Snap for D2C brands? Absolutely! Here’s how brands are using it for UA!

August 19, 2021
6 min
Farhana Rahman

In 2019, Snap introduced a new feature to help retailers and brands automatically personalize their adverts in real-time: “Dynamic Ads.” Dynamic Ads are a simple way to personalize ads for customers. 


By leveraging catalogs, the Snap Pixel, or a brands own Mobile Measurement Partner, the Dynamic Ads feature automates ad creation, while optimizing towards actions that matter most to your D2C business, like driving purchases online or in app. The ads automatically adjust to reflect live product prices and availability. 


D2C brands saw it as a godsend, as they were vying for a slice of the lucrative online advertising sector, as the rise of social shopping and growing numbers of digital touchpoints generated new opportunities for consumer engagement. Snap also launched Platform Burst campaigns, for advertisers looking to ensure reach with high frequency. Through Platform Burst campaigns, advertisers are guaranteed that at least 40 percent of their target audience will be reached 15 times in a period of three or five days. In terms of reach, 62 percent of its users are female, and 72 percent of its users use iOS.


The growth marketers and UA managers of the DTC brands knew all too well that with Snap entering the arena, competition began to build when it came to splitting the budget with other popular ad networks, such as Facebook and Google. In general however, and to this day—brands that are looking to drive conversion amongst Gen Z and Millennial audiences know that Snap can be worth their while. After all, Snap is bigger and stronger than Facebook and Instagram for targets that are under 34 years old, which is important for younger brands.

Growth managers are diversifying media budgets

DTC brands are increasing their spending on Snapchat this year as part of the ongoing push to diversify media budgets. Media buyers say spending on Snapchat has increased roughly 10 percent year-over-year with the platform accounting for anywhere between 10 percent to 25 percent of media budgets now. 


Why the increased use of Snapchat for UA? Many DTC advertisers have been looking to make sure they aren’t reliant on a single platform, and feel the need to diversify their budgets. Snapchat is also known to be more sophisticated than TikTok when it comes to targeting and direct response capabilities. When used correctly, it’s an opportunity for DTC brands to spend more and potentially at a greater return. Snap’s direct response capabilities and audience targeting sophistication is comparable to that of Facebook’s ad network. For instance, using intent-based formats, such as story, is very helpful and shows great results with low CPM, even in the U.S for under three dollars.


Snap is also supporting Server Side conversion, which allows growth marketers to leverage internal data to send data driven events and conversions to Snap. Depending on the data shared and timeliness of integration, Snap states that it is also possible to leverage events passed via Conversions API for solutions such as custom audience targeting, campaign optimization, Dynamic Ads, and more.

Snapchat offers several targeting options

One of the most beneficial features that Snapchat offers is goal-based bidding, which (as the name implies) allows growth marketers to bid towards desired actions. It essentially allows for the optimization towards a specific action that a Snapchatter would be more likely to take, such as installing an app, watching a video, or completing a purchase. According to their website, “By specifying the cost-per-action in the ‘Delivery’ section of Ads Manager, impressions will be delivered to efficiently achieve that outcome. Once you’ve unlocked goal-based bidding on Snapchat, be sure to take advantage of different bidding strategies.” Additionally, to drive ad engagement, Snap recommends using Target Cost Bidding to help drive scale by entering the Snap Auction at a higher and more competitive price, while also meeting the goal CPA.


Snapchat Insights, the platform’s built-in analytics tool that can tell you the viewer count over weeks, months, and years, as well as the viewers’ age, location, gender, and even interests, and their attention span. Snapchat’s targeting options include:

  • Interests & Behaviors – target Snapchatters based on the things they like and do
  • Demographics – targeting by age, gender, categories like household income or parental status
  • Location – country, location category (like “universities”), a radius around a specific addresses
  • Custom Audiences – retargeted Snapchatters who have already seen your ads or engaged with your business
  • Lookalikes – expand your reach by finding Snapchatters similar to your existing customers


Snap is maturing quite rapidly as it puts greater focus on growth marketing capabilities to support performance. It is providing marketers the ability to leverage their internal data, and even events based on data modeling. This is particularly beneficial for DTC companies that are looking to conduct enhanced UA campaigns with an added dose of LTV signal optimization. Snapchat gives brands the ability to highly target their advertising spend, especially in the U.S market, which offers more granular demographic data than is available for most of the rest of the world. Brands that are looking to use Snap expand their UA efforts outside of the U.S find France and Arab countries to be tier one for English speaking audiences, as the CPM in those regions are low, and users are of high quality. 

Case studies: 

How Dr. Squatch is using Snap for UA

DTC men’s soap brand Dr. Squatch is putting 10 percent of its digital ad spend on Snapchat. Currently, the brand dedicates an estimated 65 percent of its digital ad spend to Facebook, 20% to YouTube, and 10 percent to Snapchat with remaining dollars invested in what it does consider experimental channels — like TikTok and influencer marketing.


It started as an experiment where they utilized in-feed ads on the platform, and produced paid video content geared toward Snapchat’s Gen-Z audience, but they are beginning to take it more seriously, because Snap has proven to be a strong partner with a unique ability to target Gen-Z, especially in retail.

Zenni with AR-based formats

Zenni, a popular DTC eyewear retailer, collaborated with Snap, for ongoing Snapchat AR campaigns. It started in fall of 2020, with an AR-powered try-on experience with a handful of Zenni’s frames. The campaign proved to be successful, and led to a Valentine’s Day themed experience which captured over 1.5 million try-ons from customers across the U.S. Additional AR-powered campaigns are underway for the brand, thereby demonstrating that it would be in the best interest of other DTC brands to follow suit and experiment with AR-based formats on Snapchat.


All in all, while DTC brands are still at the cusp of many transformative changes anyway, they may want to explore UA campaigns with Snap. When considering the fact that competition isn’t as fierce on Snap compared to other major ad networks, there’s no harm in giving it a shot.


Farhana Rahman
Senior Content Strategist

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