Is Snapchat a wildly different ad platform than marketers are used to? You bet. Just take Snapchat’s unique 3V format as one example: It fills up a smartphone’s entire vertical screen, blending advertisements as native content instead of interrupting user experiences with pesky pre-roll content.

It’s that creativity that has advertisers willing to reportedly shell out $750,000 for one-day ads — ads that offer widespread exposure and bragging rights for company executives. Snapchat also boasts incredible user engagement, on top of its genuine connection to a teenage audience who Business Insider says are “notoriously difficult for advertisers to reach.”

Which, of course, is all a fancy way of saying people just can’t get enough of Snapchat. So, how is Snapchat paving the way toward “fun” advertisements? What are brands doing to engage with their audiences like never before? Let’s take a look at different ad types on one of the hottest social media platforms ever.

On-Demand Geofilters

When just taking a Snap isn’t enough… add a Geofilter. Snapchatters everywhere are in love with Geofilters, which are fun overlays you place on Snaps giving details about what you’re doing (your location, the current temperature, your speed, etc.) Most often, you use a Geofilter to humble-brag that you’re in a really cool place and your friends aren’t!


If you’re just getting started advertising on Snapchat, you’ll probably want to try On-Demand Geofilters first. They’re the most accessible avenue to get your brand on the platform — pricing starts at $5 and you can usually see your Geofilter up within a few days. All you have to do is upload a Geofilter design, select the dates and location you want your Geofilter to run, and submit your Geofilter for review (master marketer Gary Vaynerchuk recommends allowing two days for approval).

You can also run a national Geofilter, which brands like anti-HIV/AIDS awareness organization (RED) have used to create tons of buzz.

Sponsored Lenses

Snapchat Lenses have the kind of built-in virality marketers dream of. They’re catchy, oftentimes lovably ridiculous, and totally worth talking about. Take a look at Lenses in action:

Snapchat has been investing in face-recognition technology, and judging from the success of Lenses it seems they’re making the right bets. It’s easy to add a Lens: All you have to do is press and hold your finger on the image of a face, select a Lens, and follow any instructions to make the Lens work (like “Raise your eyebrows.”)

One timely and super-cool Lens came from Gatorade’s “dunk” campaign during this year’s Super Bowl. According to Snapchat, the Lens was viewed 165 million times — that’s a lot!

Business Insider reports that 24-hour Sponsored Lenses running during holidays and special events can cost between $100,000 and $750,000. To ask about creating a Lens, contact Snapchat at their advertising inquiries page.

Snap Ads: Discover Ads and Live Story Ads

Remember that one-of-a-kind 3V format we talked about earlier? Snap Ads are where the magic happens.

Snap Ads are mobile video ads on publisher pages in the Snapchat’s Discover section — hence why they’re often called Discover Ads — and they’re slightly different from typical pre-roll content. Snap Ads last 10 seconds max, for example. And maybe more importantly, they’re integrated with Snapchat’s “Swipe Up” feature that lets users learn more about brands right in the app. According to Snapchat, users swipe up five times more often than they click through on similar platforms.

There seem to be quite a few factors that invite more user interaction with Snap Ads than other ads:

  • You’re never forced to watch a Snap Ad — you can swipe forward to skip any ad immediately. (Paradoxically, not locking users into watching ads might build enough goodwill to convince them to watch!)
  • Since a Snap Ad only lasts 10 seconds, many advertisers break up their videos into short, catchy scenes with lots of jump cuts. Because of this, Snap Ads are oftentimes more fun to watch.
  • Snap Ads sport a platform-native look due to the 3V format, so they don’t create jarring visual changes while users swipe through publisher pages.

Here’s an example of Gatorade’s Usain Bolt campaign. A young Usain Bolt says, “Come on — swipe up, man!” Once you do, you can watch an extended video of “The Boy Who Learned to Fly.”


Snap Ads don’t always have to have a “Swipe Up” CTA, as seen with these ads for Suicide Squad, Mike and Ike, and Lipton:


Here’s something really cool: Snapchat now allows “swipe-throughs” that bring users directly to third-party websites. Check out how Journeys bring users to their store (Target and Lancôme have run similar ads), and how Truth brings users to a sign-up page:



According to Digiday, swipable ads cost about $55 per thousand views. You have the option of taking out 10-second ads or all of the ad space in a publisher’s Discover section.

Closely related to Discover Ads are Live Story Ads, which are placed in Live Stories (curated Snaps about specific cities or big events: Los Angeles, Lollapalooza, etc.)


You can buy 10-second ads on a Live Story or take over all of the ad space in the Story. According to Ad Age, a 10-second Snap costs $100,000 and a takeover costs between $400,000 and $500,000.

Have fun with Snapchat ads! For more Snapchat goodness, take a look at our other articles about the platform.

If you’re advertising with Snapchat, you know how important it is to reach millennials. Make sure to read our guide Marketing to Millennials: Engaging a Generation of Visual Buyers.