Snapchat Ads Transparency

The purpose of this page is to provide transparency about how we collect, use and share your data with respect to ads. We also cover the Snapchat settings you can use to control how your data is used for advertising. You can find more information about our privacy practices regarding your data in our Privacy Centre.

Why We Show Personalised Ads

Like most online information services, Snapchat is primarily supported by advertising. Advertisers pay a lot more to show ads to people who are more likely to be interested in them. It is not possible for us to keep Snapchat a fun, safe and innovative online space, without charge, unless we show personalised ads.

Most people also prefer ads that are more relevant, fun and interesting – and find irrelevant ads annoying. If you’re on your way to becoming the next top chef, ads about cookware and recipes may enhance your time on Snapchat; ads about trampolines, maybe not so much (unless you also like jumping!).

Your trust in Snap is very important to us. This is as true for advertising as it is for any other part of your experience on Snapchat. We believe personalised advertising can be a win for everyone, provided it is balanced correctly. To achieve this:

  • We explain below how ads work on Snapchat, what information we collect and use to show you ads, and the settings we provide to control which ads you see.

  • We have rigorous privacy and safety by design processes. These ensure our approach to personalised advertising on Snapchat stays balanced.

  • We don’t share everything about you with advertisers. We only allow advertisers to specify what type of user should see their ads and measure whether their ads are successful.

  • We also hold our advertisers to certain standards. We expect them to be honest about their products, services and content, to be kind to our diverse community, and to not compromise your privacy.

We reject ads that do not meet our Advertising Policies, including where an ad is misleading, or fails to meet our community guidelines. If you spot a misleading ad, you can report it in-app using the learn more icon on the ad.

The Information Snap Collects and Receives About You To Provide You Ads

To make our ads relevant, we use information we learn about you and that our advertisers and partners provide to us to try and show you the right ads at the right time. This means that the ads you see are often driven by what we think your interests are, your activity on our platform, and information that our partners and advertisers provide to us about you.

Each type of information we collect or receive has an impact on our ads system and some types are more heavily weighted than others. Note that as every ad has its own targeting and optimisation settings made by the advertiser, the weightings (as outlined below) may vary as a result of those settings.

The main types of information we collect, including examples of how they are used, and their general relative weight in our ads systems (which is provided in parentheses), are:

Information we receive directly from you

  • Account registration info. When you sign up for Snapchat, we collect certain information about you.

    • Age. (Higher weight) You provide us with your birthday, which we use to determine your age (and depending on your settings, this also leads to other fun experiences, like allowing your friends to wish you happy birthday!). As described further below, we also attempt to infer your age, which, among other things, serve as an additional way to increase the likelihood ads reach the correct and appropriate audience.

    • Country/Language. (Higher weight) We collect your country of residence and the language you prefer for a number of reasons, including to allow Snapchat to provide you localised content and Services, to provide you with ads that are relevant to your locale and language, and to ensure ads we show you comply with local laws and regulations. We may also use your location (as described below) for these purposes.

Your activity on Snapchat

When you view or engage with the Camera, Stories, the Snap Map, Spotlight Snaps, Lenses, My AI (see below for more details on My AI and ads), and the other content and features on Snapchat, we learn (and sometimes guess) what you might be interested in. For example, if you watch or create a lot of Spotlight Snaps about basketball, we may show you an advertisement for professional basketball tickets.

We also make other inferences about you based on your activity on Snapchat, which may be informed by the information we collect from other sources, as described below. Inferences include:

  • Age. (Higher weight) For example, while you enter your birthday when you sign up, we also infer your age based on your activity on Snapchat – this inference helps us keep our younger Snapchatters safe and enhances the accuracy of our age data. Advertisers might want to market certain products to certain age groups that may be more receptive to a particular ad or avoid groups for which an ad is not relevant or appropriate. For example, if you are under 21 in the US we won't show you ads for alcohol.

  • Gender cohort. (Higher weight) We also infer your gender cohort based on a number of signals, including your Bitmoji, username and display name, friend demographics, and your activity on Snapchat. Similar to determining your interests, your inferred gender cohort assists our advertisers in showing you ads that may be relevant to you. For example, an advertiser may want to show ads to Snapchatters with a particular gender expression, and we use inferred gender cohort to assist in showing ads to users who most closely relate to that cohort.

  • Interests. (Higher weight) We are always trying to make our ads as relevant to you as possible, so we try to make inferences about your interests. For example, if you follow race car drivers and like watching or creating Stories about new cars or racing or click on Snapchat ads for auto racing gear, then we might guess that you're an "Automotive Enthusiast". Some of these guesses we call "Lifestyle Categories", and you can review the Lifestyle Categories that we've guessed about you in Snapchat, and you can change or clear those Lifestyle Categories at any time. We also make other inferences about your interests that assist us in showing you content that you may be interested in – for example, we have “Snapchat Content Categories,” which categorise the content on Snap that you interact with. You can review these Content Categories by downloading your data as described here.

  • Your friends. (Lower weight) Many friends have similar interests. So, we may use information about your friends' interactions with ads or content to determine whether to show those ads to you. For example, if your friends clicked on an ad for a new pair of shoes, we may use that to prioritise showing the same ad to you.

If you are located in the EU or UK and are under 18 we do not use inferences about your gender cohort, interest or friends' interests to personalize the ads you see.

We also use information about what ads you interacted with previously to determine what ads to show you (or not show you) next. It's no secret that no one likes seeing the same advertisement over and over again!

Information we receive from our advertisers and partners

  • Your activity on the websites and platforms of our advertisers and partners. (Higher weight) Our advertisers and partners provide us data from their own apps, websites, and platforms, which we use to help inform the ads we show. For example, if you search for a movie on a website that shares data with Snap, you may see ads for similar movies.

    • We obtain this information in a few different ways, including through the Snap Pixel and Snap's Conversion API. In both instances, a small bit of code is embedded in third-party platforms (think websites and apps) that collects information about limited activities on those platforms. We also use this information to provide advertisers reports about the effectiveness of their ads.

    • If you are located in the EU or UK and are under 18, we do not use information collected by snap from your activity on the websites and platforms of our advertisers and partners (i.e., "Activity-Based Ads") to determine which ads to show you. Similarly, we may also limit the use of this information to certain age ranges in other jurisdictions to comply with local laws.

  • Audiences. (Higher weight) Our advertisers may also upload to Snap a list of their customers, so they can target ads to those customers (or individuals like their customers on Snapchat). Typically, this matching is based on a hashed version of your phone number or email. For example, let's say you're an avid consumer of comic books. If a new comic book is coming out, the publisher may share their fan list to Snap to help make sure that you'll see an ad about their latest release.

    • If you are located in the Eu or UK and are under 18, we do not include you in custom audiences.

  • Other data we receive from our advertisers and partners. We may also use other data we receive about you from our advertisers and partners to inform which ads we show, as described in our Privacy Policy.

Information we collect about your context, device and location

  • Device information. (Lower weight) When you use our products and Services, we collect information about your device, which helps us understand the operating system, screen size, language selection, apps installed and other attributes. This in turn allows us to show you ads that are compatible with your device, in the language you prefer, targeted to specific operating systems, and aligned with your interests. For example, if you are using an iPhone, we may show you an ad for an app that is only available on iOS. Similarly, you won't see ads in Mandarin if your device's language is set to Farsi.

  • Location information. (Lower weight) We think it's important to show you ads that are relevant to your location. For example, if you are in Germany, it wouldn't be fun or make sense for an advertiser to show you ads for movies that are only playing in the United States. We determine your approximate location based on a few pieces of data you provide us when you access our products and Services, including your IP address, and, if you grant us permission to collect it, your precise location based on GPS. We may also use places that you are near or frequent to show you ads that are relevant to you. For example, if you are near a coffee shop, an advertiser may want to show you ads for their coffee.

    • If you are in California, you may request that Snap limit the use of your personal information, including the use of your precise location history to show you ads.

Keep in mind that Snap may use data from multiple sources above to show you ads. For example, an advertiser may want to show ads to a certain population of Snapchat users, like 35-44 year olds interested in gardening. In that case, we might use your age and your activity on Snapchat or on other platforms to show ads to you if you fit in that audience.

Notebook with heart shaped image

Controlling the Ads You See

We believe you should have meaningful control over the ads you see. To change the ads you see, please use the settings described here to:

  • Opt-out of Activity-Based Ads. If you do not want Snap to show you ads based on your activity on the websites and platforms of our advertisers and partners, you can opt out.

  • Opt-out of Audience-Based Ads. Use this opt-out if you do not want Snap to target you with ads based on audience list we receive from advertisers and other partners.

  • Opt-out of third party ad networks. Use this opt-out if you do not want third-party ad networks to server you ads.

  • Opt-out of tracking (iOS users only). If you set the privacy controls on your device running iOS 14.5 or later to not allow Snapchat to track you, we will not link your activity on third-party apps and websites collected while using that device with user or device data from Snapchat for targeted advertising or advertising measurement purposes, except on your device. However, we may link this information for advertising purposes in ways that we do not specifically identify you.

  • Change the ad topics you see. This setting allows you to decide whether you want to see certain types of ads about sensitive topics, like political, alcohol or gambling ads. Some of these ads are turned off by default for users under a specific age regardless of how this setting is set.

  • Make changes to Lifestyle Categories. This setting allows you to change the lifestyle category inferences Snap has made about you based on your interests and activity on Snapchat. This setting also will be overridden by age gating restrictions on certain types of ads and related categories.

If you are in the EU, in addition to the control above, you can also opt out of personalised content including advertising. You can do this by accessing the “European Union Controls” section of the Settings page.

Information We Provide to Advertisers and Measurement Partners

We confirm to advertisers which of their ads you have viewed and clicked. Sometimes this occurs via third-party measurement partners. They can then check whether your view or click of a Snap ad led you to buy or use the advertiser’s products and services (for example, purchasing a new watch, subscribing to a video streaming platform or downloading an application). We have written agreements with advertisers (and measurement partners) that restrict their use of this ad data to measuring the effectiveness of their ad campaigns. We do not share information with advertisers that directly identifies you, like a name, phone number or email address.

Ads in My AI

Ads that are displayed in My AI work a bit different from other ads on Snapchat: they are determined by context of your My AI conversation and whether, for example, you are looking for recommendations for products or services. We call these “contextual ads.” Another difference from other ads on Snapchat: My AI ads are provided by Snap’s advertising partners, rather than by Snap. Our advertising partners receive your queries (if we determine there’s commercial intent) and additional context, including your age range (i.e. whether you are under 18 or not), country/language, operating system type (i.e. iOS/Android), and IP address to help provide appropriate and relevant ads for you. For example, if you ask My AI "who makes the best electric guitar?" you might see a “sponsored” ad section for a guitar maker. All of this may sound familiar, as My AI ads work a lot like search ads on other platforms.