Redback Solutions

Since it’s launch in 2011, Snapchat has been a game-changer for social media. The popularity of other platforms like Facebook and Instagram made advertisers a little sceptical of Snapchat’s potential at first, but don’t let this hesitation fool you.

Over 210 million people use Snapchat every day, spending more than half an hour browsing through its content. Still not convinced? With global Snapchat usage expected to grow more than 14% this year, this isn’t an advertising platform you should be quick to ignore – especially if you’re targeting 18-24-year-olds.

When it comes to designing your campaign creatives, know that video is the driving format on Snapchat (with over 18 billion daily video views!). In other words, using video ads on Snapchat is the natural way to go!

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Snapchat video ads. We’ll even share some of our expert tips and tricks we’ve picked up over the years.

Click on the links above to jump to a specific section or continue reading for more info!

Snapchat icons

Why Snapchat video ads?

The success of Snapchat’s core features like stories, real-time engagement and geo-filters has led to other mega-platforms like Facebook and Instagram following suit.

So if you’re advertising on Facebook and Instagram Stories, why not try out the social channel where this format originally started?

Without further adieu, let us list the reasons why you should consider Snapchat video ads!

  1. Active user base

    Snapchatters spend roughly half an hour a day on the platform. This gives you an opportunity to reach a wide audience, multiple times a day.

  2. Young audiences
  3. Strong levels of viewer engagement

    A study commissioned by Snapchat found that Snapchat ads are more effective than other social media ads in a number of ways:

    Persuasion: Snap Ads have over two times more lift in purchase intent

    Attention: Snap Ads receive up to twice as much visual attention than most other social media ads

    Engagement: Snap Ads’ swipe rate (how often users check out your website, video or app) is five times higher than the average clickthrough rate of other social media ads

    Sound: while most audiences on other social channels prefer to consume videos without audio, over 60% of Snap Ads are played with audio on

How much do Snapchat video ads cost?

At first, Snapchat advertising was pretty costly and only available through Snapchat’s sales team. Brand’s couldn’t advertise unless they were spending a minimum of $1,000 per day and there were only limited choices for ad formats.

But thanks to the self-serve Snapchat ads manager that launched in 2017, businesses of all shapes and sizes can now advertise on Snapchat with a minimum daily spend of only $5.

How much you spend on ads can fluctuate depending on a number of factors such as your objective, budget, duration of the campaign, bid goal and bid amount. We’ll discuss bidding options in more detail below.

Snapchat video ads: best practices

Snapchat’s Ad Manager has a video creation tool, making it easier than ever to create engaging vertical videos with fun Snapchat features!

Here’s some things to keep in mind when you’re creating your video ad campaign:

  1. Consider your audience

    The majority of Snapchat’s user-base is under the age of 30, so make sure your messaging and content appeals to this demographic.



  2. Make fun, shareable content

    Get creative and embrace Snapchat’s fun vibe! Engage your audience with filters, lenses and tags. Talking directly to camera will make your content seem so much more personable and authentic.


  3. Keep it short and simple

    While 10-second ads might seem too short, Snapchat recommends creating 3-5 second videos for ultimate engagement. Establish a call to action around the 2-second mark and reinforce it with a voiceover to encourage users to swipe up.

  4. Add sound

    What?! If you’ve read any other of our video ad blogs, you’ll know that most social media users prefer to consume videos with the sound off. But not Snapchatters! So make sure you’ve got a good soundtrack or voiceover on your video.

  5. Embrace vertical content

    When shooting for Snapchat video ads, plan for vertical. A serious benefit for smaller businesses, this means you can shoot directly on your phone (talk about cost-effective production!).

Snapchat video ad formats & specs

Before you start creating your Snapchat video ad, let’s take a look at the formats available and specs you’ll need to adhere to. Snapchat has three video ad formats to choose from:

  • Snap Ads
  • Collection Ads
  • Story Ads

How do you pick the right ad format for your campaign? The best thing to do is consider which one best aligns with your goals. If you want to increase brand awareness, Snap Ads and Story Ads are your best bet, while Collection Ads are better suited to driving sales.

Snap Ads

Boost awareness and conversions with Snap Ads

Snap Ads are the O.G. format launched by Snapchat. These full-screen video ads are shown in between stories for a maximum of 10 seconds.

There are several different sub-types of Snap Ads:

Top Snap Ads display a single video (or other piece of content) at the top of users’ feeds. This format is ideal for driving brand awareness, promoting events and generating sales.

Web View Ads work the same as Top Snap Ads, with the added bonus of a swipeable call-to-action. When the user swipes up on the ad, they’re instantly directed to your website (without having to open a browser), where they can learn more about your offer.

App Install Ads work in a similar way to Top Snap Ads, but include a “swipe up” feature that takes users directly to your page on the App Store or Google Play Store. Users don’t have to exit Snapchat, navigate to the app store, search for your app and download it – it automatically does this in the background.

Long Form Video Ads allow you to showcase longer media like trailers, behind-the-scenes footage, how-to’s and short films. Viewers will watch a 10-second clip and swipe up to view the entire video, up to 1GB in size.



Full Screen Canvas:
1080px x 1920px
9:16 aspect ratio

3 to 180 seconds

File Format:
.mp4 or .mov and H.264 encoded

File Size:
1 GB or less


  • Must utilise 2 channels (left and right) in a balanced way throughout
  • Audio target level should be- 16 LUFS
  • PCM or AAC codec
  • 192 minimum kbps
  • 16 or 24 bit only

Collection Ads

Encourage purchases with Collection Ads

Collection Ads are formatted like product catalogues, allowing you to showcase up to 4 products at a time. Like Snap Ads, they’re placed in between stories and allow viewers to purchase products at the touch of a button.

Retailers have seen 4.1 to 17 times higher engagement with Collection Ads than standard Snap Ads!



Video specs:

  • 1080px x 1920px
  • 9:16 aspect ratio
  • 3-5 seconds length
  • .mp4 or .mov and H.264 encoded format
  • 1 GB or less file size

Thumbnail specs:

  • .jpg or .png file format
  • 4 square images only
  • 2MB or less file size for each imahe
  • 160px x 160px size or equivalent


Story Ads

Build brand awareness with Story Ads

Also known as Discover Ads, Story Ads allow advertisers to reach audiences with a sponsored tile in the Discover feed. Users can tap on the tile and view a collection of 3-20 snaps.

The ad is positioned alongside other popular content tailored to the user’s preferences.




  • 993 px wide x 284 px high
  • .png file format
  • transparent background

The logo should be formatted to fit the full height of the canvas or the full width of the canvas and 50% or more of the height.


  • 1 image
  • 360 px x 600 px
  • up to 2 MB
  • .png file

You need to account for a 175 px ‘buffer zone’ at the top of the image.


  • Up to 55 characters (including spaces)
  • Tile image needs an 8-bit or lower bit depth
  • Emojis are allowed, but these count towards the character limit


The video component can be made up of 3-20 ‘chapterised’ videos, provided as separate files. Each video must adhere to the following:

  • 10-180 seconds
  • 1080px x 1920px
  • 9:16 aspect ratio
  • .mp4 or .mov and H.264 encoded format
  • 1 GB or less file size

Worth a special mention: Sponsored AR Lenses, Filters and Geofilters

Yeah we know, AR Lenses and Filters aren’t technically video ads but we think they deserve a mention in any Snapchat advertising article.

AR Lenses and Filters are used by Snapchatters to make fun modifications to their face or surroundings. By creating branded lenses and filters, advertisers can insert themselves directly into Snapchatters’ conversations!

AR Lenses and Filters are much more expensive than other options (both to create and advertise) but, if you have the budget, they’re well worth it. Filters are used by more than one-third of Snapchatters daily and Geofilters are used at least 2.16 billion times a day.

Targeting options

With Snapchat video ads, you can target audiences based on:

  • Interests and behaviours – both online and offline
  • Location – country, metros, radiuses around a specific address and more
  • Demographics – age, gender, language and more

Custom audiences

The standard targeting options are great for narrowing down your audience pool but if you really want to see some results, custom audiences are the way to go. In Australia, there are six different custom audiences available.

  1. Snap Audience Match (SAM)

    With SAM Audiences, you can easily upload your customer lists, get insights such as the number of matched Snapchat Users, edit audiences and create Lookalikes.


  2. Lookalike Audiences

    A ‘lookalike’ audience of Snapchatters contains users who are likely to be interested in your brand, because people with similar interests already are. You can also choose the audience size and a select country.

    You can only create a Lookalike Audience if you have already uploaded a SAM, Pixel or Third-Party Audience.

  3. Saved Audiences

    Saved Audiences allow you to segment your audience into specific groups and apply them to your Ad Set when creating a new Campaign.

    For example, if you’re a fashion brand that sells both men’s and women’s apparel but you’re having a sale on bikini’s, there’s not much point showing the ad to your male customers.

    With Saved Audiences, you can specifically target female customers that have previously visited your website (who are much more likely to convert!).

  4. Pixel Custom Audiences

    The Snap Pixel is a piece of code that you can add to your website, which allows you to specifically target Snapchatters who have previously engaged with your brand. This data is retained for 30 days by default, so you can target audiences while your brand is still fresh in their mind and they’re in the buying mood.


  5. Self-Serve Mobile App Custom Audiences

    If you have a mobile app, this targeting option is for you! You can create audiences based on their interaction with in-app events. Adding multiple events will increase the size of your audience.

    To use Self-Serve Mobile App Audiences, you must first create a Snap App ID and connect it to your Ads Manager account.


  6. Ad Engagement Audiences

    With Ad Engagement Audiences, you can target users who have taken a specific action with your previous ads.

    For example, users who have watched your previous ad to completion will be much more likely to engage with your next ad campaign than people who have swiped past your ad.

Bidding options

Like other social media advertising platforms, Snapchat operates on an auction bidding system. The highest bidder doesn’t always take the cake – Snapchat awards the winner based on the quality and relevance of the content.

Snapchat uses goal-based bidding, meaning that you’re bidding on target metrics like Impressions, Video Views, Swipe Ups, or App Installs. Once you’ve selected your goal, Snapchat aims to deliver the highest performance at the lowest cost, but you will be billed based on impressions.

Here are the bidding strategies available for Snapchat video ads:

Auto bidding

Auto bidding is the default selection, which allows Snapchat to set the bid on your behalf to get the most goal actions for your target audience based on your budget.

However, Snapchat may be unable to spend your whole budget, depending on things like interaction rate, current auction dynamics, target audience size.

Target cost

With this bidding strategy, Snapchat will keep your average CPA at or below the amount you set for the duration of the campaign.

Target cost is only available for Swipes, App Install events, Long Form Video Views, Shares, Pixel events, and Story Opens.

If your target cost is too low, Snapchat won’t be able to spend your entire budget.

Max bid

This bidding strategy allows you to set a maximum amount you’re willing to spend and Snapchat will not spend higher than this amount. Instead, Snapchat optimises your campaign to achieve the most efficient CPA possible.

When you select your bid amount, a suggested bid range will appear to give you a reference point for your bid. To give your ad the best chance to spend throughout it’s budget, we recommend bidding on the higher end of the scale. If your max bid amount is too low, you may not be able to spend your budget in full.

This bidding strategy is only available for Swipes, App Install events, Long Form Video Views, Shares, Pixel events, and Story Opens.

Suggested bid

When you set up your campaign, a suggested bid will appear under the ‘Bid & Goal’ field. This is a recommended range based on average platform performance, current auction dynamics and targeted audience.

While the suggested bid is designed to help you bid more effectively, there’s no guarantee that your campaign will deliver in full.

How to analyse video performance on Snapchat

When you log into Ads Manager, the dashboard will display your overall and individual campaign ad metrics. You can really get into the nitty-gritty, analysing metrics at the campaign level, ad set or individual ad.

The most common metrics you’ll see are:

Spend: the total amount spent on the campaign to date
Impressions: the total number of times your ad was viewed
eCPM: average cost per thousand impressions

The metrics shown will vary, depending on the goals of your campaign. Snapchat has a whole glossary dedicated to video metrics, but the key metrics you’ll need to know are:

Completions: number of Snaps watched to 97% of their duration
Average Screen Time: how long people spend watching your ad across all impressions
eCPV (effective cost per video view): the average cost per video view (a view is counted after the user has watched two seconds or swiped up – whichever comes first)
Swipe Ups: number of times people swiped up to view your attachment
Swipe Up Rate: average number of swipes per impression (as a percentage)
eCPSU: effective cost per swipe up

Snapchat video ads in 2021

We’re conducting an experiment of our own to see just how effective Snapchat video ads are. We’re pitting the formats against each other AND comparing video ad formats across all the major social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, even Tinder!

Stay tuned for updates.

Check out some of our favourite Snapchat video ads

So you want to get started with Snapchat video ads, but don’t know where to start. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite Snapchat video ads of all time to help get your creative juices flowing!

You can also check out Snapchat’s inspo board for some more examples.

e.l.f Cosmetics

Snapchat’s young audience is perfect for American cosmetic brand, e.l.f. They took to Snapchat for an engaging brand awareness campaign:

Running for only 6-seconds, this short and snappy ad gives users a glimpse at e.l.f’s wide product range, sparking interest and desire. Making use of the popular term ‘extra’ makes the ad even more appealing and relatable to its young audience. The ad boosted website traffic, resulting in a 20% increase of site visitors.

Ralph Lauren

American fashion company, Ralph Lauren shows how effective a combination of Snap Ads and Sponsored AR Lenses can be:

Ralph Lauren created a runner game with an AR twist, showcasing its brand and products directly inside the Snapchat Camera. They also ran Snap Video Ads to further promote the game.

In parallel to the game, they also ran Collection Ads to help boost traffic and sales. The campaign resulted in a 7.3 point lift in ad awareness and a whopping 19% increase in website sales.


Self-proclaimed “global destination for authentic sneakers”, GOAT took to Snapchat to encourage app downloads:

The refreshingly simple ad takes an image of one of their sneakers and animates it with floating movements and a fade-in call to action. It seamlessly directs users to the app store to download the GOAT app and ultimately make a purchase.

GOAT also implemented the Snap Pixel to continue growing their customer base and refine their strategy over time. This campaign resulted in a 26% decrease in cost per acquisition.


Get started with Snapchat video ads today!

By now, you should have all the tools in your belt to get started on your first Snapchat video ad campaign. Of course, if you prefer a savvy digital agency to handle your Snapchat video ads strategy, we’d be happy to help!

We’ll edit and optimise your videos for Snapchat and can even create branded filters. Our advertising gurus can specifically target your audience, putting the right creative in front of the right people. We’ll continue monitoring your campaigns, always aiming for bigger and better results.

If you want to find out more about Snapchat video ads, give Redback a call today!

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