Snapchat vs TikTok the Battle of the Platforms: Crafting Your App Acquisition Strategy

Snapchat vs TikTok

Ladies and gentlemen, marketing mavericks and advertising afficionados, prepare for the digital clash of the season!

Weighing in with its multimedia features, interactive ad experiences and creative prowess, we have Snapchat now entering the ring. Armed with its dynamic short-form videos and viral challenges, we also have TikTok as the contending opposition. In the battle for the title of the better user acquisition platform, who will deliver the knockout punch?

Read below to find out, who will win in the anticipated battle: Snapchat vs TikTok.

Snapchat vs TikTok: an Overview

In the ongoing battle: Snapchat vs TikTok, there are several factors to consider when deciding which channel would be better suited for your paid user acquisition strategy. Pay specific attention to your goals and target audience so that you’re able to make the best possible decision. Both Snapchat and TikTok offer unique opportunities to engage with their users but the differences they hold in their engagement potential, audience demographics and their targeting options are what will cause significant impact on the effectiveness of your ad campaigns.

App User Demographics

Both platforms, TikTok and Snapchat have varying demographics, each of which will affect the outcome of your ad performance.

Snapchat skews towards younger demographics, with over 70% of its users being under the age of 34. This makes it particularly popular among Millennials and Generation Z. TikTok use is popular within the same age group, but skewing more towards the older end of the spectrum, with users age 25-34 being responsible for 34% of the platform’s usage.

As of January 2024, the United States was the country with the largest TikTok audience by far, with almost 150 million users engaging with the popular social video platform. Indonesia followed, with around 126 million TikTok users. Brazil came in third, with almost 99 million users on TikTok watching its short-form videos.

Snapchat’s global user distribution is also equally diverse. As of April 2024, India had the biggest Snapchat user base in the world, with an audience of 202.51 million users. The United States ranked in second place with a Snapchat audience base of over 106 million users and Snapchat continues to grow in other locations like the Middle East, Latin America, and Southeast Asia at a remarkable rate. This expansion highlights Snapchat’s efforts to tailor its offerings to diverse cultural preferences, fostering a truly international user community.

The determining factors on your side as a marketer will vary based on who you want to attract with your user acquisition strategy.

Mobile Ad Targeting

An advantage Snapchat may have over TikTok reveals itself in its targeting options. TikTok paid ads offer three targeting options: demographics, interests and behaviours and device types. Since 2023, TikTok demographics targeting has consisted of five options: gender, language, age, location, household income, and spending power. Each targeting filter has a more specific range of categorisation options for brands to choose exactly the types of demographics they need.

TikTok interest & behaviour targeting allows advertisers to find your potential customers depending on what they are most interested in and how they interact with TikTok content. The categories that it’s divided into include interests, purchase intent, video interactions, creator interactions and hashtag interactions. Behaviour targeting works by showing your content to those watching, liking, commenting, and sharing videos in a category.

Of all the mentioned targeting categories, ‘high spending power’ targeting is specific to TikTok. This dimension is used to target ads to users who typically spend more on purchases than the average user. This is said, to say that Snapchat has a similar targeting offering, but also offers a unique set of options that allow advertisers to target based on data specific to your business, product, or service. Some of these custom audience options include:

Snapchat Lifestyle Categories: (SLCs) are inferred assignments based on who is most likely to click on ads targeted towards that SLC. SLCs should be used only as a tool for ad targeting and are not indicative of reach to a particular demographic or interest-based category. Data about user preferences relies on inference methodologies, and third-party data sources where applicable, and may be based on inaccurate assumptions.

Snapchat Audience Match: Advertisers can target customers using a list of phone numbers, emails, or device identifiers. Reach out to users who have interacted with your brand before and re-engage them to achieve your goals.

Snapchat vs TikTok: Ad Engagement

With its expected reach of 1.8 billion users by the end of 2024, its algorithm-driven feed and content discovery features, TikTok boasts impressive viral potential. This is a suitable option for brands interested in reaching broad and diverse audiences organically. According to TikTok statistics, entertainment is its most popular content category, so this might be a useful route to take when considering the style of content to create for your TikTok ads. TikTok boasts an impressive engagement rate of 4.25%, making it one of the most engaging social platforms on the market.

Snapchat also maintains impressive ad engagement rates, with Sponsored Lenses leading with an average engagement time of 15-30 seconds per use. Additionally, Snapchat ads showcase high completion rates, contributing to Snapchat’s appeal among advertisers seeking effective and engaging ad placements. While it may be easy to conclude that TikTok is easily the more engaging platform to advertise on, it is dependent on the type of advertising experience you want to provide for your users; Snapchat’s best results come from the immersive nature of the app, which TikTok does not necessarily offer in the same way.

Snapchat vs TikTok
Source: Youtube

Snapchat vs TikTok: Ad Execution Styles

The platform that you use for your advertising campaigns is also dependent on the types of ads that you are trying to run. Different ad styles are beneficial for different types of ads.

TikTok ad formats include:

Branded Hashtag Ads

These sponsored hashtag challenges are featured on a hashtag results page or the Explore banner. These ads work by a user clicking on the branded hashtag challenge at the top of the Discover Page. Users are then taken to a brand challenge page containing a description of the challenge, rules, the sponsoring brand’s logo and a link to its website. Users then create their own content based on the challenge, using the brand’s hashtag to promote their posts.

TopView Ads

TopView ads appear immediately after someone opens the TikTok app and can be 60 seconds long. Advertisers can include a call-to-action button within the ad. This ad style probably has a less organic feel to them compared to some other ad formats.

This format can potentially interrupt the user experience. Coupled with their length, TopView are among the most “traditional” of TikTok’s video ads because they feel like commercials.

TikTok Collection Ads

This ad format allows users to find, discover, and browse products on their mobile devices in full-screen mode. These ads effortlessly guide customers to an instant storefront within the app where they can explore your products without ever leaving the platform. This serves as a curated, inspiring collection of your products that users can browse without ever leaving the app. These ads provide a quicker, more engaging ad experience that motivates consumers to act immediately.

You can find a more detailed list of types of TikTok ads. Snapchat ad formats include:

Single Image or Video Ads

This is the most common ad format on Snapchat, appearing in users’ feeds, and providing brands with maximum exposure.

Collection Ads

Snapchat simplifies the buying process with Collection ads. This format allows you to showcase a list of your products, allowing users to browse and make quick purchases.

Story Ads

These ads are integrated into the content as a series of ads and also feature a branded tile in the Discover section. Story Ads offer the advantage of including CTA buttons, which can boost conversion rates.

Overall, where TikTok offers a more diverse range of ad formats, there are more opportunities for users to engage with an ad. Specifically, branded hashtag challenge ads, prompt active user participation, resulting in the generation of more user-generated content, which in turn, can be repurposed for more advertising. Snapchat does offer effective options too, but TikTok’s options are more dynamic in comparison. Again, let your choice of platform be based on your campaign objectives and the types of engagement that you’re looking for.


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Evaluating Your Results: ROI and ROAS

Ultimately, when considering your user acquisition strategy, you’ll be thinking about the best possible options for a return on your investment (ROI) and a return on your ad spend, (ROAS). Understandably you may think about your cost efficiency. You’ll notice a difference in costs between advertising on TikTok and advertising on Snapchat. Assess the cost efficiency of advertising on each platform in relation to the results that you’ve achieved.

Compare factors such as cost per impression (CPM), cost per click (CPC), and cost per acquisition (CPA) to determine which platform offers the best value for your advertising budget. At an average, you can expect to pay a CPM of $2.95 on Snapchat, while TikTok will charge around $10 for the same. This does however come with some caveats. The average CTR for TikTok In-Feed ads floats around 1-3%, while Snapchat delivers a CTR of around 0.3-1.5%. While TikTok’s CPM may seem expensive, its average CTR is higher than Snapchat’s. TikTok CPC also comes up relatively cheaper too. You’ll need to weigh up the price of reaching your target audience with the cost-efficient traffic you can drive to your app.

Engagement metrics also provide valuable insights towards the ROI on your advertising efforts. You could look at click-through rates (as mentioned above), video completion rates and interaction rates to assess the effectiveness of your ads on each platform. Look for patterns in user engagement to identify which platform is delivering better results in terms of audience interaction and response to your advertising campaigns.

Also, utilise measurement and analytics tools provided by each platform to track and analyse campaign performance in real-time. You can use TikTok’s TikTok Ad Manager or Mobile Measurement Partners (MMP’s) such as Appsflyer, Firebase or Adjust for Snapchat,  to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as conversion rates, return on ad spend, and customer lifetime value (LTV) to gauge the overall ROI of your advertising efforts on Snapchat and TikTok.

It is also worth evaluating the growth trajectory and trends of each platform to anticipate future opportunities for ROI. Consider factors such as user adoption rates, platform updates, and emerging content trends that may impact the effectiveness of your advertising efforts. The climate of social media apps is constantly changing and evolving, so it would be best practice to remain engaged with the ways users are responding to each platform.


After each round of this epic battle, it’s clear that in the case of Snapchat vs TikTok, both contenders have brought formidable strengths to the ring. TikTok has dazzled us with its virality and engaging array of ad styles. Snapchat has managed to perform with agility and finesse, with its specified targeted ads and its immersive ad experiences. Do not also forget it is possible to combine use of both platforms for your user acquisition strategy.

Analyse your results and perhaps from there you’ll be able to assess which option is better for your advertising efforts, whether it’s Snapchat, TikTok or both combined. Many apps will be able to leverage Snapchat and TikTok in different ways to cover the bases of their social acquisition.

As the bell tolls in the ring, remember in this digital arena that real victory does not come from choosing a single winner, but rather from crafting a successful user acquisition strategy that leaves your audience cheering for more.

Thanks for tuning in for the heavily anticipated: Snapchat vs TikTok, hosted by Yodel Mobile

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