One of my best friends runs a digital marketing agency.
He’s a pro at Facebook and Google Ads, and I’m used to hearing from him about the campaigns he’s running on those sorts of platforms (I used to be in the industry so I take an interest in these things still).
Recently, we had a phone call where he told me he was trying something new: Snapchat ads.
This got me thinking about this somewhat meme of a social media platform that now lives in the shadow of Instagram.
Snapchat was huge back in my day (can I use this term yet?).
But guess what…it’s still massive, and growing.
According to Statista, Snapchat is well on its way to reaching 250 million daily active users this year.
Damn…perhaps this isn’t just a long-forgotten app living in Instagram’s shadow after all.
So, today we’re going to answer the all important question: how can you make money on Snapchat and what’s the potential here for content creators and for making money online?
There’s actually a surprising number of ways to monetize Snapchat, but first, let’s have a quick refresher on everything this social media app is.
What Is Snapchat & Why Does It Matter?
Snapchat was founded in 2011 by former Stanford University graudates. Throughout its history, Snapchat has defnitely had some majors ups and downs.
The app was originally designed to send photo messages that disappeared within 10 seconds. As you can imagine, this meant Snapchat had some…er…promiscuous uses.
But the app wasn’t just that. In fact, it was so much more.
I remember being in highschool when Snapchat was a must-download app.
It didn’t matter what sort of message you were sending; why send a text when you can send a snap?
Snapchat carried its popularity throughout highschool and my time in college.
Snapchat also started competing with Instagram as Instagram basically started taking the best features of Snapchat and making them better (cue Instagram stories).
Now, Snapchat has differentiated itself enough through things like BitMojis, snap streaks, and the app is still good.
Admittedly, Snapchat is less popular with my age demographic than apps like Instagram. However, I still know plenty of younger people who use the app everyday, and the active daily user growth doesn’t lie.
So, what does any of this history have to do with the ways to make money with Snapchat?
Well, Snapchat is admittedly in a strange spot.
It’s not Instagram or Facebook by any means, but again, the user growth data doesn’t lie.
I think this means that ultimately, Snapchat is still a strong platform and perhaps even less competitive than larger social networks.
So, with this strange positioning in mind, let’s break down some of the ways to make money on Snapchat.
1. Drive Traffic With Snapchat
I’ve written an article on the best free traffic sources before, and there’s honestly a reason it doesn’t contain Snapchat.
Don’t get me wrong: you can drive traffic to a website or store with Snapchat. But, it’s far harder to build a following on Snapchat than other social media platforms.
Unlike platforms like Instagram or Pinterest where you can post photos with hashtags to rapidly expand your reach, Snapchat is way more manual. If people don’t know where to find you or your snap name, you’re pretty much out of options.
This is why if you take a look at the top Snapchat influencers, they’re pretty much all famous celebrities:
Now, this doesn’t mean Snapchat isn’t a viable platform for pushing traffic. You can still post stories and get your followers to checkout your content.
But, I view Snapchat as a teritary traffic source and it’s something I’m not going to get into for a few years, if ever.
If you’re already making money on YouTube, other social media platforms, or stream on platforms like Twitch, you might as well add a Snapchat account to the mix, even if it’s to slowly gain followers over time.
Again, I don’t think this is a viable method for making money with Snapchat if you don’t have other platforms with a following.
However, if you’re established elsewhere, adding this social media platform to the mix could be worth testing.
Extra Reading – How To Make Money With Pinterest.
2. Test Out Snapchat Ads
I recently tried an experiment where I sent Facebook traffic to one of my blog articles that is very affiliate heavy.
And, to little surprise, it didn’t work too well. This largely has to do with the CPC cost on Facebook and the fact that I wasn’t willing to spend enough to gain meaningful data.
I’ll still try out paid traffic in the future, although I might take a look at Snapchat ads instead.
Snapchat actually has tonnes of ad placement options and a pretty sleek interface. Somehow, these guys have been creating a pretty cool ad platform that just isn’t being talked about that much.
Some types of Snapchat ads include:
- Single image ads.
- Story ads.
- Product catalogue or collection ads.
- Swipe to call or text ads (these sound pretty sweet).
If you’re an afifliate marketer or selling your own product through Shopify or another platform, testing out a few of these ad units might be worth it.
Plenty of major brands have been advertising on Snapchat for a while. Perhaps this cheaper traffic source is a hidden gem that will let you make money through Snapchat.
You can start advertising on Snapchat with a budget as low as $5, which makes it realitvely low-risk to start testing.
3. Sell Snapchat Geo-Filters
If you didn’t know, you can actually design and upload your own Snapchat filters and lenses. This is very popular for corporate events, weddings, or to just have some fun.
But, if you aren’t skilled at graphic design, chances are, you’ll have to hire someone if you want a custom Snapchat filter to help add some spark to your next business promotion or personal event.
Companies like Getfilter Studio are already doing this at a professional level, which I think is pretty unreal.
Geofilter Studio has worked with dozens of massive brands, including McDonald’s and Starbucks. Obviously, you probably can’t get these clients out of the gate 😛
But, once again, the wonderfully weird world of Fiverr has you covered.
I have no idea how larger this market really is, but there are several sellers getting sales.
Plus, if you already do graphic design work on the side or run your own marketing/events agency, custom snapchat filters and lenses might be the easiest upsell of your life.
This is admiteddly a pretty niche way to make money using Snapchat, but hey, I think it has its place at the table!
4. Become A Snapchat Lens Creator
If you want to go even further than just designing local Snapchat filters for businesses or events, consider becoming a Snapchat Lens Creator.
Lens creators make those augemnted reality filters you can apply in the Snapchat app.
These filters are a major reason Snapchat stayed in the game, and they have become one of the most inconic features of the platform.
If your designs take off, Snapchat states they offer potential revenue and partnership opportunities.
According to CNN, top lense sellers are making $30,000+ per month from all of their downloads. Pretty nuts for Snapchat.
The money largely comes from getting major brands to hire you for lens designs. Just take a look at the portfolio of Paper Triangles, who are making solid income from sponsored Snapchat lenses.
Who would have thought you could end up making money on Snapchat and work for brands like Ralph Lauren if you’re skilled enough.
5. Sell Premium Snap Content
Ahem…remember when I said Snapchat is used for some premiscuous content?
Well, that is frankly how a massive chunk of money gets made on Snapchat.
I’m not going to dabble long on this one, and if you’re curious on how the process works, this Quora thread breaks down how to sell Premium Snap content quite well.
The gist of the idea is to have people subscribe to your Snapchat content on other platforms like Patreon in return for access to your private Snapchat account (where you presumably post photos and things people want to look at).
Not my cup of tea, but if you’re already in this industry, you might as well diversify your income and get onboard with Premium Snap content (I can’t believe I just used ‘diversify your income’ in realtion to this topic lol).
6. Sell Snapchat Shoutouts
If you already have a decent following on Snapchat, you can add social media promotion and shoutouts as another way to make money on Snapchat.
If you already do brand promotion through other channels like a blog or various social media accounts, this is a pretty easy sell.
Alternatively, you can once again turn to Fiverr to offer Snapchat shoutouts and account boosting services:
There seems to be more room in this niche than the custom filter play.
However, once again the main drawback here is you already need to have a decent Snapchat following…3,000 people at least just judging what the top seller in the photo above is selling for $5.
I think Snapchat is truly best when mixed in with other social media platforms or your overall media kit.
I don’t think many brands would jump at an exclusive Snapchat shoutout, but maybe you can charge more for influencer/sponsorship work if you include your Snapchat with other channels.
How To Get More Snapchat Followers
Unless you’re an unreal graphic design and can earn money with Snapchat from desinging filters or becoming a lens creator, you’ll need followers to actually make money.
It doesn’t matter if you use Snapchat to push traffic to your blog, YouTube channel, or sell premium content/brand shoutouts…you need more eyeballs on your content.
So, here are a few easy tips to grow your Snapchat following if you go down this road:
- Share your Username – Place links to your Snapchat profile on your other pages (blog, YouTube, etc).
- Partner with Other Snapchatters – Do an account takeover of someone in your niche to reach a wider audience that might be interested in your content.
- Share Exclusive Content – This is what Premium Snapchat accounts do, but you can use the same concept for your mainstream account. Make your other channels want to tune into Snapchat to see your unique updates and more personal stories.
- Cross-Over Content – YouTubers do Snapchat Q&As all the time, and it’s a great way to make use of 2 different platforms to connect an audience. You can do the same kind of thing on Instagram as well.
Snapchat is definitely a peculiar socal media platform.
If you already have clout, it seems like making money on Snapchat is a no-brainer…you just have to sell stuff and do the occasional brand partnership or shoutout.
Obviously, this isn’t feasible for everyone. This is why I’m not on Snapchat and still view it as a tertiary traffic source like I mentioned.
But, Snapchat is still intriguing.
From their less expensive ad platform to the variety of filters and weird Fiverr gigs, it’s definitely a platform with lots of potential and niche opportunities.
Personally, I’m going to work hard over the next few years to build up a YouTube following. Between YouTube, blogging, and Pinterest, I think I have to call it quits on extra platforms.
But, who knows…maybe Snapchat will enter the fold one day!
Have you made money on Snapchat before? Share your method down in the comments! 🙂
Catch you guys in the next one!
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
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