB for images

Source: Snapchat Advertising


Lenses, as mentioned above, create a fun AR experience for your users. They serve as an engaging and interactive ad that users can play with and share with friends. They can also be used as a way to “try on” or demo your product.

Lenses follow a strict guideline and creation process. Coordinate with Snapchat in order to run a successful Lens Ad. 

Source: Snapchat Business Inspiration


Just the same as Lenses, Filters can also be used for ads. You have the option to do a Static Filter or a Moving Filter.

Ad Requirements:

  • Dimensions: 945px x 2048px for static, 720px x 1560px for moving filters 
  • Length: 1-3 seconds for moving filters
  • File Format: .png for static, .gif for moving
  • File Size: under 300kb for static, 2-15 fps for moving
  • Notes: Make sure moving filters can be looped seamlessly without any obvious start and end points. 


This is a type of video ad that can run as a Standard Commercial or Extended Play Commercial. Standard Commercial are non-skippable 3 to 6 second video ads. While Extended Play can run up to 180 seconds, but only the first 7 seconds are unskippable.  

They follow the same ad requirements and format as a normal video ad.

How To Create A Snapchat Ad? 

You have two options when creating a Snapchat Ad – Instant Create or Advanced Create. 

Instant Create is basically their simplified version of ad creation. Users can only create a single ad and have simplified ad targeting options. It also features templates to use for easy Ad Creative creation. This is great for newbies who don’t have prior background in creating ads or people who just want to try out Snapchat Ads. 

Advanced Create, on the other hand, allows you to create multiple ad sets and features advanced targeting and bidding options. This is great for experienced advertisers who want to run detailed, targeted ads based on their previous data.

To create an ad, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Snapchat Ads Manager.
  2. We’ll show the process for Instant Create first. After clicking this option, you have to choose your advertising goal between the following.
  • Web Visits – best for driving Snapchatters to your website, landing page, blog
  • My Brand on Snapchat – best for promoting your profile or promoting your brick-and-mortar business
  • Calls & Text – best for driving sales, leads, bookings, or inquiries to your business
  • App Installs – will directly lead to downloading your app
  • App Visit – will lead Snapchatters to your app’s page
  1. Next step is to design your ad. You can choose from the library or upload your own. Here you can also add your Brand Name, Headline, Call to Action button, Caption, and Logo. You can also choose from available templates to easily edit your creative asset.
  1. Next is your ad targeting options. You can edit your target location, demographic, budget, and duration of your ad. You can also see on the Delivery Estimates tab the estimated result of your ad based on your target settings. 
  1. Add your payment details, click “Publish”, and you’re done!

We’ll now show the process of Advanced Create

  1. Go to Snapchat Ad Manager and click Advanced Create. 
  2. Choose your ad goal. It’s divided into three categories –  Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. 
  • Awareness – best for increasing awareness for your profile, product, or brand 
  • Promote Places – best for promoting your local business
  • App Installs – best for increasing app installs 
  • Drive Traffic to Website / App – drive traffic to your website, landing page, blog, or app
  • Engagement – increase engagement on your profile, videos, or website
  • Video Views – increase views on your videos
  • Lead Generation – generate leads, sign-ups, or inquiries
  • App Conversion / Website Conversion – best for directing users to specific actions to your app or website
  • Catalog Sales – best for increasing product views and sales
  1. Next is your Campaign Setup. Here you can edit details such as your Campaign Name, Duration, and Spend Cap, as well as set up Split Testing (if you want to). 
  1. Next is the Ad Set details setting. Here you can set-up your campaign as specific to your needs as possible.
  • Budget & Schedule – set your Daily or Lifetime Budget, Campaign Duration, Goal (Impressions, Clicks, Shares, Story Opens), and Bid. For Bid, you can either do Auto Bid, where Snachat will automatically choose the bid that best fit you based on data and algorithm, or Max Bid, where you can set your bid of choice
  • Placement – Choose either Auto Placement (where Snapchat will automatically decide for you), or Edit Placement (where you can choose where your ad will run on Snapchat. For example, on Publisher Stories, on Discover Feed, or In-Stream)
  • Location
  • Demographic – based on Age, Gender, and Language. You can also set Advanced Details such as Education, Income, Marital, and Parental Status
  • Audiences – can be sorted by Predefined Audience (based on Snapchat’s data of their users. They are based on their lifestyle, interests, and shopping habits) or by Custom Audience. 
  • Device – sort by OS, Device Maker, Connection Type, and Carrier
  • Delivery – where you can set the frequency of how often a user can be exposed to your ad, or whether you want to be more aggressive or slow-paced with the release of your ads
  1. You can then upload and edit your creative asset. You can also add your Brand Name, Headline, Caption, CTA logo, and other details here.
  1. Once you’re happy with how it looks, click “Review & Publish”, and you’re done! 

Best Practices for Snapchat

Now that you know what you can do on Snapchat, we are here to share some more tips to make the most of your Snapchat marketing experience. These are:

  1. Know Your Target Audience

Identifying your target audience is the first (and most essential!) step to any successful marketing strategy. After all, if you don’t fully understand your audience, how can you create content that will speak to them and will engage them?

Your target audience will dictate the style, visual element, and overall aesthetic of your Snapchat Designs. It will also dictate the type of content that you’ll do.

To know your target audience, do some research first to build your buyer persona. You can do this by using surveys, researching trends, doing some competitor research, monitoring your other social media pages, tracking your website conversion, or analyzing your previous marketing campaigns. 

  1. Track Your Analytics

Tracking and examining your Snapchat’s analytics is another way to improve the success of your marketing campaigns.

Snapchat doesn’t offer detailed analytics when it comes to a creator’s Snaps or Stories. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t learn anything from their data. You can still track these important metrics:

  • Views
  • Screenshots (for your Stories)
  • Replies

From there, you can make a simple spreadsheet that is similar to this:

By tracking the length, you can identify if shorter or longer videos perform better for you. You can also calculate the completion rate (number of Story completions / unique view count x 100). This should let you know how engaging your content is – if people are finishing your Stories or if they drop off. Tracking the number of snaps you do per day is also helpful in knowing if your users prefer seeing more Snaps from you or if you are overloading them. 

Most importantly, you can identify from this what kind of content works best for your audience. 

Let’s move on to your ads. You can track your analytics in the Snapchat Ad Manager Analytics. There, you can view detailed numbers and data regarding your campaign performance such as impressions, swipes, eCPM, and more. You can also track conversions and installs for your website or apps.

You can also view Audience Insights, to better understand your audience.

  1. Experiment with different content styles

Lastly, feel free to experiment with your content. 

While you may find that short comedic videos work well for you, this doesn’t mean that it’s the only thing you will post. You can vary it from time to time so that your audience won’t get bored with your content.

Some ideas for content are behind-the-scenes, Q&A, stop motion video, unboxing videos, product reviews, animated videos, and so on. You can also take a look at our Fun TikTok Post Ideas for inspiration, as TikTok and Snapchat have a lot of overlapping audience and content style. 


And we’re done! We hope our comprehensive guide to Snapchat can help you navigate and leverage the platform better.

If you need help on creating beautiful and engaging Snapchat Designs, feel free to use our customizable templates or hire a designer from our talented community of graphic artists back in DesignCrowd.

Your social media strategy shouldn’t be limited to just Snapchat either. If you’re targeting a younger demographic, TikTok and Instagram are great options for you as well. Check out our guide to TikTok Ads, or our templates for Instagram Posts and Instagram Profile Pictures

Jumpstart your marketing game with BrandCrowd today!