Initially, Snapchat’s tag can only be used to measure conversions, but eventually, brands will be able to use it to retarget site visitors and create lookalike audiences.
Heading into the holiday shopping season, Snapchat is giving performance-minded marketers a way to track whether the customers visiting their sites may have come after seeing a brand’s ad on the mobile app, even if they didn’t directly engage with the ad to visit the site.
On Wednesday, Snapchat unveiled the Snap Pixel, a conversion-tracking tool for brands to measure how their ads on Snapchat may have impacted traffic on their sites. Sometime in the coming weeks, Snapchat will make the tracking tag available to all advertisers, including those buying ads through its self-serve Snapchat Ad Manager tool, according to a Snapchat spokesperson. But for now, Snap Pixel remains in a testing phase, and brands will need to contact Snapchat’s sales team to request access.
Brands will only be able to track conversions for their vertical-video Snap Ads, not Sponsored Lens or Sponsored Geofilter campaigns, the spokesperson said.
By enabling conversion tracking, Snapchat aims to better compete for brands’ budgets with Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter — all of whom already offer similar tools. These platforms provide the conversion-tracking tools so that advertisers can credit the platforms’ ads for driving traffic to a brand’s site, even if the ads didn’t directly steer someone there. That attribution measurement is important as the platforms compete to prove who’s most deserving of a brand’s budget and angle for a bigger share of that spend. And for Snapchat, it’s especially important because the mobile app is trying to win over direct-response advertisers who care more about raising revenue than brand awareness and are more likely to be interested in tracking conversions.
To track conversions from Snapchat’s ads, brands will add the Snap Pixel code to the pages on their sites that they want to track and will specify the conversion event that the page corresponds to, such as “Add to Cart” or “Purchase.” Advertisers will be able to select from nine predefined conversion events, but eventually, they will be able to create their own custom events. The currently available conversion events are:
- Start Checkout.
- Add to Cart.
- View Content.
- Add Billing.
- Sign Up.
- Page View.
Once the Snap Pixel has been set up on a brand’s site, the marketer will be able to view the conversion-tracking measurements through Snapchat Ad Manager or a third-party software provider that plugs into Snapchat’s advertising API. Brands will be able to tweak the timelines of those measurements, so they can see how many people converted within the past 24 hours or up to 28 days ago. Brands will also be able to break out the audiences who simply viewed an ad separately from those who engaged with it by swiping up to see an attachment, such as a web page loaded via Snapchat’s in-app browser.
For now, Snapchat’s tag is strictly a measurement tool for brands to track conversions. But by the end of this year, brands will be able to use Snap Pixel to retarget the people visiting their sites based on the pages they visit. Brands will also be able to create so-called “lookalike” audiences of people with similar characteristics to those site visitors and aim ads at those people.