Everything You Need to Know About Advertising on Snapchat

by Mike Tyler | March 9, 2015

Snapchat is arguably the hottest topic in social advertising right now, and whether or not it’s economically feasible, or even makes sense at all, everyone is still asking the same question:

Should I be advertising on Snapchat?

Let’s waste no time in trying to find an answer.


Snapchat Sponsored Ads


Price: minimum $750,000 per day

Adweek originally reported that the Snapchat minimum advertising spend is $750,0000. At first glance, $750,000 a day seems like a large number. That’s because no matter how many times you glance, it is definitely a big number.

That said, let us put this into perspective:

  • A masthead on YouTube — $500,000
  • ESPN’s Monday Night Football — $408,000

When compared with other premium advertising spots—be it traditional media or new media—Snapchat’s ask is still around double. That is one downside.

Above-and-beyond the aggressive pricing, another downside is Snapchat’s advertising platform does not provide any sort of reporting for advertisers looking to monitor and optimize their efforts. That is, aside from the total number of views.

In many ways Snapchat is like traditional television where you pay an exorbitant fee to put advertisement ‘out there’ and hope for the best.

This is going to be a tough sell for many advertisers.

But here’s the thing. With television, most people ignore advertisements or skip them all-together. YouTube is similarly affected by this attitude, and the issue is compounded by browser plugins such as Adblock, which greatly limit the number of impressions.

Snapchat, on the other hand, is positioned differently. Snapchat users have to hold their finger on the screen for the duration of the video (or static picture). This suggests two things: first, the user is actively watching the advertisement; second, and more importantly, the user wants to watch the advertisement.

Such a level of active engagement is huge, and it may explain why some brands like McDonalds have been thoroughly happy with the returns.

Before we get to the answer of whether you should advertise on Snapchat, let us first take a look at the new Discover section.

Snapchat “Discover”

Price: $0.15 per view


If you have used Snapchat recently, you will have noticed the new Discover section. Put simply, Discover is a publishing platform for other media companies. The platform allows publishers to create their own customized experiences within the overall Snapchat experience.

This is an exciting new format, and I have seen Discover ads range from long-form journalism to documentaries on wildlife.

Interestingly enough, guess what company was not present at the Discover launch event? Buzzfeed — and the fact that a lot of the Discover videos look very similar to the type of content that Buzzfeed puts out might mean that Snapchat is emerging as a type of video-based Buzzfeed competitor.

How would this work?  Good question.

Here’s what we currently know. North American CEO of the Daily Mail Jon Steinberg told Digiday that “Snapchat has agreed to let the publishers featured in Discover strike their own advertising deals with brands.” In other words, publishers can charge a fraction of what Snapchat is charging to run ads.

Details are slim, but reportedly…

  1. The ads are about $0.15 per view.
  2. Media companies who construct their own advertising deals will retain 70 percent of ad revenue.
  3. However, when Snapchat closes the deal, the number drops down to 50 percent.

The above is pretty exciting because this means that Snapchat Discover is an opportunity for brands who do not have a $750,000-a-day budget (pretty much the majority) to dip their toes into the Snapchat world through one of the Discovery-featured publications such as the Daily Mail, VICE, etc.

The answer: Yes for Editorial. No for Algorithmic.

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel differentiates his company from Facebook in the following way: Snapchat’s content is editorial; Facebook’s content is algorithmic.

As it is now the third-most used social app amongst millennials, advertisers are looking to explore Snapchat’s potential, but those looking to do so should first determine if their campaign suits the way people use Snapchat. Ask yourself: is this campaign ephemeral, or data-driven? 

If your campaign will benefit from superlative tracking, then the world of Snapchat is likely not for you. But if you are looking to become the viewers new friend, then Snapchat is a great option.

If you can afford it.


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