Snapchat is pushing marketers to make ads that look like they were made on Snapchat


A recent Snap Ad by Pepsi

With a flurry of recent updates to its ad products, Snapchat is inviting marketers of all sizes to buy ads on the social app. But the company still seems intent on keeping its sanctity intact.In other words, despite opening up its doors to the ad masses, it still wants Snapchat to look like Snapchat.

Come July, advertisers will have access to a slick new creative tool called Snapchat Publisher, which will let them create ads in less than two minutes. But before the tool is widely rolled out, Snapchat seems to be doing some quality-control.

The company has been circulating updated specifics and guidelines that marketers are encouraged to keep in mind while creating Snap ads, multiple sources told Business Insider. The updated “Creative Guidelines & Specs” deck for Snap ads started making the rounds earlier this month , when the platform announced a series of new ad efforts, including a new Ad Manager tool and a Certified Partners program, apart from the Publisher tool.

“The general theme on Snapchat has been to use all the tools at our disposal to create low-fi ads instead of polished ones,” an agency media buyer, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “But we’ve been getting more of those directives the past few weeks.”

“They’ve definitely been pushing for content that feels native to the platform,” said Jill Sherman, svp of social media at DigitasLBi. “They’ve always emphasized content that feels as though it was created on the app itself, instead of being highly produced.”

Snapchat pioneered the vertical video format, and the new Publisher tool makes it even easier for marketers to adopt it. It can import existing brand assets, trim horizontal videos for the vertical format and also offers Snap-provided ad templates.

Since Snapchat is throwing open the ad floodgates, it makes sense that it would remind marketers of the guidelines for Snap Ads.

“Not all creative agency partners are used to creating videos just for platform,” said Sherwin Su, associate social director at digital agency Essence.

But Snapchat has tweaked some of these best practices, too. There are two key differences in the most recent set of guidelines put forward by the company, pointed out Su, associate social director at digital agency Essence.

“Brands are no longer limited to videos, the latest update allows more formats in snap ads including still images, gifs, cinemagraphs and slideshows,” he said. “And sound is now optional.”

According to another anonymous agency social lead, Snapchat is continuing to do creative tests, even encouraging marketers to incorporate organic native tools on the platform like bitmojis and stickers. While it currently allows only emojis and text graphics, it restricts the inclusion of Snapchat native creative tools in ads. That might change moving forward, said the source.

Here are some key guidelines for creating Snap Ads posted by the company:

  • The ads must be full screen and vertically formatted, and feature visual branding
  • Strong and relevant call-to-action for Snap Ads with attachments are encouraged
  • No letterboxing/borders of any kind, static collages that fill the screen for the entirety of the ad, copy-heavy ads or the use of Snapcodes or Snapchat usernames
  • No imitation of Snapchat native creative tools and UI features like static doodles, stickers, Bitmoji
  • For Snap ads that have web view attachments, no URLs with auto-playing video or audio, or Facebook, Instagram or Twitter URLs


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