Advertisers have begun aggressively courting millennial consumers as they spend more time on digital platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. But given that nearly a fifth of the Snapchat demographic “hates” ads and another third fails to notice them, brands face an uphill battle to gain attention on the platform.

Here are some common errors observed in our recent report:

Making Snapchat ads look like TV commercials

Toyota recently advertised its new Corolla on Snapchat’s Daily Mail and Vice Discover channels. However, the ads looked identical to those that aired on TV, even featuring the same disclaimer text. This is a clear misstep: brands must create new and novel content to resonate with viewers who opt for subscription video over broadcast outlets and frequently use ad blockers. Coach provides a best-in-class example of this practice, with ads on the Sweet Discover channel that feature fashion and lifestyle stories produced in the same style as the channel’s editorial coverage.

Making the shopping process too clunky

Swipeable ads sound tempting, but the technology can make simple transactions overly complicated. In October, Express used Snapchat’s Discover Shop Now ads to promote a special sale. Swiping up on the ad was supposed to provide followers a discount code, but in reality it was a tedious process requiring you to navigate through five mobile pages, fill in multiple fields, and then retrieve the code from your email.

In contrast, U by Kotex offered a much more seamless experience without the addition of swipeability. Posted on Cosmopolitan’s Discover channel, the ad simply asked users to visit to receive a free product sample.

Not doing anything

Despite missteps, these brands seem to be at the forefront of Snapchat advertising: L2 research reveals that many brands with Snapchat accounts struggle to produce any content at all. Nearly a third of brand accounts were inactive during the one-month study period, particularly in the Watches & Jewelry sector, where just 47% of brands posted anything. This suggests that while brands may view Snapchat’s value as a platform to reach millennials, they lack the wherewithal to invest in the necessary content.


By Elizabeth Rosen, writer at L2 inc

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