Snapchat is giving retail and e-commerce brands new pointers about how to win customers and make sales on the app through video ads at a time when advertisers need all the creative help they can get amid the shakeup to mobile marketing.
Some of the tips include: The best video ads on Snapchat used close-ups of people; and the best-performing ads were the ones that had people talking directly to the camera, in a tight shot, similar to how a person might see a friend or family member sending selfies on the app.
This comes from a guide Snapchat created with one of its mobile marketing partners VidMob, a company that analyzes video consumption habits and uses the insights to help brands perform better. The study looked at about 11,000 Snap ads and 4 billion impressions to determine what works on Snapchat. Luke Kallis, VP of U.S. advertiser solutions at Snapchat, said it was one of the biggest studies analyzing ads on the platform and it spanned a years’ worth of creative.
“That makes a ton of sense, because if you’re on Snapchat, you’re using your phone all day to talk to your friends and family,” Kallis says. “And if an advertiser actually then presents themselves in a similar fashion, you would think the correlation of the impact would be there.” The close-up ads led to a 120% lift in video view rates, VidMob found.
When it comes to driving awareness to consumers who may not be aware of the brand or product, VidMob found longer ads were better.
In the conversion phase, however, the advertiser should make it snappier. That means quicker jump cuts with fast-moving scenes and urgent calls to action. That type of ad was better for getting someone to swipe up for more information or to put a product in a cart.
“We saw that awareness content was benefiting from having a slower pacing in the first couple seconds, so having one continuous scene in the first couple seconds was beneficial for awareness content,” says Sarah Graham, research strategist at VidMob. “Whereas we saw, when we looked at conversion content, actually quicker pacing, three to four scene changes in the first two seconds, was beneficial.”
People were 2.2 times more likely to click on a conversion-based ad with the quick-cut style in the opening scenes, the study found.
The study looked at retail and e-commerce brands, but Snapchat did not reveal the names of the test subjects. Snapchat is making a push to lure more advertisers into its ecosystem, especially performance marketers, ones that are more focused on the bottom line of sales and other goals. Snapchat’s ad business is starting to take off, too, reaching $911 million in the fourth quarter last year, a 62% increase year-over-year. Snapchat also has 265 million daily users now.
Kallis says that 50% of Snapchat’s advertising base is now direct marketing and performance-based, which was an “important evolution.” All the platforms, including Twitter and Pinterest, are trying to mimic the success that Facebook has had giving a full suite of tools for large and small brands to find customers and make sales.
However, the performance advertising market is undergoing major changes with updates coming to Apple’s iOS platform for iPhones and Google’s platform. The device makers, which also control web browsers and operating systems, are cracking down on sharing personal information. The privacy updates will make it harder to study exactly what works and what doesn’t in mobile marketing, because measurement companies will have a harder time tracking a consumer who saw an ad in one place, but made a purchase in another.
Platforms like Snapchat are trying to demonstrate that the brands can see the full path to purchase right in their app, from awareness to conversion. In recent weeks, Snapchat issued guidance to marketers and developers about what to expect when Apple rolls out its privacy changes in the iOS 14.5 update, expected to come within weeks. With less visibility into personal data, Snapchat advised that brands will need to make sure their creative is working harder.
That’s part of what makes its latest study on creative execution important. “With the updates and the evolution of ad targeting, it does put more onus on the creative itself to be effective,” Graham says.
Snapchat says this study into creative effectiveness was simply to provide research on what is, and what is not working; giving guidance to advertisers about how to think about different styles of ads depending on the goal.
“Irrespective of the changes in the overall marketing ecosystem,” Kallis says, “I just think all brands are getting smarter and more data-centric in the same way platforms and publishers are.”