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Experts Say: Limit Use of Snapchat Ads to Brand Awareness

Published: October 27, 2014

Author: Molly Shotwell

Snapchat. Either you love it, or you just don’t get it. Either way: they’ve been hugely successful. Users send 700 million photos and videos per day using the service.
Marketers should be keen on getting in front of this audience, but the advertising model that Snapchat has announced is falling flat with marketers. The problem? Ads are not able to use any sort of targeting.
This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with digital marketing. In a world where you can specify the when, where, and who of your message, what place does a shot in the dark have?
3Q Digital’s Senior Director of Social, Dayna Moon, contends that it’s just not worth spending a client’s money without any way of measuring a return.

A platform considering to take the plunge into the monetization ocean with ads “that would not be targeted” is a ticking time bomb.  Not only does the first impression count, but each and every interaction with a brand attributes to its overall “value” both online and through more traditional channels. Without targeting, there’s no way to ensure that the brand’s message is hitting the right person at the right time. –Dayna Moon, 3Q Digital

Single Grain’s Tom Lambert takes a similar stance and breaks it down into an easy-to-understand breakdown of percentages. He doesn’t seem too convinced that the Snapchat model will stand for long.

We have no plans of using (read: wasting) clients’ marketing budget on Snapchat ads. Why? With the information Snapchat has released about their ads so far, they’ve made it pretty clear that there are no plans to give us a targeting layer or even a framework for tracking direct response actions. Most direct response marketers follow a conversion formula similar to this: 40% targeting, 40% copy, 20% offer…so the missing 40% (targeting) is far too critical of a component for us to jump in this arena. 
We’ll let the “brand advertisers” waste their money for a few months until Snapchat gives us the tools to put our message in front of the right people and track the value of campaigns. -Tom Lambert, Single Grain 

There is some hope for Snapchat. Brand marketers can use the platform as an effective way of spreading brand awareness. Hanapin’s Kristina McLane breaks it down:

Snapchat ads are exciting if you are focusing on branding. I would not use Snapchat ads for any conversion-focused account. The lack of targeting means there is no way to measure/ optimize performance.  Overall, I think we’ll have to approach it with the knowledge that these are not going to be the types of ads that bring in direct purchases or leads. However, if all I want is brand awareness, I think it is a great idea to reach a lot of people. –Kristina McLane, Hanapin

So while Snapchat may be shunned by most marketers, it may at least have some significance for brand awareness. Only time will tell if Snapchat keeps with its model, but so far most marketers are not all that optimistic about it.

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