The Complete Guide to Creating Effective Snap Ads with Snapchat Ad Manager

In the past, if you wanted to run Snap Ads (Snapchat’s full-screen video ads), you would need to go through one of their ads partners. Now, though, you can create Snap Ads yourself through Snapchat’s new self-serve ads tool, Snapchat Ad Manager.

Snapchat has even included a video creation tool in the Snapchat Ad Manager to make creating engaging, awesome-looking vertical videos a breeze.

We’re thrilled by the possibilities that Snapchat Ad Manager has brought about for marketers. And we would love to help you get started with creating your very own Snap Ads and measuring their performance.

Here’s everything you need to know…

What you’ll learn in this guide

Here’s a brief look at what will be covered in this Snapchat Ad Manager guide. Feel free to click on the quick links to jump to the respective sections.

First up, what are Snap Ads?
The benefits of Snapchat Ads?
Quick overview of Snapchat Ad Manager
How to create an effective Snap Ad with Snapchat Ad Manager
Beyond Snapchat Ad Manager: Good-to-knows

First up, what are Snap Ads?

3-10 second full-screen vertical video ads

Snap Ads are full-screen vertical video ads that can be up to 10 seconds long.

Snapchat users (or Snapchatters) can swipe up, anytime when the video ad is playing, for more — watch a longer video, read an article, install an app, or visit a website.

Snap Ads appear in between friends’ stories and Snapchat curated content such as Snapchat’s stories or publishers’ stories.

Snapchat also offers two other types of advertising: Snapchat Geofilters and Lenses. But these cannot be created in the Snapchat Ad Manager just yet. You can create Snapchat Geofilters online or on the mobile app, while you have to work with a Snapchat partner to create Lenses.

The benefits of Snapchat Ads

Distinct audience, powerful targeting, and immersive experience

Snap Ads are an exciting, largely untapped advertising channel for marketers.

Here are just three of the benefits that make Snap Ads attractive:

If you are still a little unsure if Snap Ads are effective, especially in comparison with other social media ads like Facebook ads and Instagram ads, perhaps these statistics could convince you.

MediaScience did some research (commissioned by Snap Inc.) and found that Snap Ads are more effective than most social media ads in several ways:

If you are a little more interested in Snap Ads now, let’s learn more about the Snapchat Ad Manager.

Quick overview of Snapchat Ad Manager

Before we go through how to create Snap Ads, let’s first get familiar with the key sections of the Snapchat Ad Manager.

On the left side of the screen you can navigate to the key sections of Snapchat Ad Manager:

  1. Dashboard: This is where you create, view, and manage your Snap Ads. You can also see the metrics of your ads as a graph and in a table.
  2. Creative Library: This is where you view, edit, and create ad creatives.
  3. Custom Audiences: This is where you can create lists of Snapchatters (which you can use for targeting) using your customer data.
  4. Help Center: This is where you can find guides on how to do various things in the Ad Manager and get help from Snapchat.

Now the fun part begins…

Let’s go through the steps of creating a Snap Ad and assessing its performance with the Snapchat Ad Manager.

How to create an effective Snap Ad with Snapchat Ad Manager

Below, you’ll learn how to create a Snap Ad and evaluate its performance using the Snapchat Ad Manager in this section.

If you are familiar with the Facebook Ads Manager, the Snapchat Ad Manager is very similar. If you’ve not used Facebook Ads too much, you’ll get the hang of it quite quickly.

Feel free to set up your business account on Snapchat here, log in to your Snapchat Ad Manager here, and follow along!

Snap Ads use the same structure as Facebook ads — campaign, ad sets, and ads. To create a Snap Ad, you’ll work your way down the structure: create a campaign, an ad set, and then the ad.

(For now, you can only create one ad set and one ad at a time.)

If you haven’t created a Snap Ad before, a pop-up will prompt you to create a campaign once you log into your Snapchat Ad Manager. You can also click on “+New Campaign” to get started.

1. Choose an objective for your campaign

First, decide what you want Snapchatters to do when they see your Snap ad. You have four options:

Note: To take any of those actions, Snapchatters will have to swipe up while viewing your ad.

Then, set a schedule for your campaign. You can either start the campaign immediately and run indefinitely or define the start and end dates. You also have the option to set the status (active or paused).

Finally, name your ad campaign. To make finding your ad campaigns easier, you might want to think of a simple naming convention. Here’s a naming convention you could use:

(Objective) – (Schedule) – (Team member’s name)

If you manage several clients, you could also specify the client in the name in your ad campaign name.

Hit “Next” to move on to creating your ad set.

Note: Try to finish setting up your ad in one sitting as Snapchat doesn’t seem to auto-save during the ad creation process. If you quit the process halfway through, you’ll have to start from the first step again.

2. Set the audience, budget, and schedule of your ad set

First, name your ad set according to your naming convention. Here’s a suggestion:

(Audience details) – (Budget) – (Goal) – (Schedule)

Then, there are three main sections to fill up for your ad set — Audience, Budget & Goals, and Schedule.


The “Audience” section contains five main parts that allow you to specify the audience you want to reach:

While you are only required to select a country at the minimum, setting more specific target audience will help you achieve better results—bear in mind that Snapchat do not allow ad sets to reach less than 1,000 people.

Here are some targeting best practices from Snapchat:

Budget and Goals

The “Budget & Goals” section allows you to state your daily budget, goal, and bid amount.

The minimum amount for the daily budget seems to be $100. Any lower and you won’t be able to click “Next”.

The delivery of your ads will be optimized for the goal and the bid amount you specified. But you will be charged based on the number of times your ad is served.

For example, you set your goal as app install and your bid as $10. Snapchat will use your bid of $10 to compete against other advertisers’ bid in an auction. Snapchat will then show your ad to the people it thinks will most likely install your app, over ads of advertisers with a lower bid.

But Snapchat will not charge you $10 each time someone installs your app. It will charge you based on the number of times it has shown your ad. So each app install could cost more or less than $10.

It is recommended that you set the bid amount to how much each goal action (e.g. app install) is worth to you. If you are not getting the results you want, you could try increasing your bid.


The “Schedule” section allows you to set the schedule for that particular ad set (which is different from the ad campaign’s schedule in the previous step).

As you can run multiple ad sets within each ad campaign, the ad sets can have a shorter schedule than their ad campaign.

Once you’ve set the audience, budget, and schedule of your ad set, hit “Next” to move on to creating your ad.

3. Select an ad type and upload a creative

Now you’re ready to create you Snap Ad. First, you’ll need to select your ad type:

Fill in the basic information (such as the creative name) and select the ad type you what.

There are four ad types available on Snapchat at the moment:

Note: The article ad type (which links to a multimedia page) doesn’t seem to be available in the Snapchat Ad Manager yet. A workaround, for now, is to use the web view ad type.

Upload or create your content

There are a few tiny details to complete before uploading or creating your ad creative.

“Media File” is the vertical video you want to use for your Snap Ad. If you have created it already or prefer to use a third-party software to create it, simply hit “Upload” to add it to your ad.

If you are not sure how to create vertical videos, Snapchat has this sorted for you! Hit “Create” and you’ll be brought to Snap Publisher, Snapchat’s online video editing app.

You can either create a video from scratch here or edit one of the nicely-designed templates. The Snap Publisher feels quite intuitive and allows you to do basic to advanced video editing. Here’s a short three-minute video by Marketing Land on the things you can do with the Snap Publisher:

As for the content of your Snap Ad, selfie videos are a great option to start your ad, according to Liam Copeland, Director of Decision Science for Movement Strategy. Perhaps because they look like stories from friends and make the ad experience less disruptive to Snapchatters.

The trick is to film videos on iPhones using the front facing camera with the talent front and center — and with no branding until three to five seconds in, according to Copeland.

“The more organic the ad feels and the later the branding appears, the more likely a user is to swipe up to view long-form content or web content,” he said.

For more tips on creating great Snap Ads, check out Snapchat’s Help Center where they listed the specifications and offered advice for each ad type. Here are just some of the best practices listed there:

The final step of Snap Ad creation is to fill up or upload your attachment — the website, app page, or video that you want Snapchatters to see when they swipe up.

4. Run campaign

Click “Launch Campaign” and your ad campaign is ready!

If you have been following along, you have just set up your first Snap Ad campaign. Congratulations!

5. Monitor, optimize, and report

After you have launched your ad campaign, you might want to monitor its performance, edit the schedule or budget, or report your results. You can do all these easily in the dashboard of the Snapchat Ad Manager.

Monitor your ad performance: The dashboard will display your overall and individual campaigns’ ad metrics. You can drill down to each campaign, ad set, or ad by clicking on its name and see the metrics for specific date range by updating the date selector.

The default ad metrics shown will change according to the objective of the campaign. You can customize the metric columns of the table by clicking on “Customize Columns” in the upper-right corner of the table.

(Here are the definitions of all the metrics you’ll see in the Snapchat Ad Manager)

Edit your ad schedule or budget: When you are viewing a campaign or ad set, an “Edit” button will appear in the upper-right corner of the page. Snapchat allows you to edit a few details of your campaign or ad set.


Ad set:

Report your ad results: If you would like to report your ad results, you can click the download button beside “Customize Columns” to get a CSV file of the table you are viewing.

There’s also an option to break down your results by day, week, or month so that you can see how the ad has performed over time.

Beyond Snapchat Ad Manager: Good-to-knows

Snapchat Mobile Dashboard

Snapchat has made it very easy for you to monitor your ad campaigns — even on the go. With the Snapchat Mobile Dashboard, you can see the performance of your ads right within the Snapchat app. No additional app is required.

At the moment, it seems that you can only view your ad metrics but not edit the ads.

To access the Snapchat Mobile Dashboard, swipe down in the camera mode, tap on the gear icon, tap on “Snap Ads”, and select your account.

Snapchat Business Manager

Snapchat Business Manager is where you manage your ad accounts (e.g. billing and access) and members (e.g. roles and permissions).

Each business account can have multiple ad accounts, and each ad account can have multiple members with different roles and permissions. Only the admins for the business account can invite members and assign roles to them.

Have you tried Snapchat Ad Manager?

And that’s all you need to know to get started with creating Snap Ads and measuring their performance!

Are there any sections that you wish I had written more about? Let me know in your comments below.

If you have tried the Snapchat Ad Manager, is there anything I’ve missed in this post? What tips do you have for those who are going to use the ad manager for their first time?

Image credit: Snapchat, Marketing Land