Want to learn how to make money on Snapchat? Snapchat has unique opportunities for businesses to reach a younger demographic, but it’s also an option for freelance graphic designers and influencers.
I’m going to cover 9 real ways that you can make money with Snapchat, including selling custom filters, creating sponsored lenses, running Snapchat ads, and much more.
How to make money on Snapchat in 2021
Get to know Snapchat
Snapchat was launched in 2011 by Bob Murthy and Evan Spiegel. It’s been a massive success among younger users in the 18-24 age range – approximately 73% of Snapchat users fit that demographic.
There are more than 238 million daily active users on Snapchat, and the U.S. has more Snapchat users than anywhere else in the world.
Snapchat is known for short videos and images, called snaps, that users can send to one another or save in your story. Images and videos are deleted once a user opens them, and Snaps shared to stories are only viewable for 24 hours.
While the way Snapchat works might sound too fleeting to make money, big brands have been leveraging the platform to appeal to its younger demographics.
Grubhub was one of the first big companies to advertise on Snapchat, and they’ve used it to run huge recruiting campaigns when they needed new drivers.
Gatorade’s Dunk Lens went viral during Super Bowl 50 by simulating being “dunked” by Gatorade.
Snapchat has some really unique features that businesses can include in their marketing strategy, but anyone can learn how to make money on Snapchat. Today, I’m going to cover all of the updated options that can help you monetize Snapchat in 2021.
9 Ways to Make Money on Snapchat in 2021
1. Promote your own products and services
Leveraging Snapchat’s interactive platform to promote your own products and services is one of the first places to start learning how to make money on Snapchat. But because Snaps can only be up to 10 seconds long, you’ll have to get creative.
Behind-the-scenes style videos are always engaging for viewers. It could be something that shows what it’s like running your business, working from home with kids, getting ready in the morning, etc. These are good ways to show off the culture of your business.
How-to videos can show potential customers how to use your products, but make them funny or unique in some way. You could add layers with multiple filters, stickers, and text. Add music over your snaps. Show off your personality.
The 10-second limit forces you to play around a little bit. It’s not about perfection either – people like Snapchat because it feels more real.
In those behind-the-scenes or how-to videos, occasionally offer a discount or promo code to your followers. You can embed a link in your snap so the user just has to swipe up to find and click on it.
Related: How to Make Money on Pinterest
2. Sell things directly through Snapchat
If you want to learn how to make money on Snapchat, but you’re not thinking about using it for larger business purchases (link running ads or getting people to your business page), you can use your stories like a mini online marketplace.
Say you have a serious collection of sneakers and you’re willing to sell a few pairs to make some quick cash. You can feature a pair in your stories and include how much you want to sell them for.
If someone is interested, they can respond by swiping up. You can complete the sale by using CashApp or Venmo. Get the buyer’s shipping info, and ship out ASAP.
For several years, Snapchat used something called Snapcash, which was a partnership with Square. But Snapcash is no longer available and hasn’t been since 2018.
3. Create a geofilter for your business
Geofilters are Snapchat filters that are unique to your location, and you can create them to celebrate events or highlight your business. Non-business owners can create community and geofilters for free, but businesses will need to buy them.
Wait… I want to learn how to make money on Snapchat, not spend my money.
Don’t worry, there is a point! Geofilters are a fun way to promote your business. You create a geofence (a location boundary) that when a Snapchat user enters, they can start using that filter.
Here’s an example of a geofilter that you can only find when you’re visiting a Disneyland resort:
Because you pay for geofilters based on the number of hours and square feet you want to cover, they’re best for most business owners to promote special events, like a big sale or grand opening. An 8-hour geofilter in a large city costs around $5, and a 24-hour geofilter that covers 22,000 square feet averages $30.
So for a brick-and-mortar business that wants to make money with Snapchat, you could create a filter that users access when they are at or near your business. For example, a Mexican restaurant could create a special geofilter for their Cinco de Mayo celebration complete with margarita glasses and a sombrero.
You’re spending a little money, but geofilters can be part of a marketing strategy that gets people excited about your business.
4. Design a custom Snapchat lens for your business
Designing a Snapchat lens for your business is another promotional idea that’s similar to geofilters. And if you’ve ever seen this amazing technological feat from Taco Bell, then you know how much fun filters can be.
Snapchat’s Lens Studio is available for both the public and business owners to use for designing lenses that are exciting AR (augmented reality) experiences for users. You will need to set up a Snapchat business account if you want to create sponsored lenses to promote your business.
5. Sell Snapchat filters online
Designing and selling custom Snapchat filters for weddings, graduation parties, holiday events, birthdays, and more is another option to make money on Snapchat. People can purchase custom filters, upload them through the Create Your Own Website tab once you’re logged in to Snapchat from your laptop or desktop computer.
I did a quick search on Etsy and found lots of really professional looking filters that were selling anywhere from $4-$50 each. Here’s an example of wedding-themed filters from one Etsy seller:
Canva is a free graphic design software for beginners that you can use to create Snapchat filters. Adobe Spark is also set up for designing Snapchat filters.
Learn more at Canva Review – Pricing & How to Use it For Your Side Hustle.
6. Submit your best Snaps to Spotlight
Spotlight is a brand new Snapchat feature that launched in November of 2021.
Here’s what Snapchat says about it: “Submit your best video Snaps to Spotlight for the opportunity to earn a share of more than $1 million that we’re distributing to creators every day!”
The idea behind Spotlight is that it’s a way for Snapchat to compete with TikTok and Instagram’s Reels feature. Snapchat is essentially redesigning some of its services to keep up with a new industry trend.
Submitting Snaps to Spotlight is for content creators who want a chance at winning a portion of that $1 million a day. Snapchat will be using an algorithm to see which Snaps get the most views and engagement, and rewarding those with the highest payout.
Here are the guidelines to make money with Snapchat Spotlight:
- Snaps must be vertical videos with sound
- Must have a #topic so others can join in and search for more content like yours
- Can be up to 60 seconds long
- Should use creative tools like captions, sounds, lenses, or GIFs
- Must be only original content
- Music must be from Snapchat’s licensed library
- Content must be appropriate for a 13+ audience
- Must adhere to general Snapchat community guidelines
7. Run Snapchat Ads for your business
Like Facebook ads, Snapchat offers a variety of campaign types so you can meet different marketing goals. Having your ads match your goal can help you increase your ROI.
I'll explain Snapchat’s different campaigns in a second, but before you can start running Snapchat ads, you’ll need a business account. It’s free to make a business account, and you can set one up by going to forbusiness.snapchat.com.
Log in using your existing Snapchat account, or create a new account if you don’t have one yet. Snapchat will walk you through the process of filling out all of the necessary information to start using Ads Manager (the platform you will use to create and run Snapchat Ads).
Once your account is set up, there are two main ad types: Instant Create and Advanced Create.
Instant Create is exactly what it sounds like – it takes 5 minutes to launch an ad. It’s super easy, but you’ve got fewer options.
Advanced Create is what lets you choose from different campaign types to get the highest ROI on your ads. Here are the different campaign objectives you can get in Advanced Create:
- Awareness: Introducing more people to your brand or product
- App installs: Sending Snapchatters to the app store to download your app
- Drive traffic to your website: Send users from Snapchat to your business website
- Drive traffic to app: Get users to your app
- Engagement: You want Snapchatters to interact with your ad, like start using a lens you created
- Video views: Trying to promote your brand or product through video
- Lead gen: You’re trying to generate new leads for your business
- Website conversion: Driving specific actions on your website, like making a purchase, downloading an ebook, etc.
- Catalog sales: These are online product sales
I don’t want to get too in the weeds here, because learning how to make money on Snapchat with ads is its own article, or two. But the point is, there are lots of options for running ads depending on what you want to get out of it.
8. Promote affiliate products
The idea is that you work with companies who offer products and services that fit your niche and appeal to your users – they must provide value! When someone purchases something through the unique affiliate link the company gives you, you earn a portion of each sale.
You need a fairly large following if you want to learn how to make money on Snapchat with affiliate marketing. Because Snapchat is a little different from other social media platforms, there’s a little more work involved in growing your following, but the basics are:
- Share your Snapchat handle with your followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
- Sign off blog posts with your handle
- Collaborate with other relevant accounts to do shoutouts
- Join relevant Facebook groups, Reddit threads, and other online forums and share your Snapchat handle there– be sure to genuinely interact in these places before asking people to follow you (no one likes that kind of blatant self-promotion)
- Create a custom geofilter or lenses
- Put your Snapchat handle in your email signature
Okay, now back to affiliate marketing…
One way to promote affiliate products is to simply promote them in your Snaps. Show followers how you use the product or service, why you love it, etc. You can also run contests and offer promo codes. Put your unique affiliate link in the snap so your followers can swipe and use it to make a purchase.
It is extremely important to disclose all affiliate relationships, and it’s required by the FTC. A simple #ad or #sponsored is all you need to include in your snap.
Amazon has a strong affiliate program that is a popular starting place – called Amazon Associates Program. Or you can contact brands you already use and enjoy and see if they have an affiliate program to join.
9. Make money on Snapchat with sponsored content
If you want to learn how to make money from Snapchat with affiliates, you might also be interested in sponsored content.
Sponsored content is when a company pays you to create content around their products or services. It’s usually a set amount for so many social or blog posts. For example, a company might pay you $XXX to create a brand story around their product that includes five Snaps.
Like affiliate marketing, you’ll need a large enough following to appeal to brands in the first place, so work on building your presence.
One more tip for sponsored and affiliate content: always keep your audience in mind. Only promote things that make sense for your audience and think about how products and services can improve their lives. Putting your audience first helps you from turning into a spammy account.
How do you monetize Snapchat? The final word
You came here wondering how to make money on Snapchat, and you just learned about 9 different options that work in 2021.
Like all social media platforms, Snapchat is continuing to change and adapt to new trends and trying to find holes in the market. If you’re going to make money with Snapchat, you want to pay attention to those changes so you can adjust your strategy.
I recommend following Snapchat’s News through their website. News outlets like TechCrunch and Social Media Today offer in-depth coverage on trends and updates.