Brands are using Snapchat to engage digitally-native Millennials and Generation Z, who communicate visually and actively opt-in to consume content they deem compelling. Successful brands have appealed to young people with fun, authentic content which facilitates creative self-expression and does not appear to be overt advertising. The ephemeral nature of Snapchat has subverted the conventional idea that brand messages need time and repetition to resonate.


Snapchat is a mobile visual communications app operated by Snap Inc. It allows its 210 million users to share and receive photos and videos on their smartphones. Content typically deletes itself within ten seconds, although the platform is increasingly allowing users to retain content for longer. Snapchat has a number of advertising options available to marketers to help them reach their audiences.

  • Snaps: images and videos which can be sent to a friend (or multiple friends) that expire after 10 seconds
  • Snap Ads: cinemagraphs, GIFs, still images or video ads up to 10-seconds long. They appear in the context of other Snaps.
  • Stories: a string of Snaps that are joined together and can be viewed for 24 hours on a rolling basis
  • Live Stories: a compilation of Snaps from certain locations and events, curated by Snapchat
  • Discover: pages are run by a variety of publishers like CNN, BuzzFeed, ESPN and Vice. Discover is in the style of a magazine which provides an immersive content experience. Display options include text overlaps and animation
  • Story Ads: an ad format that allows advertisers to reach their audiences with a branded tile in the Discover feed
  • Lenses and Filters: images or animations can be overlaid on Snaps and videos by consumers. Brands are able to create "sponsored" variants, too
  • Geofilters: overlays that communicate the “where and when” of a Snap in a fun way
  • Commercials: six second, non-skippable video within Snapchat’s premium content
  • Collection Ads: made-for-commerce ads allowing brands to showcase a series of products, which users can tap for more details

Key insights

1. Snapchat is a key platform through which to engage Gen Z consumers