Snapchat Advertising: A Complete Guide to the Ad Types You Need to Know

Snapchat’s advertising ecosystem has grown significantly since its highly anticipated Snapchat Ad API went live in 2016. This shouldn’t be a surprise. When you take note of the platform’s recent resurgence (Snapchat can now tout that 210 million people use Snapchat daily) and a slew of new, innovative ad formats as well as a host of cutting-edge targeting and measurement capabilities, it makes sense that the social advertising world is taking note.

Whether you’re trying to drive sales on your website, at your store, or downloads for your app, Snapchat can help you reach consumers with advertising experience proven to get results. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of the platform’s advertising solutions:

Ad Formats

Snap Ads 

In 2014, Snapchat’s first paid advertisement, a 20-second trailer promoting Universal’s movie, Ouija, appeared in users’ “Recent Updates.” Now called Snap Ads, these ad units no longer appear among Recent Updates. Instead, they thrive between Stories. 

Snap Ads

Collection Ads

Introduced to all advertisers in 2018, Collection Ads showcase a series of products and give users a tappable, frictionless way to shop and buy. Similar to standard Snap Ads, Collection Ads appear between Stories. 

Collection Ad

Story Ads

Originally called Promoted Stories, Story Ads, which are also available via Snapchat’s self-serve advertising platform, draw Snapchatters into a series of Snaps with a sponsored Discover tile that lives alongside popular content tailored to their preferences. 

Story Ads

AR Lenses

It’s hard to argue that Snapchat hasn’t ushered in the AR advertising craze. In fact, Snapchat’s banking its future on it. With AR Lenses, you can create memorable, interactive moments that Snapchatters can play with and send to friends—70 million Snapchatters play with AR Lenses every day. These mobile-first experiences close the physical gap between you and your customers and offer you a way to get users to spend significantly more time with your ads. 

AR Lenses


Snapchat Commercials, one of its newer ad formats can help you drive awareness with a non-skippable video in tandem with high-quality premium content. Originally maxed out at six seconds, Snapchat has since introduced extended play Commercials, which can run up to 3 minutes.

Snapchat Commercials

These ad formats can be paired with an array of objectives that span from awareness (branding), consideration (app installs, app traffic, website traffic, engagement, video views, and lead generation), and conversions (catalog sales, website conversions, and app conversions.

Dynamic Ads

Dynamic ads, which launched in 2019 are a goldmine for ecommerce, direct-response advertisers. From a high level, Dynamic ads sync directly to product catalogs, which means they’re always up-to-date. They can also be automatically created and targeted based on Snapchat users’ past behavior.

Snapchat Dynamic Ads


Ranging from interests and behaviors to general demographics and location, Snapchat’s targeting capabilities are what you’d expect. Snapchat also offers Custom Audiences and Lookalikes to allow you to retarget Snapchatter’s who have seen your ads or engaged with your business and expand your reach by finding Snapchatters similar to your existing customers, respectively. While similar to the targeting capabilities offered inside other native social advertising platforms, Snapchat’s selling point is that when combined with its highly engaged audience, you’re giving your ads a leg up.


Like any advertising (social or otherwise), you need good measurement and reporting solutions to optimize and reach your goals. Snapchat lets you do that. From a high level, you can get basic campaign performance metrics like impressions and swipes. You also have access to web and app conversion numbers, which can help you create retargeting audiences while optimizing bids for conversions with the Snap Pixel. Beyond that, Snapchat also offers more innovative solutions like Snap-to-Store, which leverages data to help you measure whether your ad campaigns drive Snapchatters to specific locations.

Want to learn more about Snapchat? Check out more from our blog.