Snapchat’s ad update will get wallets open, but still has some way to go

The social sphere got a good shake yesterday as Snapchat, tipped as digital’s Next Big Thing for the past couple years, announced expansive new ad capabilities. And while its updates should help stock its coffers, there’s still some questions surrounding the platform that could keep marketers hesitant.

First, though:


OK, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk particulars: Snapchat is opening up its API to select ad tech and creative partners. This will facilitate brands’ abilities to more easily purchase ads on the platform, but, in the latter (and perhaps more importantly), ensure the content is fit for the Snapchat audience.

Let’s consider those two things separately for a moment.


It’s hard to see this as anything but positive for the platform. Snapchat pairing with experienced ad tech operators suggests the idea buying will be matched with refined targeting, and perhaps even data will be able to be matched and utilized across platforms, creating a more holistic plan incorporating the new channel.

One curious thing in the announcement, which was covered extensively by AdWeek, was the apparent lack of an open-access portal to purchase ads directly from Snapchat. This capability currently exists for Geofilters but has not been announced as extending to Snap Ads and the like. This means that, while using a Snapchat creative partner would be optional (brands could use their existing agency), using an ads partner would be more or less mandatory.



In order to keep a growing entity such as Snapchat alive, one must delicately balance revenue-creating opportunities such as advertising with user expectations. The announcement of ads between stories, for example, will make some regular users cringe.

However, this capability could be seen coming for a while (such as here), and Snapchat seems to understand it will need the help of experienced creatives to keep from rocking the boat. This explains its creative partnerships, also reported by Adweek, but more so the need for brands to work closely with entities that understand Snapchat communities.

In particular, brands must realize that the format and best practices for Snapchat are starkly different – not only from other social properties, but also other media types full stop. Videos and images will need to be vertical, and marketers must remain mindful of the full-screen aspect of the ads, which means difficulty in using assets across channels.



The last piece of the puzzle will be measuring effectiveness of the ads, and analyzing results to determine what creative works with what audiences. For this, Snapchat has also teamed with several partners to prep better measurement. It may not currently offer the type of stats shrewd analysts would like in order to prove effectiveness, but pairing with heavy hitters such as Nielsen and DoubleClick, just to name two, suggest it’s taking marketers’ needs seriously.

With Snapchat now offering comprehensive, though perhaps not fully mature, advertising solutions, the stage is set for a bright financial future for the company.

TL;DR Sweeping changes in regards to advertising will be coming to Snapchat in coming weeks, including ways to buy advertising, plus creative and measurement partners.


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