9 Creative Ways Brands are Using Snapchat for Marketing

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Snapchat used to be just another social media platform popular mostly among teens. But now they’ve managed to get out of the photo-messaging service niche after the addition of some neat marketing features like chat, storytelling, geofilters and branded filters.

With a market value of 20 billions dollars and with 100 million users and counting mostly 13 to 24 years old, it does not come a surprise why brands from different industries are using Snapchat to connect with their fans and potential customers. Almost everyone is on the platform. It’s cost efficient. The interactions are quick yet highly personal and engaging.

Are you considering Snapchat marketing for your business?

In this article, we will show you the nine creative ways brands are using Snapchat for their marketing campaigns. We will highlight some key takeaways for each example and some general tips you can apply as you start marketing your business on the app.

Run shoppable ads like Lancome and Target

Some of the first few brands to launch shoppable ads on Snapchat are Lancome and Target. They launched their ads within Cosmopolitan’s Discover channel. This is the section of the app where Cosmo publishes daily stories.

Both brands’ on-platform shopping ads appear in between Cosmo’s published stories and videos, each having a 10-second CTA prompting viewers to swipe up for more details.

Snapchat shoppable ads like Lancome and Target

Snapchat’s shoppable ads make shopping on mobile truly a breeze. Shoppers do not have to leave the app if they want to purchase something they like and this is a huge advantage for social ecommerce.

For Target, users interested to check out their weekly products as featured on the ad only need to swipe down on their screens to launch Target’s mobile website. From there, they can view the weekly items and place them inside their shopping carts.

On the other hand, Lancome’s shoppable ads feature its new makeup products. Interested users can swipe down on their screens and they will be directed to the specific product page without exiting the app to know more details.

Key takeaway: Despite the 10-second cap, there is still plenty of room for you to make creative campaigns. Link branded content to your shoppable ads. This allows you to elaborate more on your offer without being compromised by time and without making your users leave the app.

And beyond shoppable ads, you can use Snapchat’s ad product for your other conversion goals, like app installs. Mobile game, Cookie Jam, was the first to run an app-install ad on Snapchat.

Release preview of new products like NARS

As if the use of the app is not engaging enough, you can make things even more exciting for your followers on Snapchat by releasing sneak peeks of your new collection or new products before it hits the racks.

NARS, a cosmetics company, did just that by releasing a preview of its Guy Bourdin color makeup collection on Snapchat. The branded content was cross-promoted from its official Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Release new products like NARS on snapchat

Only users who added the NARS account on Snapchat 24 hours prior to the big reveal were able to access the content. This exciting use of Snapchat helps add that exclusive and personalized touch to content that brand followers can enjoy ahead of everyone else.

Similarly, Taco Bell used Snapchat to announce the release of its newly improved Beefy Crunch Burrito. Cross-promoted on Twitter, Snapchat users who added Taco Bell on Snapchat received a “snap” of the newly improved burrito and its release date.

new product announcements on Snapchat

Key takeaway: If you want to grow your base on Snapchat, bring your exclusive content over to the app. Cross promote it using your existing social media channels for traction.

Share private content like Michael Kors

More on bringing exclusivity to your content, you can deliver private content to your followers on Snapchat. This is a great way to expand your content marketing strategy and keep news exciting for your brand followers. Michael Kors does this on its Snapchat account.

Share private content like Michael Kors on snapchat

From debuting new collections before it hits the runway to giving exclusive updates from fashion shows and the backstage, Michael Kors pours all of its branded and exclusive content on its Snapchat account. This strategy is popular among fashion brands too because it allows followers to have a peek of an event not a lot get invited to.

At a particular Valentino fashion show in Paris, Zoolander actors, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson reprised their movie roles with a runway walk-off. The picture of the actors while preparing for the show was shared on Snapchat. Even a special lens was created in honor of the occasion. The picture was shared prior to the show, which generated a lot of buzz among the brand’s followers.

Key takeaway: Give your followers that fun “backstage” access to what you are currently busy with so far with your brand. Exciting your followers is a great ingredient for engagement.

Run games and contests like GrubHub

Everyone loves social media. Even more so when gifts and promos are up for grabs. GrubHub, an online food delivery service, succeeds in this area of social media clamor and they know how to engage with their Snapchat followers by throwing a variety of fun games and contests every now and then.

In fact, GrubHub was the first brand to run a fun scavenger hunt game on Snapchat. During its five-day campaign, they asked their followers to share a foodie selfie or a food doodle for a chance to win a food order worth 50 dollars.

Run games and contests like GrubHub on snapchat

This engagement campaign allowed GrubHub to show its fun personality and exhibit a two-way communication among its patrons. GrubHub was also able to generate user generated content and increase brand loyalty.

And beyond fun and games, GrubHub also uses Snapchat in looking for new interns, proving that Snapchat is a versatile platform to use for marketing.

GrubHub on snapchat

Key takeaway: Encourage user generated content, a form of social proof, through games. Giving away prizes as incentives is fool-proof in attracting participation. And more than your marketing needs, use Snapchat too for any structural needs you may have.

Showcase brand transparency like Everlane

In November 2015 when Everlane, an online retail company, joined Snapchat, they declared that it will make the app its de facto social media channel. The reason why they did so was because of the transparency Snapchat afforded them – a complete alignment to its brand ethos.

While they still keep their Facebook account for nurturing its existing relationships, Snapchat, according to them allowed them to display their radical approach towards brand transparency. They are able to be bold, raw, be completely unedited and simply be the brand they want to be.

On Snapchat, they share a backstage pass into their business, record live events and let their followers in on their unique culture. Tours of their office space, previews of their new products and interviews with their customers visiting their physical store are published regularly using the Snapchat Story feature. Their weekly Q&A sessions aptly called “Transparency Tuesdays” are reserved for followers to ask questions they have about the company.

Key takeaway: Dare to be unedited when it comes to your interactions with your Snapchat followers. It is easier to identify a brand when the brand humanizes itself.

Show unique personality and niche like General Electric

General Electric is probably the last brand you will expect to see on social media. But they are not. In fact, they are everywhere. Even on DIY-inspired platform, Pinterest. Their “Hey Girl!” series reveals the brand’s fun and geeky personality. And so it does not come as a surprise for General Electric to join Snapchat too. Their first Snapchat was a fun drawing of space travel, hinting at the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing.

Show unique personality like General Electric on Snapchat

Just like its other social media presence, General Electric seeks to encourage their followers’ interest on science. To get the conversations going, they answer their followers’ questions using scientific concepts in a way that’s fun and easy to understand. Followers are also encouraged to send them an emoji, which will be rewarded with a unique science experiment in return.

The disappearing nature of its content is designed to encourage followers to constantly engage with them and help them celebrate science, invention and innovation.

Key takeaway: Showcase your unique personality on Snapchat. Be creative and interesting with your interactions through unique and engaging content.

Have a custom Snapchat lens created like Gatorade

Despite not having its own Snapchat account, Gatorade was one of the first brands to have a custom Snapchat lens made just in time for the 2016 Super Bowl. As it is customary for winning football teams to dump a cooler of sports drink on their coach’s head, Gatorade did a similar approach by giving Snapchat users a Gatorade bath by using their customized lens.

And on top of that, Gatorade had a sponsored ad featuring Serena Williams, who is also sponsored by Gatorade, being dumped with a cooler of Gatorade on her head while using the lens. Gatorade tweeted a GIF of its Snapchat lens and by the end of the day, the custom made lens was reportedly viewed 100 million times.

custom Snapchat lens for Gatorade

A sponsored Snapchat lens takes at least six weeks to create. Aside from Gatorade, major brands like L’Oreal Paris, Urban Decay and Starbucks already had custom lenses created.

And despite the cost and the time it takes to develop, brands are willing to secure an ad unit because people are already engaging with Snapchat lenses, and these brands are simply creating a more playful way to execute it.

Key takeaways: Riding on the holidays or special events like the Super Bowl is a fantastic way to make your campaigns gain more popularity. It is an advantage that creates even more ROI when tied with marketing features like Snapchat’s lenses.

Promote exclusive items like Amazon

While Amazon’s purpose for its Snapchat account was to promote its deals, it revamped its account to just focus on product promotions. And that’s exactly what they did for their Echo smart speaker.
The Echo smart speaker is a voice-activated home speaker. An exclusive Amazon product, it can perform a variety of functions, thanks to its integration with other companies like Spotify, Uber and Domino’s Pizza.

Through voice recognition, the Echo smart speaker can stream music on Spotify, book a car on Uber and order a pizza from Domino’s. Of course, users of the Echo smart speaker can make their orders on Amazon without using a laptop or a smartphone. And to further show off the product, Amazon had a Snapchat takeover by one its ambassadors where the features of the Echo smart speaker were put to use and just in time for the 2016 Super Bowl.

Amazon on Snapchat

From setting alarms, checking the scores and predicting who will win the Super Bowl, Amazon managed to make its exclusive product the star of its Snapchat feed.

Key takeaway: If you have any exclusive products you want to promote, consider doing it all out on Snapchat. Videos and images you can share will allow you to add more context and excitement to your item. Timing it also on special events can help with your engagement and relevance.

Have a fun Snapchat takeover like Sour Patch Kids

Nothing can be a better boost in your social proof than partnering with brand ambassadors or influencers. It is a smart way of spreading the kind of awareness and reach you may not achieve through traditional media.

Snapchat takeovers are even better when the influencer you are partnering with is skilled on the app just like the Sour Patch Kids’ partnership with Logan Paul. This was for its “Real-life Sour Patch Kid” campaign.

Sour Patch Kids on Snapchat

You too can do a fun Snapchat takeover with the help of your brand influencers. The first step is to identify what your goals are.

Do you want to increase your followers? Do you want to reach and engage with new people? Do you want your influencers to endorse your products? List down all the goals you have in mind and arrange them according to priority.

The second step is to find the right influencer. This person should be someone who matches your brand personality, speaks in your tone and knows your product well too. This will authenticate the engagements your partner influencer will do during the takeover campaign.

The third step is to coordinate with your chosen influencer. Collaborate with them on the campaign you want to launch. Their ideas and feedback can help you add structure to the takeover. Schedule the date, time and the content you wish for them to post.

And finally, after the takeover, measure your results. Were your goals achieved? Do note that archiving tools are not yet available on Snapchat so make sure to do the proper documentation on your end during the whole account takeover.

If you are thinking you need a popular influencer right away, you may consider putting someone in charge of your Snapchat account who isn’t. Wet Seal is an online clothing retailer for teens. For its takeover, It handed over its Snapchat account to a teen blogger for two days. The takeover resulted in 9,000 new followers and 6,000 views of My Story.

Wet Seal on Snapchat

Key takeaway: If you are starting out on Snapchat, consider an account takeover with one of your brand influencers. Their engaged followers will be a great addition to your Snapchat account too.


Be creative on Snapchat and use it well to successfully reach and market to your customers. To get you started, some of the goals you can set for your Snapchat campaigns are:

  • to run engaging contests (just make sure to have very simple rules to follow and it takes advantage of Snapchat’s fun features)
  • to give your followers sneak peaks into your new products
  • to give away coupons and discounts
  • to share some exclusive behind-the-scenes footage about your business
  • to introduce a new ambassador or a member in your businesses
  • to run targeted videos

As Snapchat is continuously receiving funding and more ways to monetize on the platform are created, having a presence on Snapchat can make you relevant in the eyes of your followers. Staying ahead of the curve will allow you to reach the niche demographic you want to target and get the most out of your existing and potential customers on social media.

To start your brand communication on Snapchat, create a Snapchat account. Make it easy for your followers to add you by coming up with a short, yet distinct username. Create a Snapchat code too so users can easily add you up.

Cross-promote it on your other social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for better traction.

Reward your followers with either a contest, a sneak peek or a coupon relevant to your brand. Share meaningful, fun and engaging visual content throughout the platform and leverage on Snapchat’s different features like custom lenses, shoppable ads and My Story to send targeted content your followers will look forward receiving.

What about you – what’s your brand’s Snapchat story?

About the Author

John Komarek is the founder of Pixelter. He helped over 63 e-commerce businesses boost their mobile sales by up to 183.5%. He uses advanced UX research, A/B testing, and AI-driven personalization to deliver the results. Learn more about how he can help you grow your sales.

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