Snapchat Marketing & Growth Strategies

14 Best Snapchat Marketing Strategies & Growth Hacks for eCommerce Brands (2024)

Whilst there are a plethora of social media channel choices for brands to take into account when it comes to marketing efforts and resources, I really do believe Snapchat for eCommerce and DTC brands can't be left out of the marketing mix - especially if targeting millennials and Gen-Z. However, the question is can you achieve traction for your business with Snapchat, organically and with ads (that has a good ROAS/ROI)? Well, I believe you can, and I share some of the top Snapchat marketing strategies (with examples) that marketers should seriously consider for testing plus experimenting, with the goal of further reach and engagement with target audiences, on top of other existing marketing initiatives.

Dan Siepen
 min read
Updated on
January 2, 2024
Author: Dan Siepen (Founder & Editor)
I've been doing DTC/eCommerce growth marketing for a long time now (6+ years in fact). I'm sharing some key lessons, tactics, strategies, examples, and observations I've seen top brands adopt to help with their growth (and my thoughts on them).
Connect with Dan

Snapchat has been one of the leading social media platforms for over a decade - we’ve all known that as growth marketers. 

About 363 million daily active users share billions of snaps each day on this platform. For many years, it’s been a go-to for eCommerce businesses to reach their target customers. However, there has been scepticism around performance for eCommerce and DTC brands, with the focus typically being on Meta (Facebook and Instagram) and now the likes of TikTok for performance ads. 

Well, I’m going to share a few strategies as to why I believe Snapchat is still very much a lucrative channel for brands, particularly when targeting demographics within the Gen-Z and millennials segments.

Gen Z and millennials frequently engage with this platform, and they just love it. Over 70% of Snapchat users belong to these demographics. If you have a solid customer base of Gen-Z and millennials, you almost have no excuse not to be advertising here - even if it’s just small-budget remarketing.

 Let’s look at a few key stats to show you why Snapchat marketing remains effective for eCommerce:

Now, these stats may not be as impressive as its other social platform competitors. However, Snapchat can bring a lot to the table for your eCommerce reach and overall customer journey audience nurturing. 

Having stated the above statistics and before I go into detail sharing some awesome strategies and tactics (with some examples from other brands), it’s important to have realistic expectations and understand to its core how users actually engage with the app

Understanding how the platform works is super important (and something I discuss with clients and brands I advise) otherwise, you’ll be disappointed with the results. Every social channel is different, and they all have their nuances. 

Additionally, as brand owners and marketers reading this, you need to be open to trying out new content formats you probably have never used before, including the likes of AR lenses and filters. Don’t worry, I cover these strategies and tactics with these formats in the below guide and how they can be effective for acquisition, building awareness, and increasing brand engagement (and collecting some awesome UGC content). 

Of course, you probably have a lot of active channels as part of your marketing mix, but I’m going to share some key strategies and tactics that I believe are worth pursuing, or at the very least testing, for new customer acquisition. On top of that, there’s a huge upside for branding (such as contests and UGC) and other tactics. 

Anyway, I’m keen to share what I believe are some awesome opportunities on Snapchat for your brand to explore. 

1. Use Collection Ads to Improve Shopping Experience

Snapchat’s collections ad format is more than your typical snap ads. These “made-for-commerce” ads let you roll four products into one ad. The format makes it easier for advertisers to showcase their products, plus you also get to treat users with a dynamic and fun shopping experience. 

If you’re unsure what they look like, see a couple of examples here and how they work via the Snapchat ad formats example library.

How Collection Ads Work

  • Collection ads allow you to display four interactive product images below the ad content. The user experience is really nice for viewers who are interested (quite intuitive, actually) for one of the featured products you have chosen to display, and all they need to do is simply click on its image to get more information (i.e your specific product page). These ads are positioned like snap ads, popping up in between stories. 
  • You create these ads from Snapchat's Ads Manager itself, and there are more requirements involved than usual to run this format effectively. First off, you need to satisfy the Collection ad file specifications. Next, provide a header, URLs, and a call-to-action.

Why It Works (And How It Can Generate Positive ROAS)

  • Exponentially grow engagement

Ecommerce retailers have experienced an exponential engagement boost ranging from 4.1 to 17 times the usual ad rate - undoubtedly worthwhile if you’re looking to grow your reach via Snapchat.

  • Offer a seamless shopping experience

Running collections as an ad format is a better engaging experience, it’s more dynamic, and it also makes your products more shoppable (in a catalogue format which users love). Potential buyers can glean info as they see your ad—couple it with a meaty call to action to secure more conversions. 

Even the likes of "She's Birdie" used various dynamic and collection ads to achieve 2.4x ROAS.

2. Run A Snapchat Competition and/or UGC Contest 

Snapchat users generate content around their favourite brands all the time. Social media marketers take advantage of this natural user inclination to grow brands to new levels. One way to get users to generate content for your brand is to run a Snapchat contest. Contests let you amass a huge amount of followers in a short period of time.

Whilst not exactly eCommerce (but still DTC that other eCommerce brands can learn from), is this competition by Fanduel (read the study here). 

They did a multi-product campaign using a variety of channels, where audiences had to predict a certain score to have a chance of winning $10,000 cash.

This is simply just an example by a larger brand, but there are many types of UGC contests you could run for your store. Here are some ideas I’ve seen used before:

  • Share a photo - get people to submit photos based on a requirement. You can bolster this with an AR Snapchat lens or filters promotion (which I talk about more soon). 
  • Polls and quizzes - get audiences to ‘guess’ the best answer as an entry requirement to be in the chance to win prizes - similar to the Fanduel example. 
  • Snapcodes - get users to engage with a snapcode and drive them to a custom landing page with your competition, and add other entry mechanics for users to get bonus entries. I like to use tools like Gleam (Gleam has a snapchat widget) for running viral competitions. You can then get users to enter via Snap and then get bonus entries for subscribing to your YouTube page, or following you on Instagram, to Facebook, etc. 

These are simply just a handful of examples (and no doubt you will/can come up with other epic ideas). I recommend visiting the Snapchat inspiration library (and doing some of your own research on other brands on Snapchat) will open your eyes to what’s possible.

Just remember, many of these contests and competitions are typically run by larger brands, but you can do really well with UGC contests on a much smaller budget with limited resources. If you have an existing engaged audience, you have an epic prize you know your audience will love, you’re already over 50% of the way there for producing a successful campaign.

How This UGC/Contests Strategy Works

  • Brands typically go for “challenges,” where users need to generate content while following a set of criteria. These contests have predetermined run lengths.
  • A contest is not a contest without rewards and giveaways. You’ll probably need to invest a reasonable sum on this, depending on the scope of your challenge. Think of it as an investment for the massive amount of reach you’ll get (and data collection for audience building). You can opt for small mass giveaways (think discount coupons), or you can potentially give away big prizes to some winners for specific entry requirements they meet.
  • Snapchat has its own promotion guidelines for users running a contest or sweepstakes on its platform. It’s just a bunch of dos and don’ts you need to follow. Give it a read before you run your contest to avoid any issues down the road. 

The Benefits and Why It Works For Brands

  • Generate social proof for your brand

Content created by real people showcasing your brand is an unstoppable machine for social proofing. It helps accelerate the trust process and and enforces further credibility in the eyes of those who are fairly new with (or have just come across) your brand. Like reviews and testimonials, social media UGC can influence potential customers. 

  • Amass followings in a short time

UGC contests are a direct recipe for massive reach and virality regardless of your platform. By running engaging contests, you’ll grow your community of loyal followers. You’ll let existing, and potential customers participate in increasing your brand's reach.

  • Influence conversions

You’re always better positioned to sway conversions with social proof at your side. UGC has a massive influence on customers wherever they are in the buyer’s journey. Just imagine how potential customers will react if they see your products used by real people just like them.

3. Use The Latest AR Content Formats From Snapchat

Snap’s augmented reality is garnering 200 Million active daily users. Ecommerce businesses can now play on AR’s ability to provide a much richer shopping and customer engagement user experience. Augmented reality is all about immersion, and it’s constantly evolving. E-commerce brands use it extensively when driving purchase intent and product awareness. Snap’s new AR tools also let you provide users with immersive and engaging shopping experiences. 

Not only are Snapchat’s AR tools good for shopping experiences, but also for UGC content generation and contests. For example, I came across this epic example by the guys at Lenslist, which was a UGC AR Fashion Monthly Contest, and the submissions of AR entries look insane. Read the winners & case study here. Plus, they’ve kept the videos of the entries so you can see them in action.

Even 4th place content is really good. Imagine the amount of content you can repurpose from this on other channels.

In addition to what Lenslist have done, even the likes of Dior (which I talk about later in the guide with their business profile), have done an epic job with their AR lens ads campaigns. Just with their ‘virtual sneakers try-on’ campaign, they managed to get a 6.2x ROAS.

How the AR Features Works

  • Snapchat’s AR feature allows you to display powerful ad experiences. There are two ways you can run interactive ads with AR lenses. With the “Face lenses” features, it works by having a front-facing camera, with then the world lenses at the rear. Both use 2 & 3-dimensional design formats that blend into the user’s environment.
  • Snapchat also launched Shoppable AR Ads for e-commerce advertisers. These ad formats allow advertisers to display a product catalogue that, when tapped, redirects users to a store without leaving the app.

The Benefits of Snapchat AR

  • Create immersion and emotional engagement

According to a study, Snapchat’s AR is 1.7x ‘more immersive’ than other social media apps. A highly immersed audience has a better emotional connection with your content. And they’re paying complete attention. Take advantage of this to inspire unforgettable product discovery. 

  • Helps increase conversions

Online shopping with AR can boost sales by up to 200%. Users presented with AR are twice as likely to take your desired action. With over 170 million Snapchat users engaging in AR daily, you’ll tap into a treasure trove of AR-induced conversions. 

4. Run Specific Geo-Filter Campaigns for Brand Awareness

There’s a good chance you’ve used them before yourself, and I can say right now that running a Snapchat geo-filter campaign is a powerful way to increase brand awareness. 

Geo-filters are unique snap visual effects that are only available for users if they’re in a specific area. Snapchat has also introduced On-Demand geo-filters, which lets businesses create custom geo-filters starting at $5. 

Here’s an example and case study of McDonald’s using specific geo-filters for a campaign in Norway, where they managed to get 1.3 million Snapchatters in the country to create unique content pieces that helped get over 8.9 million impressions - that’s an insane amount of UGC content and eyeballs produced from a single campaign.

How Geo-Filters Are Setup

  • Snapchat makes it easy to apply geo-filters. Just take a snap and swipe right to access this feature. You can even submit your own community submissions of filters (some awesome examples here via this page, where you can submit and create your own). 
  • After you submit your own Snapchat filter, you can select the geolocation. Then to take it further, you can run an ads campaign for a specific area. Remember, to see your creation in action, you need to be in the area where you scheduled the geo-filter. It’s good to practice creating your own and then test on a small scale before opening up to larger audience sizes (i.e. more geo’s). Plus, over time, your skills for creating stories and filters will naturally just improve so much as you use more unique animations and designs, which is just going to result in some epic content that people will actively use and share.

By the way, there are other amazing geo-filter case studies on Snapchat’s inspirations section. 

Why Geo-Filters Perform

  • Amplify your presence in a specific location

Once you run your geo-filter, anyone within a specific radius can access and interact with it. Now you get to have an opportunity to attain massive reach for your brand. If you’re creative with your campaign, you’ll engage new and existing customers.

  • Drive awareness and create a fun engaging experience 

Geo-filters can help you improve your brand’s recognition. These campaigns often drive massive brand awareness from the local audience. Use themes and designs that reflect your brand when designing your filters. Make your filters engaging and fun enough to get added to more stories. 

5. Engage Influencers For Product Showcase Videos

Influencer marketing on social media is a core strategy for many brands to increase relevance. And it’s also thriving on Snapchat, even still after these years. The platform has already introduced several features that help influencers find success while fostering fantastic relationships with brands. One of the ways you can leverage an influencer’s massive credibility is by partnering for a product showcase video.

We all know what these types of videos look like, but for some ideas and inspiration, head to the Inspirations section of case studies and select “Snapchat Ads”, where you can find some influencer marketing studies. 

Here’s one study (with video) with Moitie Cosmetics

And this second one by Blissy

How This Tactic Works

  • A well-made influencer showcase video is a surefire way to increase awareness and conversions. You can always reach out to famous Snapchatters to help you out. Check out this great guide for a successful Snapchat influencer outreach.
  • Once you’ve partnered with a suitable influencer in your niche, it’s time to co-create your product showcase video. You can opt for comparisons, how-tos, unboxings, or a testimonial video showcasing your product’s USPs. 
  • Influencers are masters at producing well-made content. Your influencer will be the one featuring your product on their account. That’s a no-brainer since you’re after your influencer’s massive followings and authority in your niche.

Benefits of Influencers & Product Videos

  • Attain massive reach & brand awareness

By choosing the right influencer for your brand, you’ll effectively reach your target audience. An influencer places your product in front of many Snapchat users interested in your niche. You’re simply taking advantage of their massive followings to drive traffic to your store.

  • Accelerate the brand credibility and trust process with your audience

Influencers have already earned the trust of their target audience, so when they promote your product through a video/story, your brand being affiliated with them also wins the trust of those who already engage with their content. That’s the power of social proof in action - that’s why it’s one of the best pieces of content worth investing in. People most of the time believe and trust the recommendations of those they see as niche experts.

6. Get Influencers to Host Special Video Sessions Via Your Snapchat Account

Crank up your Snapchat strategy by leveraging influencer marketing, where you can get influencers to host a takeover of your brand’s Snapchat account. Brands use this strategy to make the most out of the influencer’s credibility in their niches. By hosting a Snapchat account takeover, an influencer can promote your brand and increase your Snapchat following.

I came across this epic guide on hosting takeovers which are made for entrepreneurs and digital creators, but the principles and takeaways are pretty much the same for eCommerce brands.

(image from takeover post)

How It Works

  • Brands arrange an influencer takeover for many reasons. It could be to promote a product, boost brand awareness, or simply engage with their community. Regardless of your goals, your ideal influencer will host a special session and share content from your account.  
  • After setting up a collaboration, you’ll need to give out vital points so the influencer can shape a compelling story. Provide all key details in advance to ensure that you’re on the same page. You’d also want to give the influencer some creative control, letting them do what they do best.
  • Remember to promote your takeover. Cross-promote on another social media platform (like IG) and ensure the influencer does the same (remember, helps them with new content experiences with their followers). Give the influencer access to your brand’s account on the day of the session. And make sure to track engagements to see if you’re fulfilling your initial goal.

Why Takeovers Are Effective

  • Increase your snapchat audience

Influencers have already gathered a highly-involved audience. During an account takeover, your influencer also attracts their own followers to the story. This gives your brand thousands of new eyes that can potentially become loyal followers and customers. 

  • Re-engage your existing followers

Now’s your chance to re-engage existing followers who don’t currently pay attention to your channel. Influencer takeovers generate a lot of excitement and engagement. It could be enough to grab lost attention back to your content.

  • Social proof your brand

A famous niche influencer dropping by on your account just provides that extra ‘oomph’ when it comes to credibility, whilst also making the brand feel more authentic and relatable. Any sort of influencer marketing tactics have always been an excellent way to build brand social proof.

7. Run Q&A Exclusive Videos For Your Followers

Exclusive Q&As and AMAs (ask me anything) events may just be what you need to drive engagement and connect with your audience in a big way. These events allow your brand to be transparent, earning more trust from your followers. It could also present a smooth turn from the typical scripted content you dish out.

How Q&A's Operate

  • Snapchat Q&A videos are live stories where you answer audience questions about your brand, products, or specific industry topics. Followers can engage and get direct responses from you during these sessions.
  • You can do Q&As for product launches, authority-building, and more. You can even make it fun and personal, like those you see on “ask me anything” Q&As. 
  • It’s best to do your Q&A’s at a time when your audience and followers are most active/engaged. If you think it’s ideal, you can also take questions in advance and answer them at the event. 
  • Have a good mix of standard/common answers to questions - anything you can expect during the event. But also, make sure to brainstorm and prepare scenarios for maybe tougher questions that may be asked by customers and followers, because the last thing you want to do is to be seen/come across as unprepared. If you come across unprepared, not only does it reflect poorly on yourself and the brand, but it could be shared/talked around. 

The Benefits

  • Connect with your followers and build transparency

Exclusive Q&As are fun and personal. They’re a great way to engage with your valuable audience and earn their trust transparently. Q&As can also potentially offset any bad publicity if you manage to get it right.

  • Build excitement for your brand

Whether you’re promoting a product launch or building brand awareness, exclusive Q&As can provide the engagement you need. These events get your audience excited about what your brand is up to. 

8. Use Remarketing of Influencer Mashup Videos and Product Unboxing

Content repurposing is when you reuse existing content and deliver them in a different format or version. If you already have existing influencer content like unboxings or product showcases, why not put them together in one awesome mashup video. You can recycle old but valuable video content into other engaging cuts and transitions to get more life out of your content, as well as put onto other channels.

How Remarketing These Videos Work

  • Working with multiple influencers allows you to generate a stream of highly-targeted content. If there’s an influencer involved, you can expect audience engagement. But Snapchat stories don’t last very long, and they’ll be gone before you know it. That’s when repurposing this video content comes in.
  • You don’t have to let previous Snapchat content go to waste. If you’ve done multiple influencer promotions in the past, you can take the recordings, do a little remixing, and create a unique influencer mashup video. 

The Pros of This Strategy

  • Showcase eCommerce social proof

Standalone influencer promotional campaigns already increase brand credibility on their own. But a mashup of these influencers in one video? Think about the value that could bring to your Snapchat reach and brand recognition campaigns.

  • Get another chance to drive conversions

Spark another wave of interest around your brand using a fresh take on existing content. You’ve swayed your followers to convert the first time. Now you have the chance to do it again with the same influencers.

  • Beef up old content

The purpose of remixing content is to create something new and, in many cases, something improved. By creatively mashing up existing high-quality content, you get something more compelling than the original.

9. Leverage Snapcodes for Engagement and Data Collection

Have a physical storefront? Or perhaps you have an online business and want to do a pop-up shop at an event, local markets, or shopping centre? Then Snapcodes are a great strategy to bring digital into your offline marketing initiatives. 

You can use Snapcodes for getting people to see your profile page in just seconds, which is a great experience and a low barrier of resistance to check your brand out, compared to the process of trying to find your profile through searching. 

Now I know what you may be thinking - do brands actually use snapcodes for engaging customers, or do customers even know how Snapcodes work? Well the simple answer to both is a resounding yes, because even the big brands are using Snapcodes for smart campaigns, which combine both offline and online experiences.

Here’s a fantastic example by Evian, a natural water mineral company that nailed a Snapcodes campaign.

(image from Business Insider)

Wendy’s also did something similar, which is just as awesome. 

(image from Business Insider)

How To Setup Snapcodes

  • Creating your own snapcodes is pretty simple and straightforward. All you need to do is click on the ‘gear’ icon, and then you will see the prompts for setting up snapcodes. 
  • From there, there are so many things you can do for data collection, whether it be collecting email addresses, phone numbers, etc. 

Plus, they’re super easy to create - if you are unsure, this is a good tutorial

Types of campaigns for Snapcodes

You can get promote campaigns such as; 

  • Newsletters
  • Competitions/Contests
  • Local storefront (great for cafes or eCommerce stores with pop-ups)
  • Discount codes for your online store
  • Education content for your products (with CTA to buy)

There are many other ideas for promotion. You can push anything after users follow your business account. The goal is just to make it frictionless to sign up, which Snapcodes provide.

Why Snapcodes Work (And Are Worth Testing)

  • Bring digital to the offline world (less friction)

A great thing about snapcodes is that it provides a seamless experience for users to find and follow your profile. Once a user follows your account, there are lots of campaigns you can run to get them further engaged. 

  • Great for Gen-Z audiences (and many of us who are now used to QR codes)

Whilst snapcodes have been around for a while, Covid has certainly played a role in accelerating the adoption of using QR codes to retrieve information. Hence, you most likely use QR codes for some of your marketing initiatives, so why not consider adding a snapcode for Gen-Z audiences that come across your brand? I’ve always believed that QR codes are under-utilised on packaging and actual products in the DTC and eCommerce landscape, and believe it’s a big opportunity missed by many brands to better track offline engagement that they can then leverage for further cross-selling/upselling promotions.

 10. Engage your audience through polls and quizzes

We’ve all heard of polls and quizzes as a strategy for Instagram and Facebook stories, but they’re also an effective engagement format for Snapchat. 

Quizzes are also a popular way to collect and nurture leads, but the setup is a bit different compared to polls. See how each of them below works. 

How Polls Work

  • With polls, they’re super quick to set up. You can find how to create polls by clicking the “stickers” button on the right-hand side (pane) where you’d normally start filming content. Then you will see the various stickers you can choose from, with then the option to click on “polls”. From there, add your own questions and stickers to make it engaging. After, you can view the results.
  • There are a couple of other external apps you can use which has integrations with Snapchat to make it a more customised experience. The three apps to check out are: 
  • Polly - A really nice app that you can download from the App Store or Google Play store. Pretty straightforward to use.
  • PollsGo - it’s a free application on the web where you can create your own polls. Again, fairly straightforward, and you can use those polls you create not only for Snapchat but also for other social media channels like WhatsApp, IG, etc.

There are also other apps available around, but these two above are pretty good for more customised options.

Having mentioned these two options, you can actually also add polls to your posts (which I explain a little bit more just below), but I like the options you have with these three apps. 

How Quizzes Work

  • When it comes to quizzes, there’s a bit more involved when it comes to setup, but worth the time and investment if you get this right. There isn’t a native option within Snapchat to create quizzes, but there are two ways of creating one, depending on your goals. 
  • Option 1 - You can create some simple polls by posting questions as stories. You can post multiple stories with multiple questions, with the aim of getting followers to reply and engage. This strategy is great if the aim is to get your audience to engage with your content. Ideas of how to could apply to your eCommerce business are; asking questions related to products, doing an influencer interview, trivia questions relating to your niche, and many others I’m sure you can think of. The good thing about this tactic is that it doesn’t require much to set up and is a frictionless experience. 

(image credit from Alphr)

  • Option 2 - If you want to create a customised quiz experience that has more design customisation options, or want the ability to take people to a dedicated link and get users to opt-in, then it’s going to require a separate 3rd party solution. Here are two examples I’ve tried out before with Snapchat quizzes: 
  • Yolo - This is a really nice app that is just on iOS and Android. 

(image screenshot from the Google Play store)

  • Opinion Stage - this is a fantastic application for brand owners and eCommerce marketers to really ramp up their polls and quizzes on Snapchat (and also for other social media platforms). Really slick UX and is very easy to use for anyone just starting out with Opinion Stage.

Why These Engagement Formats Are Effective

  • Really engaging formats for audience insights (which you can also track via Snapchat insights internal tools)

A great thing about booth polls and quizzes is that they’re both great for engaging your target audiences without making them commit too much effort. Polls especially are great, where you can ask questions related to your products/services, and all that users need to do is click a simple button. If you carefully select the right questions (that you’re burning to find the answers and insights about), you can get some awesome intel into what your followers prefer. Smart tactic to use to ask questions related to product research. The same applies to quizzes. Even with some of the 3rd party solutions (such as Yolo and Opinion Stage above), which require a bit more setup and more ‘effort’ by users, it’s still a great experience for people to engage with and collect even more insights and info for your campaigns and goals.

  • Great to keep your brand top of mind in a noisy digital world

I also believe these formats are also good just for awareness and keeping top of mind. As a brand, you probably put a lot of effort into creating great content for your followers to view, but are they ‘really engaging’? There are a lot of ‘passive’ viewers on social platforms in general, and you have to remember that your followers are also following many other brands they love (I’m talking interests they have in general, not your competitors). So, you have to think of ways and get ‘signals’ from users to show they’re invested in what content you share as a brand. 

11. Repurpose your TikTok and Instagram Reels Footage (but be careful of music and sound commercial rights)

If you’re already putting resources into creating great content for TikTok and Instagram Reels, why not also share on Snapchat? Most of the content you share on these channels is most likely applicable to audiences on Snapchat. 

How It Works

Whenever filming content on these channels, make sure to save the original video to your camera roll or internal storage system. However, it’s important to note that you must be mindful of the commercial music rights on each platform. I recommend checking out these guides to be aware and careful.

Again, it’s important to note that you must abide by the terms and conditions for TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat when it comes to content, music, and other commercial considerations.

Why repurposing should be part of your strategy

  • ‘Squeeze’ out more (and make the most of your time and resources) from your content efforts

As you already know, creating original content takes time, but that doesn’t mean you have to make new original content every single time, for every single platform, for every single campaign. Having a process in place to repurpose content fast can really pay off dividends. Not to mention, you can create multiple versions of the same video depending on the content. For example, UGC influencer content. 

12. Do “Behind the scenes” videos interviewing team members

I’ve had mixed experiences over the years when it comes to making Snapchat work as a profitable channel. However, I know how effective this channel can be as a branding exercise for eCommerce businesses, which helps keep keeping audiences engaged (stay top of mind) and improve overall retention. 

That’s why producing content around your company and highlighting what’s happening ‘behind the scenes’ can be a really effective strategy for getting people to really ‘buy’ into the brand. 

How Behind-the-Scenes Can Work

It’s important not to overthink this sort of content strategy. Keep the content formats simple and authentic. There’s no need for fancy editing. It’s the sort of thing you can give to your social media marketer (assuming they work on-site) to walk around the office and film what’s happening.

Here are some ideas of what ‘behind-the-scenes’ content you can produce: 

  • Easily set up times with your existing employees and team members and ask them some simple questions about their day, their job, what they’re working on (etc.). Tip: good as a recruiting tactic. 
  • Show the unboxing of new products that are about to be released, so people get excited (and hopefully may enquire or make it a CTA for people to opt-in for a reminder via email).
  • Walk around the warehouse showing products getting shipped out.

There are many other ideas you can produce - just make sure to keep it feeling raw and authentic. 

Why This Sort of Content Performs

  • Build authentic relationships - be human

You’re building a relationship at scale through transparency which people absolutely love. It’s authentic content that helps build trust and a cult following. You want to make people feel part of something that they believe in. 

  • Keep top of mind without coming across sales-y 

As part of the overall customer journey, you’re most likely running direct-response ads with special deals, offers, and more with the aim of driving sales. Of course, this is important to do, but you also want to make sure it’s not the only thing visitors and consumers experience with your brand. As I mentioned above, it’s important that people see a “human side” to your business and that you’re adding value outside of just pushing products. Remember, it’s good to ask yourself what you would like to experience with brands. 

13. Share new product teasers and ask for feedback

I believe whilst Snapchat most likely won’t be your most profitable channel, it’s amazing to get actual product feedback from it. It’s like a fun way to do surveys without it feeling like surveys. This is a particularly smart way to disguise doing surveys to Gen-Z audiences.

We’ve talked about polls and quizzes already, which certainly coincides with this tactic, but you can easily share product teasers and ask for feedback by asking questions in stories. 

How It Works

  • The process is simple - all you need to do is to record a product unboxing video or perhaps take some photos and compare two products together. For example, “which colour would you prefer?”. Prompt users to respond to your content by saying, “let us know what you think” or simply saying, “comment below”.

Why This sort of Content Is Good To Test

  • It’s easy for Gen-Z audiences to actually reply

If your goal is to get product feedback from Gen-Z audiences, this is a great way to engage them and get insights fast.

14. Run Snapchat ads - Test Other Placements & Formats

Earlier in this guide, we talked about collections as an ad type and how they can be effective for eCommerce stores. Yet, there are other ad formats that can be applied to various campaigns you want to run. 

How Snap Ads Work, Plus Different Ad Formats

If you’re an experienced advertiser, it won’t take you long to get equipped with the ads manager. For those who are fairly new to running ads on social or have never used the Snapchat ads manager, I can also say it won’t take you long to understand what’s happening. 

Check out this step-by-step Snapchat ads manager guide by Buffer. There are also various YouTube video tutorials that you can check out.

As for formats and campaign ideas, here’s what you can test: 

  • Collections - we spoke about it above but wanted to mention it here again as well as part of this list. It’s a video ad that highlights the product in action, with four supporting images that users can swipe up and explore the product pages. Pretty good user experience overall for merchants. This is a great guide by Snapchat, which includes a couple of examples. It also includes requirements and other details to know how this format works.
  • Dynamic collections - very similar to the likes of Instagram and Facebook Collection ads, where you see three to four product images, accompanied by a main video or image.
  • Image / Video Ads - speaks for itself really. Still, a very effective ads format to drive leads and sales.
  • AR lens ads - We’ve spoken about AR lens and the power they have for UGC content, such as the Lenslist example. Also really effective for interactive and engaging ads. Just take a look at these examples below (as videos in action), which look so awesome. It also shows what happens when users click the CTA and how the store website populates in the app. 
  • Filter ads - We’ve also talked about Filter ads already, and it’s certainly a custom ad format to take advantage of. Just head to the inspirations library we’ve touched on already to find some awesome content produced by really top brands. 
  • Story ads - And as we all know, Story ads are an effective placement within the platform. Make sure to check out how these brands have produced stories as part of their ads campaigns. 

How Snapchat Ads Can Be Effective for Your eCommerce Store

  • Decent ad targeting capabilities

Overall, the ads targeting is pretty decent - of course, it doesn’t have the depth of targeting capabilities compared to the likes of Meta (Facebook and Instagram Ads), but there’s still a lot you can do, including the likes of custom audiences, lookalikes, 1st-party engagement targeting, and there are plenty of choices around interest-based targeting. You can also segment by ages, genders, specific audience lists (remarketing), devices, and others. 

  • Good ad settings with bid optimisations and pixel Snapchat analytics tracking

Yep, you can certainly track important events such as conversions, clicks, website visits and more. These events are fairly simple to set up. There is a developer mode that does take more time to set up, but well worth it if you see good results with this channel. In addition, similar to the other ad platforms, you can adjust bids automatically or through manual settings based on your objectives, whether it be target CPAs, target per swipe up, and many others. 

Tip: I’ve mentioned this a few times throughout this guide, but make sure to check out the Snapchat for Business Inspiration Library. They have an epic amount of case studies to learn how other brands used the platform for their campaigns. It also includes video examples that are epic.

Bonus: Snapchat Public Profiles

This isn’t so much of a ‘growth hack’, but it is a marketing strategy that brands should get on top of if they’re on the platform. 

Snapchat profiles are in many ways a similar profile structure to the likes of having a Pinterest, Instagram or TikTok profile, where you can share the latest updates, content, and products from your store on an officially branded Snapchat profile. 

So, what can you add to your Snapchat profile exactly? Basically, you can add: 

  • Your stories - both saved and public
  • A link to your store and product items
  • Any AR lenses you produce
  • Your bio and link

Here’s an example of Dior and their Snapchat business profile (which I’ve taken on the web version - which by the way, the team at Snap have done a great job with their new web app experience).

Oh, and this actually is found on Google Search, so it’s good to also do for your brand (which helps with your overall brand digital footprint).

The great news as well is that it’s all for free. So if I were you, I’d be signing up to a business profile asap.

⚡ Frequently Asked Questions ⚡

Is Snapchat for a business still worth focusing on as part of a wider digital marketing strategy?

Yes, it absolutely is still a good channel that has millions of active users, particularly Gen-Z audiences and mid-20-30 year olds. With this audience, there’s still a good opportunity for businesses, especially eCommerce companies, that have target audiences between the ages of 18-30 and generate awesome brand awareness. Sure, it doesn’t have the same active or total user sizes as TikTok and Instagram/Facebook. However, with the right strategies in place, it can still be a great channel for engagement, remarketing, and general TOF acquisition. I also believe with other social media platforms being so competitive, this channel can be used as an advantage.

What are some of the best features that eCommerce businesses should use on Snapchat?

I personally believe using some of the awesome Snapchat features that are available for businesses is certainly worth capitalising on. For example, doing a Snapchat story with a poll for customer research, to using Snap ads as a retargeting channel (similar to GDN and IG remarketing) for website traffic, sharing exclusive content as part of your loyalty program, and for collecting emails with a Snapchat-specific competition. Then you’ve got content-specific features such as Snapchat filters, polls, AR content, QR code (i.e. Snapcode), and more. There are so many possibilities where you can turn this channel into a big acquisition driver for your store. No one talks much about this social media platform as they once did years ago, but there’s still a big opportunity, and it’s worth the time investment to at least test and explore.

What are some of the core components that need to be considered when developing a Snapchat marketing strategy?

I think one of the main things to understand first is how Snapchat fits into your overall digital marketing strategy. As touched on earlier, it’s not the biggest channel for businesses to focus on compared to the other social media platforms, but it still plays a role in the overall ecosystem when it comes to organic audience building and brand awareness, as well as keeping customers/visitors engaged with your brand. For me personally and what I recommend to other eCommerce businesses, it’s the TOF awareness with competitions for email collection and website traffic, then doing remarketing ads across the various ad placements available. For early-stage growth eCommerce businesses, this is something I would certainly focus on. For larger brands, I’d be having similar focuses and then leverage stories and other content features (such as polls and quizzes) for engagement and customer research.

Are Snap ads easy to run, and can they be profitable?

I’ve got some good news for those who don’t have much advertising experience. I can say with confidence that you don’t need to be an experienced ads specialist to run Snap advertising (woo!). If you’ve run any sort of ads, at least across FB/IG, then you’ll pick it up quickly. For those who are completely green, it won’t take you long. There are a good amount of video tutorials on YouTube to help you. In terms of whether or not Snap ads can be profitable, I can certainly say they can be. However, it does take quite a bit of testing across campaigns, bid strategies (etc.), until you find some winning combinations that you can scale. At the very least, running remarketing is something I always recommend and is fairly easy to set up. If you run Instagram or TikTok ads, you already have epic video content which you can easily use and upload into the ads manager.

For eCommerce brands wanting to build up their Snapchat followers count, what are some awesome strategies that can help?

I shared quite a few strategies that can help bolster Snapchat follower counts fairly quickly. Big brands who haven’t got the most out of the platform have an advantage where they can promote their Snapchat business account through their other channels (e.g. emails/newsletters) and get followers fairly quickly. Suppose you’re still building up an audience overall. In that case, my three top recommendations for building up followers is running UGC viral competitions (where you can make it an entry requirement to follow your account - gleam is good software for this), running Snap ads (even if just remarketing) where they will discover your profile organically as they will be served your ads, and collaborating with influencers where they mention a CTA and shoutout for your brand. There are other strategies, of course, but if you do these three, you should get some good results.

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