A Complete Guide To Snapchat Marketing

A Complete Guide To Snapchat Marketing


Snapchat is an image and video messaging, multi-media mobile app that can be used by marketers for effective, ephemeral storytelling and showcasing products through it’s vertical video format.


As with the other platforms, Snapchat does come with some limitations for marketers:

  • Content disappears after 24 hours.
  • A high barrier of entry for advertising with Snap Ads starting at $3000/month and more custom offerings like Sponsored Lenses starting $450,000/day.
  • Snapchat is not only a mobile-only app, but it’s linked to one’s phone number which makes it a bit more challenging to grow followership and drive users to content.
  • Lastly, the user experience and interface aren’t incredibly intuitive and are somewhat difficult to understand.


Here is some of the key terminology used on Snapchat:



An ephemeral photo or video taken within the Snapchat app that can include text, art, stickers, filters, bitmoji, etc. and can be displayed for a duration of up to 10 seconds.


The culmination of photo and video content which disappears in 24 hours, unless the story is saved in memories or to your phone.


Utilizing your phone’s native screenshot capabilities to capture and store content from another user/brand, after which the content owner is notified.



A smart camera roll alternative where you can import your Snaps, search by caption or recognized objects, creatively embellish and re-share clips, and keep sensitive content for “My Eyes Only”.

Our Story

Large community narrative on Snapchat where users submit their content to be featured in the global story viewable by all users. Snaps you submit to Our Story can show up on Snap Map or in Search, grouped together with other Snaps from the same location, event, or about the same topic! Snaps that are submitted to Our Story may be viewable for different amounts of time — some for only a day or two, while others can be seen for much longer.



A collection of channels from top publishers who curate content daily.


Special effects that are applied in real-time using face detection, allowing users watch how their facial actions affect the lens on screen.

Data Filter

Information provided by your device, as well as third-party services, to deliver relevant data such as the temperature, speed, battery life, time, etc.


Snap Map

On the Snap Map, you can view Snaps submitted to Our Story from all across the world — including sporting events, celebrations, breaking news, and more. You and your friends can also share your locations with one another, and see what’s going on around you.



 Search is the fastest way to find a friend, a group you’re in, and more on Snapchat. You can also find Stories on tons of different topics, automatically created from Snaps submitted to Our Story.


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The home camera screen allows you to snap photos and videos and then customize with lenses, filters, drawings, text and more. You can then choose to either send the snap to other users in a private message, share on your story, or submit to Our Story. Stories are divided into two sections, those from your friends and featured stories.


As mentioned previously, Snapchat notifies you when someone takes a screenshot of your photo or video. The notification appears in your message feed and as a marketer, is a good way to know if your content is resonating with your audience as a screenshot indicates that they want to save and reference your snap in the future.

When you view your Memories, they are separated into categories: individual Snaps, Stories, and your Camera Roll, from which you can upload content. On the All tab, Snaps are shown as rectangles and Stories are shown as circles.


Submitting to Our Stories is beneficial to marketers because it:

  • Offers more reach by exposing your content to a global audience and more potential followers.
  • You can also participate in a larger story and share your point of view within a global context.
  • By simply viewing Our Story you can learn how others around are producing content and garner key takeaways to your own content strategy. Then you can see what kind of content gets chosen for a global audience and use those learnings to create content to be featured.


snapchat marketing

Discover adds an editorial component to Snapchat. It’s a collection of Publisher Stories updated daily from top media and content producers to which you can opt-in and subscribe to updates from. Publishers include Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Mashable, Vogue, Daily Mail, BuzzFeed, etc. The Discover feature can benefit marketers in the following ways:

  • Discover best practices on how to tell a story on Snapchat from an editorial perspective. Discover content can include quizzes, games, influencer content, and much more.
  • Learn the advertising offerings on Snapchat as there are many ads in between content on Discover channels.
  • Realize the trending content that optimizes on Snapchat and bring those elements to your strategy. Many times its how-to’s and celebrity content.
  • See how media companies are promoting their written content within the Snapchat platform. Learn how to take long-form content and bring it to the Snapchat platform.


Lenses provide a fun way to augment your face, voice, or environment. Marketers should leverage them when appropriate to show authenticity and knowledge of the platform. Sponsored Lenses are also a great way for marketers to engage their audience and showcase new products or highlight events.

Data filters can be used by marketers to emphasize the time of an event or promotion, show how a product works in a particular type of weather/temperature and more.


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Custom Stories are collaborative stories that allow multiple Snap accounts to share Snaps together. There are 2 types of Custom Stories:

Group Stories:
You and users you choose can create new Stories together around a specific theme.
Geofenced Stories:
You can create Stories that you and your friends can add to when you’re at a specific place.

Here are some key details you should know about Custom Stories:


  • Snaps you add to a Custom Story only last for 24 hours.
  • A Custom Story can last as long as you and your friends keep adding to it, but will disappear from your Stories screen if no one adds to it in the last 24 hours.
  • You can only create and add to up to 3 Custom Stories at a time.
  • You can keep adding to a Geo-fenced Story for a few hours after you leave the Geo-fence.
  • Custom Stories can include up to 1,000 Snaps.
  • The user who created a Custom Story can save the entire story.
  • If the user who created the Custom Story deletes it, all of the Snaps within the story are also deleted (but they can be saved by the users involved beforehand)

Custom Stories are a great way for marketers to brand company events and engage consumers and influencers (and their followers) by allowing them to contribute to the story and diversify the perspectives within the story.


Snap Map is a great tool to visualize where there is a concentration of people, where your friends are, or where there is a featured event or place of mass interest. As a marketer, it’s a unique way to keep track of events and places that matter to your target audience and relevant influencers as well as view snaps submitted to Our Story.

Snapchat’s universal search can be used to see breaking news and top stories near you, as well as to browse stories by categories like Animals, Travel, Attractions, Food, Nightclubs and more. Search makes it very easy for marketers to quickly find content that is relevant to their business and target audience.


Community Geofilters

Special overlays that communicate the “where and when” of a Snap in a fun way, whether sending a Snap to a friend or adding it to a Story.


On-Demand Geofilters

 Businesses and individuals can purchase On-Demand Geofilters for their event, business, or a specific location which can include brand logos and trademarks.


Upon signing up for Snapchat you’ll be prompted to enter a first and last name and birthday. After that you will select a username and password. Then, you’ll enter the device’s phone number and an email address and be asked to confirm and verify your account.

Once the account is created, you’ll be asked to add friends which you can do through your contact list, or via username or Snap Code. After you add a friend, you have the option to remove or block them by simply tapping on their name in your friend list (accessed by tapping the little Snap ghost icon or your bitmoji in the upper left corner or from your recent stories list), tapping ‘Settings’ and then ‘Block’.


Now let’s talk about the qualities of a fully optimized Snap. The best Snaps include:

  • A clear photo that showcases the product and focal point
  • Are entertaining so that consumers stay throughout the story and want to learn more
  • Utilize native Snapchat tools to make it creative and interesting
  • Is part of a large narrative that helps tell a dynamic story
  • Includes a link to drive your audience to your website/other social platforms.


When creating a caption for your Snap, remember these key things:

Snapchat’s Paperclip function lets you attach a website to a Snap that friends can swipe up to open in Snapchat’s internal browser. Previously only ad campaigns and Discover content could include links. Just tap the Paperclip button in the Vertical Toolkit and enter your link.

Marketers can use this function to drive to their company website, share videos, event links, lead generation pages and more.


Now that we know the components of an optimized snap, let’s discuss the elements of a Snapchat story optimized for marketing:

  • The best Snapchat stories obviously, should tell a story.
  • The story should use a mixture of photo and video and involve any stakeholders key to your business or event.
  • The story should promote your product.
  • Consider having interviews with change-makers to make your story more compelling.
  • Utilize all of the native filter options – adding geo-filters, data filters and colour demonstrate authenticity.
  • Overall, your story should be entertaining – don’t overload your story with promo as that could deter viewership.



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