Your How-To Guide For Snapchat Ads Manager

In 2011, the social media landscape changed significantly with the launch of Snapchat, or as it was called then Picaboo. Since its launch, its popularity has grown immensely, particularly among Millenials and Gen Zers. Snapchat now boasts 187 million active daily users, and 70% of these users are under the age of 34. Although a sizeable percentage of Facebook and Instagram users also fall in this age range, Snapchat is dominated by it.

Key Considerations

Needless to say, if your product or service is particularly geared toward this younger age demographic, or you’re looking to grow your brand awareness among them, Snapchat could be a great platform for you to test. However, there are a couple key additional things you’ll want to consider before diving into this platform.

First of all, since Snapchat is a mobile app, you’ll want to ensure your site and/or landing page offers a great mobile user experience to help get the most bang for your buck. Secondly, even though Snapchat advertising has a lot of potential to help you drive leads from a younger audience, the conversion tracking pixel is currently in a Closed Beta and you have to submit a form to request participation.

Getting Started with Snapchat Ads

Once you sign up for an account, you can access the account settings via the upper right-hand drop down menu:

You can also create multiple accounts under your one log in by choosing the New Ad Account button in the upper right-hand corner of the account settings page:

In the upper left-hand corner, you’ll find the drop-down menu with all of your account management options:


You can manage your accounts through the Ad Accounts option, access Billing & Payments through that option, or grant additional users access to the account(s) through the Members section.

Setting Up Your Snapchat Campaigns

To set up a campaign, choose the Create Ads option from the upper left-hand drop down menu:

From there, you can choose to create just a single ad or multiple ad sets and ads:

If you choose multiple ad sets and ads, you’ll first choose your campaign objective and additional details like the campaign name, budget, etc:

Note that your spend caps must be at least $50. Once you establish your campaign objective, name, status, run dates and budget you’re taken to the audience targeting section. First, you select your placement — either all of Snapchat or you can narrow your focus to categories or content more suitable for your target audience:

Once you choose your placements, you can select specific Geo and Demo targeting:

The Advanced Demographics field offers even more focused targeting based on users’ Education, Language, Income and Marital and Parental statuses.

After that, you’ll choose from multiple options in the Devices section as well as Audiences which are either Predefined or Custom Audiences:

The Predefined audiences were created by Snapchat and third-party data sources, and they remind me of Google’s Custom Intent audiences. They are based on users’ ‘online and real-world interests and behaviors.’ I cover the Custom Audience options more in-depth below.

After narrowing down your audience, you’ll choose the Status, Budget, Start & End dates and Bid & Goal. After that, you’ll fill in your ad specs. There are two main ad choices: Snap Ads & Filters. Snap ads are delivered with stories, and availability varies based on the campaign objective you choose; they come in the following forms: Top Snap Only, Long Form Video, Web View, Deep Link & App Install.

You can find specs for Snap Ads here and specs for Filters here, as well as some creative tips here.

Custom Audiences

This platform offers some great custom audience options to help further advance and refine your audience targeting. You can access Custom Audiences from the top left-hand navigation menu in Ads Manager. Once you select this option, you’ll be taken to this screen where you can choose Snap Audience Match (SAM) Audiences, Lookalike Audiences or Saved Audiences:

Snap Audience Match (SAM) Audiences

SAM Audiences are like customer match in other channels, where audiences are built based on your customer list of emails or device IDs.

If you choose to create a SAM Audience, simply upload your file with customer info and add an audience name and description:

If you’re unsure how to format your data, you can follow the instructions here or you can download an example file, as shown above.

You can edit or delete audiences at any time. Once you upload your file you’ll get additional audience insights, like the number of matched Snapchat users, and you can create Lookalike audiences from your data as well.

Lookalike Audiences

If you’ve uploaded a SAM audience you can use that as a seed audience to create a Lookalike Audience:

Snapchat offers three types of Lookalikes, which are outlined here as well:

  • Similarity: Smaller audience that has the closest resemblance to the seed audience.
  • Balance: Mid-size audience that balances resemblance and reach.
  • Reach: Larger audience that has the broadest resemblance to the seed audience.

Both Similar and Lookalike Audiences offer great ways to test the performance of a new platform, so if you’re considering advertising on Snapchat these could be a good place to start.

Saved Audiences

You can also create audience templates and save them for future use. As you add audience criteria, you’ll see a predicted audience size graph to the right:


Reviewing Campaign Performance

To see a Dashboard with campaign performance metrics, just choose the Manage Ads option from the upper left-hand drop down menu:

You’ll be taken to the dashboard where you can customize what metrics you’d like to view:

You can view campaign level data or drill down to the ad set or ad level.

If you’d like a more in-depth management option, just choose the Advanced Ads option from the upper left-hand menu:

Under Advanced ads, not only can you manage your campaigns, you can also create new ads, and view libraries for your Saved Audiences, Audience Matches, Creatives and Media content, as well as create new assets.

Final Thoughts

Snapchat’s Ads Manager has gone through a few iterations since it’s May 2017 launch, and I have found its latest version to be clean and pretty easy to use. Although there are definitely some improvements still to be made, like conversion tracking being made available to all advertisers, there’s certainly promise with this channel, especially among the younger demographic.

Have you tested Snapchat ads? We’d love to hear your experience and tips in the comments below!