How to Master Advanced Targeting on Snapchat

Snapchat is the fastest growing social network. Not only does it currently reach 41% of all 18 to to 34 year-olds in the U.S., but it’s poised to hit 217 million users by the end of 2017. While the app’s unique in-the-moment photo sharing and editing capabilities have shown proven success, over the last two years advertisers have started to question Snapchat’s targeting and measurement capabilities. In fact, Snap Ads offer fewer analytics and targeting options than Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Recently this has changed as the company has begun to implement more advanced targeting.  And with the recent 2017 IPO, there’s no doubt further advertising efforts are in the works.

With this combination of explosive growth and new features you could be taking of the Snapchat opportunity.  If you’re wondering whether Snap Ads are the next big step for your business, then read on to learn the benefits of advertising on Snapchat and how to make full use the platform’s advanced targeting capabilities.

Snap ads
Snap ads deliver higher emotional response and purchase lift than Facebook and Instagram.

Why should you use Snap Ads?

The answer’s easy since the numbers say it all:

Snapchat users spend an average of 30 minutes a day in the app. What’s more mobile video views have grown four times in the past year to 10 billion videos per day.

Snapchat’s full-screen 10 second ads outperform competitors. According to MediaScience research, Snapchat ads receive more visual attention than Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube.

In the study, Snapchat commanded over twice the visual attention of Facebook, over 1.5 times the visual attention of Instagram and 1.3 times the visual attention of YouTube. Snapchat video ads also delivered higher emotional response than Facebook and Instagram and showed over two times the lift in purchase intent compared to the other formats.

Snap ads
Get started in the right direction with Snapchat’s advanced targeting options.

Ready to get started? Here are some tips that’ll help you master Snapchat’s advanced targeting options.

Snap Audience Match

Snap Audience Match allows advertisers to match their email lists and mobile device IDs to Snapchat’s own pool of data for targeted ad delivery.

Tip: Choose your Discover channel wisely.
The majority of Snapchat users are millennials. In fact, 77% of college students use Snapchat daily. That means you need to think not only about making ads that appeal to the generation’s values and trends, but also how to put them in the right channel that appeals to those interests.

For example, BMW recently promoted its all-electric BMW in CNN’s Snapchat Discover. The publication aims to reach millennials by covering cultural trends, social issues, travel, and college life. BMW placed the ad in CNN’s channel in order to reach those interested in current issues such as environment and the politics of sustainability.

Tip: Switch between front and rear cameras while filming.
Snapchat users are extra sensitive to ads, given that they’re full screen and the platform was previously ad-free. By switching between front and rear cameras, your ads will appear native. Plan to make native content and creative a priority when crafting Snap ads.

Snap ads
Target new customers with similar behavioral profiles as your existing customers.


Lookalikes allow advertisers to create and target new users that share similar demographic and behavioral profiles with their database.

Tip: Take advantage of the swipe-up feature on Snap Ads.
Brands can invite users to swipe their Snap Ads to see more. They can see a longer video, an article, a game, an invitation to download an app or visit a website. Snapchat’s swipe-up rate is 5x higher than the average CTR on other social platforms. Lookalikes works to target new users so if you’re want to expand your campaign’s reach, you’ll want to use this feature to the fullest extent.

Tip: Offer exclusive promo codes.
58% of college students are likely to buy a brand’s product or service if they receive coupons. Encourage users to swipe-up to find exclusive promo codes.

Snap ads
Reach specific segments of customers based on their interests.

Snapchat Lifestyle Categories

Lifestyle categories allow advertisers to reach specific segments of users based on interest categories like gaming, music, technology, and sports.

Tip: Partner with influencers.
Dive deeper into lifestyle categories and reach users with similar interests through influencer marketing. Influencers can share a behind-the scenes look at products or offer special promotions. And you can even work with them to set up a Snapchat takeover.

Tip: Stay up to date with trending music.
Two-thirds of Snapchat users listen to videos with the sound on. Find out what your target audience listens to and what sounds resonate best with them. This will allow you to better personalize your ads and induce the right emotion.

Snap Engagement Audiences

Snap Engagement Audiences is a recently added retargeting option that lets advertisers send follow-up ads to people who previously interacted with one of their ads. You can’t retarget someone if they simply watched an ad – the person has to use a Sponsored Lens, Sponsored Geofilter or swipe up on an ad to see more. This option is highly effective because it builds on users’ already demonstrated interest.

Tip: Use sequential ads to move leads down the funnel.
Don’t simply follow up with a new ad. Create sequential campaigns to drive users to purchase. Say you run a small coffee brewing business and you’re looking to promote your new pop-up shop. You could run a Sponsored Geofilter in the surrounding area to let the community know you’re popping-up soon. Then on opening day, you target the people who used the Geofilter with a Snap Ad that they can swipe up on to receive a coupon.

Tip: Exclude a group from seeing a new ad.
Once a Snap Engagement Audience group is created, you can either retarget them or opt to exclude them from future campaigns. To avoid making people annoyed or spending money on an audience you’ve already won over, you could use that group to create a lookalike audience of people who are likely to interact with a new ad.

Do you have any tips for using Snapchat’s advanced targeting options? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.


Note: This post was originally published in March 2017 and has been updated for accuracy. 


Published on May 17, 2017

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