Snapchat Ads Vs. TikTok Ads: Which Is Better For eCommerce Advertising?!

Mar 29, 2021

Over the last few years, I’ve been working with Snapchat (and now in the last year, TikTok ads)  as a freelancer for my clients including Kitsch, Our Place, Thrive Market, BlendJet, and Sugarbear Hair. I’ve watched the Snapchat Ad platform expand and grow, offering new opportunities for the brands that I work with, and I’ve learned a lot from that experience. 

In the short time that TikTok has been around for ads, I have been able to establish myself as an industry leader for TikTok ads due to the success that my clients have seen on the platform. I’m so proud to have two published TikTik For Business cases studies that you can see here and here, as well as to be featured on the TikTok For Business social pages.  

I also have an official Snapchat For Business case study about my work published here

In the last six months, TikTok has established it’s ad platform as the new big player in the game. Both Snapchat and TikTok have their advantages (and some disadvantages) and I’m here to share the current landscape of both platforms.

Two common questions I get frequently are: which one is better to start with and which is getting lower CPAs?

Getting Started 

In my experience onboarding clients that are new to either platform, I’ve found that Snapchat has a significantly lower barrier to entry both logistically and monetarily. Creating a self-service account can be set up in minutes, from setting up payment methods to ensuring the pixel is firing. Plus, navigating the ads manager is pretty straight-forward.

Then, you can start uploading and testing creative from your existing Facebook/Instagram campaigns. You don’t necessarily need to start with Snapchat creatives so that eliminates a time-consuming step if you already have assets built for other campaigns. 

You don’t need crazy budgets to see results, either. Most of the time you can start with minimal spend and broad audience targeting, as long as you have a product-market fit. 

Another advantage of Snapchat is that I have a special coupon to offer new Snapchat advertisers to spend $2k get $2k, so take advantage of that activation now! To register:

On the flip side, TikTok ad account set up is a lengthier process. Getting an agency-supported account created can take a few days. TikTok doesn’t currently support credit card payment methods, either. It can take a few days to a credit line set up for TikTok ads. Granted, their ad platform is newer than its competitors so, it’s only a matter of time before that changes. 


Currently, Snapchat has a variety of ad placements such as Video Story ads (what appears when tapping through friends’ stories), Discover Feed ads (clickable opt-in tiles from the discover page), AR Lenses, Dynamic Product and Collection ads. 



The placement variety on Snapchat offers advertisers multiple ways to reach their customers, with Discover Feed ads being one of the biggest opportunities because it’s entirely opt-in meaning, the Snapchat user has to want to engage with the ad. Overall, we see higher conversion rates on this type of creative. 

TikTok’s ad platform currently does not offer the same variety of placements to all advertisers. Most brands are limited to in-feed ads or branded hashtag challenges. 



As mentioned above, Snapchat creative doesn’t necessarily need to be Snapchat-specific however, you’ll probably see better results by following Snapchat’s Creative Golden Rules. You can watch my video about Snapchat and TikTok creative tips here

In the meantime, you can still use your short-form Facebook/IG stories creatives on Snapchat and test their performance.

On the TikTok side, ad creatives from other platforms simply doesn’t work. In order to resonate any messaging with your audience and avoid them swiping away to the next video on their For You Page, you have to take the native TikTok video approach. I have a few resources available to those wishing to learn more about how to create great TikTok ads. Check out this video, and this video

At The Social Savannah, creating content for TikTok is my bread and butter. My resident TikTok expert, Natalie, conceptualizes and creates content weekly for my clients as well as creatively directs outsourced creators within our network. The success we’ve seen on TikTok thus far is all due in part to our creative approach on this new ad platform. To learn more about my creative services, click here

snapchat vs tiktok ads

Above are two ad examples for one of my clients, BlendJet. The TikTok ad on the left is organic and filmed on iPhone, showing a genuine storytelling experience which is something you would see natively on the platform through TikTok’s For You Page. The goal on TikTok is to “blend in” but still provide value to viewers. On the other hand, the Snapchat ad on the right is eye-catching, concise, and shows a clear CTA in under 6 seconds. The Snapchat ad would likely flop on TikTok however, the TikTok ad is worth testing on Snapchat. TikTok content is engaging on any platform. 

Currently, the placements for TikTok videos are limited to in-feed placements, meaning the viewers will see interrupting ads as they swipe through their curated For You Page. If you want them to stick around and watch your video, make sure to use TikTok trends, native elements like text and gif stickers, and audio. This process is more time consuming and strategic. 

TikTok also has a unique opportunity to work with creators and boost posts through their personal account rather than through the brand account. While we see much higher CTRs on this type of placement, it is more time consuming to execute on. If you’re interested in launching a campaign like this, check out my FREE guide to working with TikTok content creators here


Both Snapchat and TikTok are great for prospecting campaigns but, Snapchat has much better retargeting abilities. Granted, this may change with iOS 14 rolling out. Currently, TikTok does not have the ability to retarget from pixel events so, you’d have to upload customer lists. I expect this to change as the ad platform grows!


Ah, the A-word. If you don’t already know this, TikTok’s attribution model is limited to same-session events meaning that, someone must view the ad, click through, and purchase from within TikTok’s browser in order for a purchase conversion to be tracked within the TikTok ad dashboard.

Currently, it’s much more difficult to track the customer journey from TikTok, especially with a high AOV product because of the same-session attribution model. One recommendation I give to all my clients is installing a post-purchase survey called Enquire from the Shopify App Store and also including TikTok-specific promo codes in your ad creatives.

TikTok is currently unrolling new attribution abilities such as Advanced Matching through Shopify and soon, all advertisers should be able to view purchase value ROAS in the TikTok dashboard. 

The Snapchat dashboard has a much more robust attribution dashboard, and you are able to customize reports based on different conversion windows such as 28 day view, 7 day swipe up, etc. 

Scaling and Costs

After analyzing a side-by-side comparison from Google Analytics with similar ad spends, I’m currently seeing that prospecting CPAs are lower on TikTok meaning that with the same budget, our cost per purchase is lower on TikTok a prospecting level vs. Snapchat. Not only that, the CPMs are also lower on TikTok because competition is much less than ad competition on Snapchat. 

There are opportunities for scale on both Snapchat and TikTok but ultimately it comes down to your creative testing strategies. Good creative can make an ad account go from good to great and truthfully you won’t know what creative works until you try it! Make a plan to build strong creative and you’re sure to scale successfully. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, I see favorable results from both platforms but, I am more excited about advertising on TikTok and growing with the ad platform. But, if you don’t have the capacity to build TikTok creative, work with and invest in creator relationships, or have big budgets to scale, start with Snapchat.

Get FREE Credits!

Want to get started with Snapchat ads? I’ve partnered with Snapchat to provide advertisers with a $2k credit when you spend your first $2k on the platform. To register:

If you missed out on my $2.3k TikTok free ad spend offer back in February, I’m sorry! That offer is now expired. But if you are interested in TikTok ads, get in touch and I can see what offers are currently available. 

Need a Hand With Your Digital Advertising?

I work with all types of e-commerce businesses to help them expand their brand by the way of Snapchat, TikTok, Facebook and Google ads.

If you want to work together on your digital ad strategy or if you have any questions or feedback for me, contact me here!