Snappy advice for ads on Snapchat

Jan 25th '24

According to YouGov, Snapchat is currently the 9th most popular (and joint 2nd most famous) social media platform, and it offers a variety of interesting and innovative ways to advertise. 


As the rules in the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code are largely media neutral – from Snap ads and brand-owned stories in ‘Discover’, to sponsored geotargeting, lenses and stickers – the same rules and principles that apply in other media are equally applicable to advertising on Snapchat.


But compliant advertising really is a snap – so here are some key principles to help you with your ads on Snapchat.


  • Pop on an ‘ad’ sticker

As is true for all the other social media platforms, and indeed all media, advertising on Snapchat – whether it’s a Snap ad between stories, a sponsored lens, a story posted by a brand about a product they sell or influencer or affiliate marketing content – must be obviously identifiable as advertising.


Stories that have obviously come from a brand profile are generally likely to be recognised as advertising without any additional labelling, but this does rely on it being clear that they’re posting about one of their products. But you can’t assume that Snapchat users are already aware of everyone’s commercial relationships, and it should be possible to determine that a story is advertising from the snap alone.


For more detailed guidance on the principles, see the ‘Influencers’ guide to making clear that ads are ads’ and previous article here.


  • Use the right filters to capture the right audience

Ads must be socially responsible and part of this means protecting vulnerable people, in particular children. Targeting on Snapchat, and of course across all media, is therefore important for protecting them from certain types of content, and for ensuring ads for age-restricted products do not target or appeal to children. Products with restrictions on placement and targeting include alcohol, gambling, HFSS foods, slimming regimes and cosmetic interventions.


The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) 100 Children Report found that at least 11% of the children monitored had set up social media accounts which falsely suggested they were over the age of 18, highlighting the importance of robust targeting on such platforms.


The ASA will always expect you to use all the tools available to target appropriately on any platform and ensure that you have taken all reasonable steps to avoid your ads being seen by someone who (for example) due to their age, shouldn’t. Where specific targeting tools are not available, for example, when working with an influencer, marketers should take into account robust evidence of the age demographic of the audience.


Obviously using none of the tools available is always a risky strategy but you should also be careful to ensure that you’re doing enough when promoting age-restricted products or content.


  • Always use a CAP Code lens for your ads

There are also plenty of sector-specific rules and prohibitions that apply to different ads and products, and these apply equally on Snapchat.  Make sure you consult the relevant rules and guidance on our website to stay on the right side of the line.


Also, if you’re running a competition or prize draw on Snapchat, make sure you include the most significant terms and conditions that apply as well as a link to the full terms, and follow the other rules in Section 8. For more on this topic, see resources here.


Source: CAP


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