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The Anatomy of an Incredible Snapchat Ad

Without a doubt, the best way to reach Generation Z is to using mobile, video advertising.

Stories on Social Media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram have a huge reach and popularity. However, success in this format depends on doing it right. Here, I condense lessons learnt from 100s of successful mobile video campaigns on Snapchat into six key steps, to ensure maximum creative impact.


The following is summary of the key points. For greater detail, click here!

1. Time

  • The first two seconds is crucial; make an impact right at the start.
  • Use all the time available to you; there's no reason to have an ad that lasts fewer than 10 seconds.
  • Keep users watching as long as you can. In such a short ad, every second should be designed to keep the viewers hooked.

2. Structure

  • Tricolon (the rule of threes) is a particularly effective technique with regards to structure.
  • These separate sections should underpin just one key idea, the CTA (Call-To-Action), which can be further divided into two key parts: the CTA itself (e.g. "swipe up and play"), and what the CTA will achieve for the audience (e.g. you get to play a unique game).

3. Be Exceptional

  • Ads are different from normal content, in that they demand action from their audience, and so they also need to function differently.
  • Your ad doesn't need to look organic to get great results. Sometimes, the pursuit of an organic-feeling ad can distract you from more important goals, like style (below).

4. Style

  • Make your ads bold, high-energy, and eye-catching – with a soundtrack that supports the mood.
  • Keep your ads in line with the client's branding and, in particular, their landing – unless you think doing so would compromise results.

5. Audience

  • Even for 18-25 year olds, it's almost always better to imagine your target audience as teenagers (13-17 year olds), because most people on the platform have an "adolescent mindset".

6. Audio

  • Cater both for people with the sound off, and for people with the sound on.
  • Use sound to enhance the key message, but provide visual cues for everything of importance.


For an example of three ads which make use of many of the points described above, take a look at the video below. Each ad is made up of a pair of two 10-second videos, each of which brought in a CPC of £0.06 GBP (≈ $0.08 USD) or under for the respective brands.

For a more in-depth discussion of these points, click here!

Bret Cameron

Head of Marketing

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