Reaching a New Generation: How to Advertise on Snapchat

What IS Snapchat?

Snapchat was created in October 2012 by a camera company called Snap Inc. It is a mobile social media application by which one can share pictures (or “snaps”) with friends and they disappear completely after a few seconds. By February 2013, the company exploded in popularity, reaching a net worth of $60 million dollars. Other features were added such as a chat and “My Snapchat Story”, where photos could be added to a personal album continuously and be available for friend’s perusal for 24 hours.

According to the MRI Survey of the American Consumer in 2015, Snapchat reaches roughly 41% of 18-34 year olds every day in the United States alone.

While it seems quite different from most social media systems (Facebook, Instagram), many have taken to advertise on this platform, proving to be effective especially when targeting the millennial age group.

Many corporations, such as Kraft and Gatorade, have partnered with Snapchat over the past couple of years using Sponsored Lenses. Lenses on Snapchat are essentially masks or features used to change or warp the face detected on the front-facing camera of the phone. These are known to change everyday, with some projecting a brand or company.



Other mainstream forms of reach on Snapchat are by way of the Featured section, also called SnapAds. These are “Stories” (a series of videos and photos) from any given industry (magazines, sports, news) viewable to any Snapchat user for 24 hours. It behaves as an interactive, skippable, and easily digestible commercial.

These are said to generate 5x more leads than any pay-for-click on any regular social media network!

So, how do small and little-known companies get started?

First, go to and create an account. Then, decide which direction you’d like to go.

User Snapchat

This is the simplest way to dip your feet into Snapchat and become familiar with it if you haven’t already. Your company’s username should be explicitly the name of your business. For example, GrowIT Media would be “growitmedia” and so forth. Use Facebook to add users that would want to get in on promos. Inform everyone coming into your physical location (if you have one) or on your website to add you on Snapchat. This can be done by creating a cardboard cutout of your profile picture (categorized by the yellow square and your “ghost” photo in the middle) where others can “scan” it on their app to subscribe. From here, record stories of the latest happenings, promotions, sales, or events. If you use the app to scan this image of the White House, you can follow them on Snapchat. Simply turn on the camera feature, and hold your finger down over the image until the user prompt appears to add them.  


Geofilters are great for events and other local promotions on Snapchat. Using GPS, a filter, usually with a caption, can be created for any geographical location. This can be specially catered for small businesses –  design your filter, select type (On-Demand), and select a region. Similar to geo-fencing, this region can be as small or as little as desired. When a Snapchat user enters this selected area, it will appear on their scroll of available filters. This can drive customers to you if they are nearby.

Snap Ads

As previously explained, these are commercials that appear between friends stories on any given feed. Snapchat has a 10 second time limit, but with Expandable Snap Ads these can be up to 20 seconds in length with a link to download an app or visit a website.

Snap lenses, Discover Channels, and Live Channels are for more designed for select mainstream businesses and media brands. It is no wonder – a live channel starts at $100K. Discover Channels are a bit like brief television stations – Daily Mail, ESPN, Comedy Central, and Cosmopolitan to name a few.

While Snapchat can be overlooked due to being a mobile platform only – this is where the world is headed. Mobilization is an important transition for any business wanting to expand their customer demographics and create repeat business.