7 Lessons We’ve Learned Running App Install Campaigns on Snapchat

Opinion: It’s easy to see why app marketers would want to advertise on Snapchat

Snapchat is quickly emerging as an excellent source of scalable, quality ad campaigns for marketers looking to drive app installs stockcam/iStock

Snapchat has made no secret of its desire to steal a piece of the mobile application advertising pie that is ruled by Facebook and Google.

The popular chat app has been rolling out a number of ad products over the last year designed to let app marketers tap into its 173 million daily users, many of whom fall into the highly engaged college-aged and millennial brackets that marketers crave.

And from what we’ve seen so far, after running install campaigns on the platform for several months, the company’s efforts appear to be working.

Since we first became an official Snapchat Ads Partner, we have run many campaigns on the platform, and our clients’ have generated a 30 percent lower cost-per-install rate on Snapchat compared with other platforms, while users acquired on the platform have converted to paying customers at a rate 30 percent higher. Meanwhile, the cost per action (for actions conducted post-install) was 46 percent lower than other channels.

Those numbers will surely fluctuate as Snapchat’s products mature, but they show strong promise for the early stages.

It’s easy to see why app marketers would want to advertise on Snapchat. It is the most popular social media app among teenagers and young adults in the U.S., and it is extremely “sticky”: Users open the app an average of 18 times per day and spend more than 30 minutes on it per day.

The platform also delivers more than 3 billion Snaps and serves over 10 billion video views every day, making it one of the most active social networks in the world.

To help app marketers turn all that consumer attention into downloads, Snapchat offers Snap Ads App Install. First introduced in beta last year and made available to marketers this spring, the format delivers a native experience, allowing Snapchatters to watch a trailer video and then swipe up to download the advertised app from the appropriate app store—all without leaving Snapchat. One tap later, the app installs in the background while the user continues Snapchatting. The experience is seamless and efficient, not to mention very effective.

Here are seven lessons we’ve learned from running successful app install campaigns on Snapchat.

  1. Keep creative simple: The ideal length for Snap Ads is three to five seconds, which doesn’t give marketers much chance to convey a complex message. Therefore, they must keep ad creative simple and concise, with a single-minded message that can be gotten across quickly and clearly. Ads should mirror the bite-sized and linear storytelling of other Snaps.
  2. Incorporate branding elements: While marketers must keep their messages concise, they still must not forget to incorporate brand elements as best they can. Highlighting the app name and logo is a necessity, as is using beautiful, high-quality artwork. But it’s also important to communicate a clear value proposition and unique differentiation so that consumers understand what the brand stands for.
  3. Make effective use of sound: More than two-thirds of all Snaps play with the sound on, giving marketers an excellent opportunity to enhance their ads with audio. The right voiceover can communicate an app’s value proposition, while also directing users to download the app as a call to action, or music can be used to set a specific tone. Meanwhile, Snaps with no audio or canned music might look cheap and unprofessional, so marketers who ignore the audio qualities of their ad risk negative brand affinity.
  4. Use goal-based bidding: Snapchat offers goal-based bidding so that advertisers can optimize campaigns by delivering them at the lowest cost possible to Snapchatters who are most likely to take whatever action the advertiser chooses. By targeting users most likely to swipe up on an ad (the equivalent of clicking-through on traditional ads) or installing the app, marketers can drive higher-quality downloads. A campaign that mixes approximately 50 percent optimization for swipes and 50 percent for installs will drive an effective mix of both scale and quality.
  5. Optimize for vertical video: This might sound like an obvious tip, given that all Snaps run vertically, but it’s surprising to see how many ads on the platform still aren’t optimized for vertical video or don’t take up the full space they are allowed. This usually happens because advertisers simply port video content from other platforms over to Snapchat, without fully optimizing it for Snapchat’s specifications—a big “no” when running ads unique to any platform.
  6. Run multiple campaigns: As with any emerging platform, running multiple campaigns helps advertisers get key learnings faster than they would by just running one campaign at a time. The more campaigns they have running, the more points of control they have to optimize for overall performance by adjusting levers such as bid amounts and ad creative—not to mention the more aggregate scale they will achieve. We recommend running a minimum of 12 campaigns or ad sets per operating system.
  7. Target the right users: Snapchat offers a variety of targeting options that advertisers would be foolish not to take advantage of. Aside from standard targeting options such as age, gender, location, device type, etc., the platform offers a mix of predefined audiences in categories based on lifestyles, events, life stages and more. And then there are advanced targeting options such as lookalike audiences or engagement audiences, which enables marketers to target users who previously interacted with their ads. Aim to include one targeting type per campaign, while ensuring sufficient reach.

Snapchat is quickly emerging as an excellent source of scalable, quality ad campaigns for marketers looking to drive app installs. By following the tactics described above, marketers will get the most from the platform and generate impressive growth for their mobile apps.

Ran Milo is vice president of marketing at ad automation platform provider Bidalgo.