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Snapchat releases major advertising push

Lauretta Roberts
14 June 2016

Snapchat has unveiled a raft of upgrades to its advertising capability to enable brands to better access (and for Snapchat to monetise) the app's 150m daily users, who are concentrated in the "young millennials" category.

The upgrades include "Snap Ads Between Stories". These 10-second slots will occasionally appear when a user auto-advances from one person's collection of images (or "Story") to the next, but they won't always appear nor will they interrupt a user's story. Procter & Gamble, Warner and Verizon are among 10 US brands testing the new format.

To protect its users' experience (the founders of the app had disavowed advertising when it first launched), Snapchat will also ensure all ads are reviewed for quality and it promises to limit marketing messages.


Snapchat: unofficial figures suggest 150m daily users

Another significant launch is its highly anticipated "Ads API" which enables brands to use programmatic interfaces to efficiently buy advertising campaigns instead of having to set up deals manually with Snapchat.

It has established a Snapchat Partners programme, which is divided into two streams, Snapchat Partners for Ads and Snapchat Partners for Creative. The Ads partners include 4C, Adaptly, Amobee, Brand Networks, SocialCode, TubeMogul, Unified, and VaynerMedia. They will be able to build custom ad buying and management tools to enable brands to target their spend using Snapchat’s targeting options: age, gender, location, device/OS, carrier, and content affinity.

The Snapchat Partners for Creative are a pre-vetted list of agencies who are able to produce engaging creative content, the include include Allay Everyday, Big Spaceship, Contented, Matte-Finish, Media Monks, Moment Studio, R29 Brand Lab, Studio Number One, Stun Creative, The 88, The Mill, and Snapchat’s own creative agency Truffle Pig.

Snapchat's officially released figures claim the app has more than 100m daily users and on any day reaches 41% of all 18-34 year olds in the United States. Unofficial figures place usage much higher. Bloomberg recently reported that unnamed sources said the four-year-old app now has 150m users a day, compared to Twitter's 140m.

It is significant, although the two apps have somewhat different purposes, as Twitter has struggled to achieve growth in the face of more visually appealing social media platforms such as Facebook-owned Instagram and Snapchat. Snapchat is also important because of the demographic it attracts. Millennials, roughly 18-35 year olds, are attractive to advertisers thanks to their future spending power.

Snapchat also dips into Generation Z, the up to 18 year olds, who again are interesting for their future spending power. They are however much more difficult to reach than millennials given they prefer to socially network in very small defined groups, as opposed to millennials who are much more public about their social media activity.

Industry-watchers say the move to monetise Snapchat further is a prelude to an IPO.


Instagram's new Business toolkit

Photo-sharing app Instagram also made a move recently to make its photo-sharing app much more shoppable. Businesses will soon be able to establish business profiles on the app enabling them to set up contact us features, create ads within the app (in the style of Facebook) and install analytics to report on how users are responding to their content.

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