Photo Credit: Thought Catalog
Gen Z sparks renewed interest in alternative social channels.
It’s no secret that Facebook and Google have ruled the online advertising space for the past ten years, with companies clamouring for access to extraordinary targeting capabilities and massive audience reach. But with regulatory pressures, more frequent algorithm changes and political conflict all growing, advertisers are looking for ways to diversify their media mix to protect against a more unpredictable and volatile advertising landscape. They’re also looking for ways to address changing consumer tastes and behaviours that are rooted in a desire to have a little fun again.
Let’s face it. The last year has been tough. And people really just want to feel a little hope and joy again. So, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing a shift, particularly among younger audiences, to platforms like Snapchat, TikTok and Clubhouse – all of which are offering up some interesting alternatives to the tried-and-true digital ad formats of 2019. A lot of this change is being driven by Gen Z, who is placing greater value on their relationships with friends and family following a year of lockdowns and restrictions. It’s also no surprise that highly visual social media channels and camera apps have become key to maintaining those connections in a virtual world.
What first started as an ephemeral messaging app that offered teenagers a new way to take pictures (complete with highly interactive filters), Snapchat has grown into a $911 billion social platform featuring content partnerships with giants like Disney, NBC Universal, Viacom CBS and the NBA. It’s currently home to 265 million daily active users and continues to push boundaries and drive interest with its in-app augmented reality (AR) features, a growing audience base and increasingly efficient CPMs make it a legitimate alternative advertising channel for businesses looking to capitalize on the growing spending power of Generation Z.
Snapchat’s number of daily active users has steadily been on the rise over the last few years. According to Snapchat, its daily active users jumping from 218 million in 2019 to 265 milling in 2020. In the last quarter of 2020, the company’s data showed more than 90% of the Gen Z population had viewed content on the app. Even if brands are not currently targeting Gen Z’s, it’s important to consider that this generation, spanning 7 to 22 years old, now has a spending power of $143 billion and represents our customers of tomorrow.
To capitalize on its growing audience, Snapchat is consistently launching new features in an effort to make it a stronger advertising, marketing and sales platform. Media buyers say spending on Snapchat has increased roughly 10% year-over-year, with the platform accounting for anywhere between 10% to 25% of media budgets now.
This year, Snapchat launched an Augmented Reality Lens, which allows brands to equip their snaps with animations and interactive triggers, making the ads more engaging and ultimately more likely to recall. They also launched Story Ads – ephemeral advertisements designed to show up in the app’s Discover feed. These ads are designed to play on consumers’ fear of missing out (or FOMO for short). And with audience targeting, the Discover feed is curated to target a specific audience in a way that resonates with them. Snapchat has also forged larger partnerships with brands like Ralph Lauren, the New York Times and NYC Professional Makeup to launch advertising that is targeted for their markets.
So, what advertising options exist? Let’s take a look.
Brands have the ability to attach their website to a Snapchat ad. When the ad appears, users can swipe up on the CTA and visit the advertiser’s website and make a purchase. All without leaving the app.
Businesses can promote an article or blog from the website using this ad format. This ad feature provides the opportunity to include text, auto-play videos and GIF’s directly within the ad. These ads appear within the Snapchat discover section of the app.
Looking to generate more app downloads? This ad format will help with this goal by providing a CTA while your ad plays. Best of all, users don’t have to leave the app to install your app, so their experience isn’t disrupted.
With long-form video on the rise, this ad format is the perfect solution for telling a compelling story. The ad will play for 10 seconds and then display a CTA to encourage users to visit the brand’s website to view the entire video.
Use geotargeting to have your ad appear based on your audience’s specific location. This ad format really comes to life at live events like concerts and festivals, high traffic venues like airports and within physical retail stores, where a little reattainment can generate big returns for brands.
This ad format is probably one of the most common. These interactive lenses can alter a user’s face and be personalized to promote a brand or campaign. Snapchat allows businesses to promote their brands using some of the most interactive and engaging ad formats on digital channels. Because Snapchat’s ads are seamlessly integrated into its organic content, businesses can interact with users in a way that feels very much like a regular Snapchat experience.
How do brands do it right? Here are some best practices for advertisers on Snapchat.
Make sure the ad format makes sense for your goals.
As we outlined above, Snapchat offers many ad formats to help you achieve your business’s goals. Ensure you’re clear on what you’re looking to achieve and select the ad format that best matches that goal.
Capture attention quickly.
Remember that the Snapchat platform is designed to move quickly. Ensure that your product is front and centre and is included with the opening frame of the image or video within your ad.
Make your ads feel like they belong.
Snapchat has a unique look and feel. Content is bite-sized and linear, and your ads should be the same. Ads should not be longer than 5 or 6 seconds. By mimicking the platform’s organic feel, you’re less likely to make users feel like they’re viewing intrusive content. It’s also important to note that UGC content typically gets viewed longer than longer, more polished ads.
Keep your messaging simple.
With only 5 or 6 seconds to deliver a message, it’s important to make it simple and easy to understand. The message should appear within the first 2 seconds of the ad.
Utilize sound whenever possible.
Unlike other social platforms, 64% of Snapchat content is viewed with the noise on. Layer sound into your ad to make it more immersive and feel more like a typical piece of Snapchat content. With a large audience, a diverse mix of ad formats and the opportunity for advertisers to organically integrate into the platform, Snapchat is a fantastic option for advertisers looking to diversify.
Interested in getting reacquainted with Snapchat and the new generation using it? Get in touch today.