Social media has been likened to a jungle. I see Snapchat as the watering hole where the gazelles hang out. The recent addition of Snap Ads to the platform is like inviting a herd of lions in to the scene. Read on to get our thoughts on the latest evolution in the Snapchat story.
Since its birth, Snapchat has famously put a higher focus on growth over revenue. But now that the app claims over 100 million daily users (more than Twitter) and has hired Imran Khan, the IPO King, Snapchat turns its attention to profit.
The visual messaging app is aiming to IPO as a billion dollar company in 2017. On 13 June it unveiled the tools that will get it there: a host of new ad formats including an updated API.
Why is this of interest?
- Because Snapchat reaches 41% of the elusive non-telly-watching, non-newspaper-reading 18-34 year olds in the US.
- Dwell time is longer than the other social networks at 25-30 mins spent on average per day, which is huge.
- Not only that, but it’s spreading quickly. Once an app utilised exclusively by randy teens, Snapchat is now gaining a larger following with an older crowd. I’m even addicted myself!
“Lance Neuhauser, CEO of 4C, an API partner with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and now Snapchat, says he has never seen advertiser interest in an emerging social media platform grow as fast as it has for this app—not even Facebook.”
I’m with Lance! That’s why I’m excited about Snapchat.
Say Hello To Two Types Of Snap Ads:
- Snap Ads Between Stories: video or image ads will occasionally run when you auto advance through your list of stories, ie. they will appear at the end of one friend’s story and before the start of another. They won’t interrupt the narrative of a story and you can swipe past them as you would with a story.
- Expandable Ads: Swipe up and move to an external site! The important thing here is that it takes you off the platform.
There have been mixed reactions to this announcement from avid Snapchatters. Some people are happy to tolerate the Snap Ads in exchange for continued free usage, whereas others are driven to profanities at the mere suggestion.
But isn’t that always the case? There are always the people who hate change (myself included!).
What Snap Ads Means For Businesses
Advertisers who wish to target the elusive Millennials now have an opportunity in Snap Ads. But messages must be crafted with care, and Snapchat is working hard to ensure quality ads. At the outset, Snapchat will inspect every ad before rolling it out on the platform, much like Instagram did in the early days.
You can buy ads through engaging with Snapchat partners (rather like Facebook preferred developers in the early days):
- Snapchat Partners – such as VaynerMedia and big ad agencies such as Media Monks who will connect advertisers with the platform and help with targeting and ad spend.
- Ads Measurement Partners – such as Moat, Nielsen mobile, Digital Ad Ratings, and Google DoubleClick who will compile stats and metrics for advertisers to see which ads are performing best.
Expect Off The Charts Engagement?
Well yes, initially!
According to some recent testing carried out by Snapchat and MediaScience, 320 consumers aged 16-56 were exposed to online ads during 552 sessions. These included Snapchat video ads, TV, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. The study encompassed biometric testing to capture emotional responses, as well as eye-tracking and exit surveys.
The results are staggering…
But do take them with a pinch of salt. Ads on Snapchat are NEW. The research conducted was with a group of existing Snapchatters, who would of course stop in their tracks at the site of something new.
It’s too early to tell who are going to be the first big success stories using Snapchat ads. Whatever it is, it’ll be great because Snapchat is restricting advertisers to those ‘who get it’, at least at the start. They need ads to roll in and become accepted without too much friction. The biggest fear for Snapchat is that its audience revolts and scarpers. Just how much do Millennials hate ads?
The reason why I have committed to getting to know Snapchat is because this change has been inevitable. Of course the advertisers were always going to come. At least now it sounds like they are being let in, but not too obtrusively. Users will have the option to swipe off the ad immediately, but many won’t due to the limited time the ad is shown for – 10 seconds.
Personally I feel that Snapchat will give Facebook and Instagram a run for its money because the ads do seem like they’ll be a lot less noisy. When someone posts 10 times on Facebook it appears vertically, as noise. When someone posts 10, 20, 50 times on Snapchat, it displays much more neatly, as just one story. So while the ads are here, they might not be as annoying as on other platforms.
Examples To Date: Snap Ads
They haven’t really started, but expect to see more over summer 2016. Snap Ads only last for 10 seconds – this means you have a limited time to try and hook your viewers. So you need to have an insanely creative ad to hook the attention of Snapchatters!
So far, we’ve seen advertisers have fun with Filters. Just look at Taco Bell’s sponsored lens for Cinco De Mayo. It had 224 million views in one day – a new record! And all it did was turn your face into a taco. So simple, yet so brilliant.
No doubt there is a race on now amongst the big brands to bring something huge to Snapchat. What are your thoughts on Snapchat advertising? It’s an interesting new stage in the evolution of a platform, and certainly an interesting place to play, especially if you’re targeting the elusive gazelles that are 18-24 year olds!
Tell us what you think!
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