Snapchat Ads: 11 Key Takeaways After Spending $1M for eCommerce Brands in 2020.

Jul 30, 2020

There’s no other platform that gets me more excited to talk about than Snapchat! As a Snapchat ad freelancer, I have gained a lot of experience with Snapchat advertising for e-commerce brands including Our Place, Peel, Doe Lashes and many more.

I’ve been working with the Snapchat ads for the last two years and have watched it grow into the high-performing platform it is today. Before I became a freelancer in early 2020, I worked at a large advertising agency where I started the Snapchat media buying department. I oversaw the Snapchat media buying strategy for dozens of accounts ranging from $15K-$100K+ in monthly Snapchat ad spend. I’m excited to share in this article some of the key takeaways I’ve learned from spending over $1,000,000 in total ad spend for my clients on Snapchat this year.


I spoke at Snapchat HQ about my client success in January 2020

Because of my awesome relationship with Snapchat, I have become a Snapchat ambassador… which means I can give away $1000 in free ad credit to new advertisers. Make sure to claim your credit by clicking here

Snapchat ads are not only fun and interesting, but they also produce much more stable results than Facebook ads in my experience. Many of my clients are fed up with the constant rollercoaster of returns they see on Facebook. They are pleasantly surprised when they see that Snapchat ads don’t experience those same drastic ups and downs in performance. 

If you have the right product market fit for Snapchat, the platform can be extremely successful for your brand. My clients that are targeting the 13-24 female demographic on Snapchat are seeing the best results and are able to scale the most. 

Now, let’s get into Snapchat’s target audience and the products that they’re users are buying.

Who Is Snapchat’s Audience?

Snapchat is literally the most used camera in the world. That means that on average, more pictures are taken on Snapchat for visual communication than all other smartphone cameras and digital cameras combined.


On average, 218 million users are active on Snapchat every day. You read that correctly, 218,000,000 people use Snapchat every day.


How much time are they spending on Snapchat? Well, more than a few minutes for sure. On average, those 218 million users spend 30 mins per day on Snapchat and open the Snapchat camera 30 times per day.


Snapchat usage is booming, to say the least.

Now, let’s get down to brass tacks.

Who are these mysterious users? Snapchat is a dominant player in the 13-34 age group where they reach 75% of the US population. That’s 4M more than Instagram, and 1M more than Facebook. If you narrow this age range to just Gen Z, Snapchat reaches 90% of 13-24 year olds everyday in the United States That means that Snapchat reaches more 13-24 year olds than Facebook, Instagram and Messenger COMBINED.


One of the particularly valuable things about Snapchat is that a lot of the users are unique to Snapchat, and aren’t using Facebook and Instagram. There’s some overlap for sure, but overall there’s a large audience that exclusively uses Snapchat. 

That means that Snapchat ads will allow you to connect with an audience that may be untapped by you and your competitors. This is especially important for advertisers who are reaching the point of ad fatigue and market saturation on Facebook. Many of my clients who come to me specifically for Snapchat media buying are spending $150K+ on Facebook ads and have reached their limit to scale. Snapchat is a great platform for them because it opens up an entirely new audience for them to advertise to. Not to mention that the CPM’s on Snapchat are literally 1/10th the price of Facebook (with the same ROAS!). 


I mentioned the 13-24 year old age range being Snapchat’s top demographic, so maybe you’re wondering if you should use Snapchat if your target audience is 25 or older. The honest answer is… maybe!

One of my clients makes maternity clothing, and Snapchat has been their most successful ad channel in terms of ROAS. That’s an indicator of how the 25-35 year old age range can be profitable on Snapchat.

Some of my clients have seen great conversion rates (but less ability to scale) with the 25-35 year old age range on Snapchat. So while you may have great success with any age group on Snapchat, it’s important to remember that the most successful age group that I’ve seen for my clients is 13-24. That's the age group that’ll really make you see a return on your investment and ad spend.

Something else to address...there are people who are suspicious about the buying power of Gen Z. You may be wondering if 13-24 year olds have any money to spend on products they see advertised to them. The answer is a resounding “absolutely!” Especially with the 13-18 year old age target audience, there is a massive opportunity to scale profitably. In fact, it’s often the top performing age group for my clients.



Why are parents letting their teenagers have access to their credit cards? I don’t know, but in this day and age it’s undeniable that teenagers have a lot of buying power and are making their purchase decisions based off of social media advertising.

What Kind of Products Do Snapchat Users Like?

When you think about it, the interests of the target audience of ages 13-24 are actually pretty diverse. What products do people in that age range like? 

My clients that have products in these industries are particularly performing well on Snapchat: cosmetics, apparel, accessories of all sorts. Typically, products with a lower price point perform better on Snapchat. Snapchatters are known to be “impulse” buyers and cheaper products typically are more impulse purchases. 


FabFitFun often uses discounts in their Snapchat ads to attract impulse buyers

Key Performance Takeaways

I want to share some of my biggest takeaways from all of my Snapchat advertising experience. If you’re already advertising on Snapchat or looking to get started, here are some tips on how to improve performance…

1. Always Use Target Cost Bidding at Your Desired CPA (Cost per Acquisition) Goal

When you set up your Snapchat ads, you’ll see three different bidding strategies: automatic bidding, target cost and maximize bidding. I’ve tested all three of these bidding strategies and every time, I’ve gotten the most consistent results with target cost bidding.


Set your target cost at your CPA goal.

Let’s say I’m selling a $40 shirt, and I want a 2x return on ad spend. I’d set my target cost at $20 which is essentially telling Snapchat that I don’t want to pay more than $20 to acquire a customer. Snapchat will then look for users in my target audience that they think will convert for less than $20.

2. Broad Audiences Often Perform Best

I get asked about audience selection a lot. It may feel daunting to choose between a small target audience or a larger one. I almost always recommend a more broad audience.

To clarify on what I consider broad, an audience with at least 10 million people (e.g., females 18-24 in the US).


I typically see the best results with broad audiences.

If you have a very targeted, niche product, you can actually choose very specific interests. For example, with my client who sells maternity clothing, I can choose to target new moms, moms with toddlers, etc. What is nice about Snapchat compared to Facebook ads is that they aren’t riddled with privacy and data protection issues… which mean much better targeting options on Snapchat! Snapchat actually has a partnership with Visa which allows advertisers to target users based off of stores that Snapchat users have made purchases from. 

Extremely detailed targeting options on Snapchat!

Snapchat also offers awesome insights into who is purchasing from your Snapchat ads when you click “view insights” on the campaign. 


You can click “view insights” on the campaign to get breakdowns on who is purchasing on your ads.

3. Use 3–5 Ads per Set

If you’re wondering how many ads you should run at one time in an ad set, I’ve had the most success with 3-5 ads in a set.

It’s key to have creative variations in each targeted audience so Snapchat will have different variations to test in your audience, but you don’t want to have so many ads that it’ll overrun the algorithm and result in not a lot of significant spend on each variation.

4. Test Up to Up 5 Audiences at a Time

If you’re just starting out, it’s important to test some different audiences and find out what results in the most conversions for your product. Often, a broad audience will be very successful (e.g., females age 18-24), but it’s important to find out what’s best for your particular product.

5. You’ll Have to Get 50 Purchases on the Pixel to Optimize for Purchase

Snapchat doesn't know your target audience and who is most likely to purchase when you first start out. It learns when you get purchases on the pixel. It’s important to strive for 50 purchases so you can unlock the purchase conversion event which lets you optimize your ads for purchases rather than the swipe up goal.

Swipe Up optimization is essentially telling the Snapchat algorithm that you only care that people swipe up on your ads but don’t need them to purchase. The results you get will be exactly that. You will see tons of cheap swipe ups to your website, but very little conversions. This is where some advertisers give up on Snapchat entirely!

Once you are able to switch over your campaigns to optimize for purchases, that’s when your ROAS is going to improve significantly. Something that is great is that you can use my $1000 Snapchat Ad Coupon so that the learning phase is a bit less painful while you are trying to get your 50 purchases on the pixel. 


You have to get 50 purchases on Snapchat to be able to choose your goal as pixel purchase.

6. Keep Ads Short and Sweet

Although you can run video ads for up to 1 minute, I’ve found that keeping ads between 6-10 seconds has been best.

It can be challenging to tell your brand's story in 10 seconds, so the goal should be to create intrigue. Then they can learn all about your brand when they swipe up. Speaking of swiping up...

7. Always Feature the Swipe up CTA

It’s important to let your users know what you want them to do on the ad. Make sure you end your ad with a CTA (call to action), like the swipe up CTA end card.


8. Always Use Captions

If someone in your ad is talking, it’s crucial to have captions. People use Snapchat in all sorts of places, some of which don’t allow them to have sound on, and maybe they don't have their headphones in.

Captions let them know what the ad is all about even when their sound is off.

I would recommend adding captions to both endemic and polished ads

9. Get to the Point Quickly

Related to keeping the ads short and sweet, get to the point and the CTA quickly. The first three seconds are crucial. Ideally, within three seconds they should know what your product is and know the CTA.

10. Test Videos, Stills, Collection, Dynamic and Discover Ads

There are a lot of different ad types on Snapchat. While they’re all valuable, you’ll need to find what works best for your audience. Keep it varied and test out the different options. 

In my experience, typically video ads perform better than still images. However, I’ve seen varying performance from the different placements (regular story videos vs discover feed vs collection ads). 


It’s important to test all of the ad placements that Snapchat has to offer in order to find what works best for your brand.

11. Snapchatters Are Very Price Sensitive

Everyone likes a good deal, and Snapchatters are no exception.

I’ve found that Snapchat advertising is best for products under $30, but regardless of your price, you can offer incentives to sweeten the deal (10% off, $5 off for today only, etc.).


PuraVida Flash Sale Snapchat Ad

Ready to Get Started?

Now that we’ve covered why you should be advertising on Snapchat, you may be wondering how you can get started. I made a video that you can watch here where I walk through how to build Snapchat ads step by step.

If you have any questions, feedback, or to work with me on your Snapchat ad strategy feel free to contact me here. And make sure to claim your $1000 of free Snapchat ad spend! #snapambassador


Posing with my Snapchat swag!