How To Use Snapchat For Ecommerce

May 18, 2022

Marin Perez

Snachat for ecommerce

Advertising on social media is a great way to boost ecommerce sales. Most retailers are familiar with Facebook ads and you may even be dipping your toes into TikTok advertising for ecommerce—but don’t overlook Snapchat. 

Let’s go over why Snapchat should be considered for your ecommerce business. 

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What is Snapchat? 

Snapchat is a social media service that lets you easily talk with friends through photos, videos and text. It grew to prominence by having “disappearing photos”—messages you could send to people that would disappear after a period of time.

In the past 10+ years it’s been around, Snapchat has evolved a lot: 

  • A “Stories” format that’s prominent on other social media sites
  • Discovery feed which shows users short videos from major brands
  • Augmented Reality filters which lets you add virtual images to your photos and videos 

Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, calls itself a “camera company” and it even offers drone cameras and even Snap’s first AR spectacles.

Why should I care about Snapchat? 

Ecommerce business owners may care about Snapchat because of its size, audience and advertising features. Some stats on its user base:  

  • 332 daily active users on Snapchat every day on average 
  • Over 75% of millennials and Gen Z have used Snapchat
  • On average, Snapchatter spend over 30 minutes on Snapchat every day. 

Snapchat doesn’t have the overall reach of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or TikTok. But, it is used a lot by a core group of young people who are highly engaged. If you sell products that appeal to Gen Z and younger millennials, Snapchat is a great place to be.

Snapchat also has a strong visual component to its services. It has really embraced AR technology that may be particularly appealing to certain ecommerce brands. 

Can I sell products on Snapchat?

Yes, Snapchat has a variety of tools for ecommerce business owners to sell products. Here’s a video the Snapchat team put together on the specific features for ecommerce owners: 

What kind of ecommerce advertising is on Snapchat? 

Snapchat has a variety of advertising options for ecommerce owners. Here are a few of the options: 

  • Single image or video 
  • Story ads 
  • Collection ads
  • Dynamic Ads
  • Lenses
  • Filters
  • Commercials 

Let’s dive into each one and see how you might use it for your ecommerce brand. 


Using single image or video Snapchat ads

This full-screen ad consists of a single picture or video and you can include CTAs and links. All videos can be up to three minutes long but Snapchat recommends keeping your videos shorter, to match the attention span of your audience. 

This is a relatively standard advertising unit that most ecommerce brands should be used to. Make sure you’re cropping your images and videos correctly for the full-screen, portrait formatting. 

The person viewing your ad can click through to your online store and purchase. Once they’re inspired to buy, make sure you make it easy for them to do that with a seamless checkout experience

Using Story ads for Snapchat


Snapchat Story ads are a series of 3-20 single image or video ads. It’s delivered to your audience between their friends’ Stories or through the branded tile in the Snapchat Discover section. You can see a Story ad from the app Depop above. 

These ads take a little more work than just a single image or video ad but could be worth the extra effort. Many Snapchatters spend a lot of time in their Stories section, so getting in front of them is valuable.

Make sure that your Story ads prominently feature your brand or your product’s name in it. You should also try to tell a cohesive story with this ad, versus just consistently selling. 

Using Collection ads for Snapchat

A Collection ad is tailor-made for ecommerce brands because it has four tiles where Snapchatters can discover and buy your products. These are explicitly “made for commerce” and can feature a mix of videos and static imagery.

As you can see in the video above, it’s a great way to showcase a demo of your product. You can also use more of a stylized narrative approach with the video and have your shoppable tiles be products from that story. Your shoppers will be sent to your site after clicking on one of the tiles to complete their purchase. 

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Using Dynamic ads for Snapchat 

Dynamic ads are personalized ads that aim to be engaging shopping experiences on Snapchat. These will automatically promote your good based on how Snapchatters have interacted with your brand. For example, this could include an abandoned cart flow for someone who’s visited your store. 

For this to work, you’ll need to:

  • Upload a Product Catalog to Snapchat
  • Create a Product Set
  • Make sure the Snap Pixel is set up correctly on your store
  • Build your ad sets and build your ads. 

You can read full instructions here—it’s more advanced than doing one-off ads on the platform but could pay off by consistently retargeting audiences who have taken action on your site. 

Using Lenses ads on Snapchat

Now, we’re starting to have some fun. 

One of the most engaging things about Snapchat is the ability to use augmented reality Lenses. For example, you can open the camera and use a Lens which places a digital monkey on your shoulder and much, much more.

It’s fun and a major reason why people use Snapchat. It’s also a great way for potential shoppers to interact with your ecommerce brand. In the example above, you can see a Lens ad where a shopper gets to virtually “try on” products from FabFitFun. Of course, they can also click through to purchase the product from the online store. 

Snapchat has put together a free Lens Web Builder tool which lets you create your own augmented-reality lens in minutes. If you’re more on the technically savvy side, you can also build your own from scratch. Here’s a great list of brands that have used Lenses ads on Snapchat.

Using Filters ads on Snapchat

Filters are “artistic overlays” that people can add to their photos that they’re going to share with their friends. You can tie these to specific events and locations, if you want.

These ads are best suited for awareness campaigns more so than direct-response ads. It could be a good way to get your brand’s name and logo out there and in front of your target audience in a fun way.  

What kind of targeting does Snapchat advertising for ecommerce have? 

Snapchat offers robust targeting that lets you reach users based on:

  • Location
  • Demographics
  • Interests 
  • and more. 

It also includes all the expected features ecommerce brands would want like pixels to track purchases, lookalike audiences, audience matching and more.  

Should I use Snapchat for ecommerce? 

Snapchat is well-suited for ecommerce brands that are targeting shoppers between the ages of 15 to 35. It doesn’t have as many users as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok or YouTube but it does have a highly-engaged audience. It also features some augmented reality features that could be particularly useful for clothing and accessory brands.

If you’re going to use it, remember these tips: 

  • Set specific goals for this platform before starting 
  • Remember to embrace the fun and personal nature of Snapchat 
  • Where you can, re-use high-performing ad assets from other channels
  • Experiment with the augmented reality ads like Lenses—this takes a bit of upfront work but can really help your brand stand out
  • Make sure your checkout page is frictionless—don’t waste your efforts by having a poor checkout experience.  

No matter what social channel you’re using for your business, make sure you’re making the purchasing journey as easy as possible for your customers. Services like Bolt make shopping great with secure, one-click checkout, post-purchase capabilities and more.  

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