November 1, 2021

Snapchat Senior Creative Strategist Shares His Secrets for Success

yellowCHAT_Oliver, Snap

In this latest installment of our yellowCHAT series, we sit down with Olly Wapshott, Snap Inc.’s senior creative strategist for Gaming. As a founding member of Snapchat’s Content Team, he helped the company grow and flourish into the powerhouse it is today, working with major brands like Coca-Cola, Uber, adidas, the Oscars, the Olympics, and the BBC.

As part of his role, he shadows Snap’s sales executives and the book of business they support. His team provides services on anything related to Ad creative: from advice on better practice to examples from leading competitors to updates on organic user behavior in the app. They also provide production support for products like AR Lenses and Vertical Video.

Speaking to yellowHEAD, Wapshott shares his journey, what he loves about his work, his best tips for great Snapchat ads — and the brands he thinks are doing it best.

How did you get into the industry?

“I started out in TV and Film development. Having been bitten by the storytelling bug, I moved to LA from London, to the heart of the industry to find my first job and steep myself in the screen storytelling tradition. I started out at AMC Networks (Walking Dead, Breaking Bad etc.) then moved to XBox, which had just started their Entertainment Studios to create TV programming from their gaming IP available solely on-platform.

Next up, I was a founding member of the Content team at Snapchat, creating linear stories around live events sculpted from Snaps that our users submitted live from the events. We then cut them into 3-5 minute ‘episodes’ and published them to our entire audience.

From there I transferred to our Creative Strategy team to find a new challenge: taking my knowledge of the platform and focusing it on how we advised our ad partners to speak to our audience in the most effective and surprising ways.”

What made you decide to go the route of mobile marketing?

“What I love about the move from linear to mobile was the immediacy of the work. Rather than spending a year developing and shooting something then waiting for a Nielsen report to come back, on mobile we typically have a few weeks to turn something around and we are able to see the results immediately and in granular detail, which allows for a really tight feedback loop and an opportunity for instant creative optimization.”

Can you share some top tips for making sure brands’ ad creatives work well on Snapchat? What are some must-haves in your professional opinion?

“Have multiple creative assets, across a variety of our ad products! Vary length, style, messaging copy — this allows our algorithm to find the right person with the right ad at the right moment in time to maximize the chances of eliciting an action from the target audience. It’s like having a full set of golf clubs in your bag; using the driver for every shot isn’t a smart strategy. Different people respond to creative in different ways, and these responses vary depending on the time of day (on the way to work in the morning versus lounging at home and double-screening while watching TV) so you want to have a well-thought-through menu of ways of delivering your message.”

What are some of the best Snap Ads that you’ve seen?

“The best Ads on Snap find a way to get their message across in a way that stands out both from the content on our platform as well as from other ads in their category. 60% of our audience creates content every single day so they’re very visually literate and tend to reward experimental, audacious, humorous creatives.

To that end, I think the stand-outs in the gaming space on Snapchat have been King/Candy Crush for their openness to taking successful organic tropes (ASMR, Arts and Crafts etc.) and putting the Candy spin on them; and Plarium/Raid: Shadow Legends for leveraging their humorous and realistic characters both in ads in the camera (AR lenses of their iconic orc character Galek) and taking those elements into video (Snap Ads of influencers chatting with someone wearing the lens / pretending to be Galek).”

What’s a common mistake you see brands make?

“Launching an entire campaign with only a single cut from a trailer made for broadcast longform platforms. We always recommend a multi-asset, multi-styled approach to make sure there’s a broad variety to your message delivery. We get our partners to think: “if I was using Snapchat to tell my friends about this game, how would I do it?” And from that point, find a few different ways of telling them, different tones, different lengths for different moods and different audiences. ”

In your opinion, what do you feel are key ingredients to take into consideration when launching ad activity on Snapchat?

“Think about how our audience uses the app (mostly short video messages) and tailor your ads to suit that user behavior. Think sound on (over 60% of Snapchatters listen to Snap Ads with sound on), optimize for immediate impact (first two seconds) before developing narrative, play with your IP from the two main points of view: boldly showcase the main features and calls to action that are core to your game, then show how users react to those features in a way that feels authentic and relatable.”

What is Snapchat’s competitive edge in such a media-saturated environment?

“Snapchat is built for real communication with real friends. This is about back-and-forth messaging, the ability to open up a dialogue with your audience, and prioritize creative that elicits a response rather than lecturing or broadcasting.

What’s more, through ads in the camera (AR Lenses and Filters) our users are able to craft their own message masquerading as a character in your game, evangelizing their love and adjacency to their closest friends.”

“When I’m not working, I can usually be found … “

“…cooking, going to the football, watching movies.”

Do you feel that your personal hobbies play a role in your work? How so?

“Absolutely. We’re all creative, but the more you flex your creativity in all parts of your life, the more in shape that muscle is when you call upon it in the workplace. I love finding new sources of inspiration — whether that’s a new game, program, or design exhibition, inspiration is all around us all the time!”

What advice would you give someone who is just entering the world of mobile marketing?

“Try to find a role where you’ll need to do many different functions and learn a lot in a short amount of time. These are often at smaller companies. Being able to sample lots of different areas across the marketing space is so valuable, not only for finding the specific role that’s best suited for you, but also in giving you empathy when working cross-functionally down the line in your career.”

What is your golden tip?

“Always keep an open mind rather than having a steadfast list of rules. ‘Best practice’ doesn’t really exist; it’s a moving target, and we’re all trying to keep finding ways to find better practices day after day, week after week.”

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