With its ghostly little icon, you probably think Snapchat is a lot more mysterious than it really is. The truth? Snapchat is just as misunderstood as the rest of us… but that doesn’t mean we don’t still have some questions.

Snapchat is still a relatively new platform when it comes to buying and placing ads, so it’s hard to know for sure what works, how to measure performance, and how to define “success.”

To get to the bottom of things, we sat down with product manager and Snapchat expert Dave Strang to get answers about our biggest Snapchat questions.

Q: If you haven’t ever run a Snapchat campaign, what should you expect?

A: Something that’s emphasized on Snapchat is that the more authentic your content looks, the better it performs. The more you can make it look like not an ad, the better it does. You can still get your message across, and you can still include your branding in it, but try to make it look like it was shot on a cell phone, and not in a production studio. People sense the staged look of an ad right away.

Q: What kind of performance are you seeing on the Snapchat campaigns you’re running now?

A: I would say in general, we’re seeing high engagement with ads. A lot of people are spending more and more time on Snapchat ads. Snapchat ads are always skippable, so people who actually watch your ad are probably interested in some capacity. If it’s long-form video, people are swiping up to see more info. Simply by nature of the platform, it’s easy to get kind of lost in a rabbit hole on Snapchat—you can easily get people lost in your ad, and lost in more and more of your content.

Q: What’s unique about Snapchat as far as measuring performance, compared to Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms?

A: One of the KPI’s you can measure on Snapchat is total watch time, so you can know if people are looking at your ad, and for how long. Watch time measures the users time on the actual snap, as well as wherever your ad sends them from there. Snapchat has also broken down performance by quartiles, so you know how many viewers watched the video to 25%, 50%, 75% and to completion. So, you get some good granularity in that sense, which you don’t always have access to on other platforms.

Q: What do you think is the biggest struggle for advertisers when it comes to measuring Snapchat performance?

A: Because Snapchat is still so new as an advertising medium, advertisers sometimes struggle with how to define success. Advertisers always want to compare Snapchat performance to what they’re seeing across different channels. Sure, you’re comparing a basic KPI like CPM, which is measured on most every digital channel, but the experience on Snapchat is unique. Advertisers don’t know how to prepare or how to define success.

Q: How do you measure the performance of a Snapchat campaign?

A: This really depends—it’s all about what you want to accomplish. It sounds obvious, but if you’re running a campaign with the goal of increasing app installs, evaluate the number of times the app is downloaded. If your goal is to drive users to your website, see how much of your website is coming directly from Snapchat.

Q: What’s the best early indicator of success for a snapchat campaign?

A: I think dwell time on the video is the best initial performance indicator for brand campaigns on Snapchat. Just seeing how long people actually engage with your ad, or even just sit on it, tells you a lot about how well it’s resonating with your audience. The thing to remember is, Snapchat ads are always skippable, but they’re also always looping. So, someone could be watching your ad over and over again. I’d imagine that the more content you have, the more dwell time you would have as well.

Q: What is the biggest misconception advertisers have about Snapchat?

A: I think the biggest concern we hear is that it’s expensive. If we really look at it, it’s actually in the same ballpark, maybe even less expensive than other platforms. We recently had a campaign going after a super targeted age-range and location. On other platforms, we’d expect that audience to be pretty expensive to reach ($10.00+ CPM). On Snapchat, it ended up coming in much lower. This proves you can generate high engagement rates, at an efficient cost per engagement.

Did we answer all of your burning Snapchat questions? If not, drop us a line. We’d love to chat. Or, if you’re ready to get started running your own Snapchat campaigns, just leave your name on the contact form below.