Snapchat Story Ads: Everything You Need to Know

Looking to add a new dimension to your paid social campaigns?

Keen to experiment with a fresh format?

Searching for a different way to engage your audience?

Well, we’ve got just the thing.

Snapchat Story ads are a highly versatile format that can support a range of campaign objectives and deliver engaging communications to your audience.

If you’re looking to diversify your paid social activity and add a unique format into the mix, then Snapchat Story ads could be the way forward.

Read on to discover everything you need to know about this format, and how you can utilise Story ads effectively within your social campaigns. 

What are Snapchat Story ads?

If you’re already running paid social campaigns on platforms like Facebook, then you’re probably familiar with the ‘Story’ format.

However, Snapchat Story ads appear in their own unique environment, offering advertisers valuable opportunities for user engagement. 

Story ads appear in the Snapchat ‘Discover’ section. You can think of this section as a news feed – it contains a selection of tiles from publishers and influencers, which users can tap to view stories. 

These publisher stories work in the same way as Instagram stories. You tap to move through a selection of different videos and images or swipe to move between publishers.

Here’s a snapshot of the Discover section, filled with publisher tiles:

So where do Snapchat Story ads appear? 

There are two ways for your Story ads to appear when you advertise on Snapchat. 

The first is ‘between content’ – this means an individual ad appears in a sponsored slot among existing publisher stories. 

For example, let’s say I tap on a Sky News tile. I’m presented with a couple of stories from the publisher (including some big news for any Adele fans out there) and then served a sponsored Story ad from Jiffy.


Placing your ads between publisher stories is a great way to capitalise on user interest and attention. Since your audience is already actively engaged and consuming content, it’s the perfect time to present your message.

The second Story placement is a Branded Tile in Snapchat’s Discover section. 

Branded Tiles provide you with strong visibility on the front page of the Discover section. Once tapped, they can open up to reveal between 3-20 single images or videos, so there’s plenty of room to get creative. 

Here’s an example of a Branded Tile. As soon as I open the Discover section, I’m presented with a standard publisher tile, and a sponsored Gillette tile right next to it. 


When I tap the Gillette tile, I’m taken to a separate video asset, where I can also hit a CTA to visit the Gillette mobile website. This creates a smooth user journey for those browsing the Discover page. 

Both variations of the Snapchat Story ad fit seamlessly into the Discover section and make it easy for users to shift from consuming publisher content to engaging with paid advertising.

Plus, the ability to include a CTA in Story ads means you’re able to nudge direct action. 

(It’s worth noting that Branded Tiles aren’t necessary for a Story campaign – if preferred, advertisers can just run ‘between content’ assets.) 

What are some examples of Snapchat Story ads? 

So now that you’re familiar with Snapchat Story ads, let’s take a look at some sterling examples of the format in action.

Here’s one Story ad from Slater Menswear. This Branded Tile opens up to reveal 6 different image assets, displaying a few select items from the Slater winter collection. 

This is a good example of simple, quality visuals being put to good use. The assets aren’t cluttered with text, the different images showcase the product range nicely, and the CTA is clear. Good stuff. 

Here’s another example of a Branded Tile from Apple. This opens up to reveal 4 different image assets, showcasing products from the iPhone 13 collection. 

Once again, simplicity is key here. The visuals make the products look sleek and stylish, and the ads aren’t overburdened with text. 

If you’d like to gather some more inspiration for your Story ads, Snapchat has a collection of case studies and successful campaigns here

What are the specs for Snapchat Story ads? 

Feeling ready to create your own Snapchat Story ads? 

Superb.

But before you get cracking with a new campaign, it’s important to nail down the ad specs. 

Firstly, let’s look at the specs required for a Branded Tile in the Discover section. 

Logo:

  • File type: .png
  • Resolution: 993px x 284px 

Image:

  • File type: .png
  • Resolution: 360px x 600px

Story title

  • Up to 55 characters with spaces

For the Story ads themselves (appearing ‘between content’ or within Branded Tiles) the following specs apply:

Story Ad asset

  • File type: .jpg, .png, .mp4, or .mov 
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16 
  • Resolution: 1080px x 1920px
  • Length: 3-180 seconds
  • Attachments: Website, app, long-form video or Snapchat Lens

Brand/Headline/CTA

  • Brand: Up to 25 characters with spaces 
  • Headline: Up to 34 characters with spaces
  • Calls-to-action: Select the CTA text. Snapchat applies the visual and places the CTA on the ad automatically

Always refer back to the detailed specs when producing assets. Trust us – messing up specifications can lead to costly edits and delayed campaign launches. 

These are headaches worth avoiding.

If you need any more guidance on creating Snapchat Story ads, you can always check out the Snapchat Business Help Center

How should I use Snapchat Story ads? 

Snapchat Story ads offer a lot of versatility for advertisers. They can be flexed to suit several different campaign objectives. 

So what are some of the best ways to use them? 

Showcase products and services 

The nature of Story ads makes them an ideal candidate for displaying new products or collections.

Since users can quickly tap between different assets, advertisers can easily show off a range of individual products and encourage conversions from their target audience. 

Alternatively, you might choose to focus on a single hero product, and use each asset to display different features or multiple camera angles. Clear and impactful visuals are the key to success. 

Drive direct conversions

Snapchat Story ads can also help you to effectively drive conversions. 

The simplicity of Story ads means that there isn’t much to distract users from your CTA. 

This enables a quick and clear path to purchase. If you can rapidly convey your key selling points and showcase your products, then you’re in a great position to deliver clicks and conversions. 

When fuelled with accurate targeting, Story ads can deliver some exceptional performance.

Deliver informative content 

If you’re looking to tell more of a story through your image or video ads, then Story ads can provide the perfect platform.

Since users are actively seeking out fresh content on the Discover page, they’re in a brilliant mindset for receiving new information from brands. 

The short and snappy format of Story ads also lends itself to some punchy storytelling. Although you’re limited to 10-second video assets, you can run up to 20 of them in a single placement, meaning you can deliver your narrative in bitesize chunks. 

A compelling brand story (or ‘how to’ guide) can be highly engaging for your prospects. 

What are some best practices for Snapchat Story ads?

Snapchat is a unique social media environment, and there’s an art to creating effective assets for the platform. Fortunately, following some best practices goes a long way!

Keep your visuals simple and eye-catching

Snapchat is a highly visual platform. The most impactful ads tend to focus strongly on bold imagery and avoid excessive text. 

Try to utilise visuals that place your products or services at the centre of the ad. 

You only have limited time to deliver your message, so make sure that your assets are eye-catching and direct. Motion and colour can be powerful tools when you’re competing for attention on a social platform.

Here’s a great example from Calvin Klein – a video asset packed with diverse visuals, product shots and a striking red colour palette. 

Maintain consistent messaging

When you’re encouraging users to swipe through multiple assets in a single Story ad, you need to ensure that your messaging is consistent and easy to follow.

Are you showing off multiple products from the same collection? Or highlighting the different benefits of a single product? 

Pick an angle, and stick with it. Suddenly changing the theme of the Story can be confusing, and might deter potential prospects from engaging. 

Here’s a good example from Armani. Each asset in this Story contains sleek product images from their AX watch collection, and the focus of the ad is abundantly clear. 

Make an impact with Branded Tiles 

If you’re utilising Branded Tiles, be sure to make the most of the space you’re working with.

The Discover section is fantastic for reaching engaged prospects, but it’s a busy space. You’ll be competing with publishers and influencers for the attention of users. 

Use vibrant colours and interesting images in your Branded Tiles. Users are likely to scroll past dull and bland visuals, so you need to make a statement. 

Here’s a good example from a Smiley and H&M collaboration – the Branded Tile is colourful enough to stand out in-feed, and also gives a taster of the products in the collection. 

So there you have it – everything you need to know about Snapchat Story ads. 

(We really did mean everything.) 

These unique formats can be a valuable addition to your paid social arsenal, so don’t be afraid to experiment on the Snapchat platform and test out a Story campaign. 

Best of luck!

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