Snapchat Just Entered The Social Advertising Big Leagues

Valerie Hoke
June 21, 2016

Advertising on Snapchat is about a lot more than just geofilters these days.

Last week Snapchat released its latest round of updates including major changes for the platform’s advertising options. Snapchat updates are hardly surprising, since they happen so frequently, but this one seems particularly important to note.

Let’s break it down. The biggest changes are in the areas of…

  1. Purchasing

As The Motley Fool reports, Snapchat will now use an applications program interface (API) for the process of selling ad space to marketers. This switch basically means advertisers will now purchase Snapchat ads by using software rather than by calling up a sales department.

Why does that matter? Because as usual, software makes things easier and more streamlined, so Snapchat will be able to accommodate huge influxes of advertisers.

Ads within Snapchat’s Discover feature (Screenshots)

  1. Targeting

Even though Snapchat’s targeting options (age, gender, location, device type, etc.) won’t be quite as complex as Facebook’s lineup (which includes factors like income level, employment and interests), the new API software lets marketers use targeting to dictate ads. Much like how Facebook can target users based on how much time they spend looking at certain pieces of content, Snapchat will be able to gather information based on the various Discover” channels users choose to watch.

  1. Calls to Action

New Snapchat ads will allow users to take major actions with a simple swipe: installing an app, visiting a webpage, making a purchase, etc. Sounds familiar, right? Those actions are the basis of most of the advertising done on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, meaning this Snapchat update makes the platform a more fierce competitor than ever before.

Food Network calls to action on Snapchat (Screenshots)

What Does This Mean for us Personally?

Obviously, all of us at CBM HQ are avid Snapchatters and big fans of the platform. So how will this new plethora of advertisements affect our Snapchatting experience?

Advertising within promoted Snapchat content streams such as live stories or Discover channels is one thing, but placing ads within users’ personal snaps is another. Plus, if users swipe through to follow an advertisement, how do they return to the content they were originally viewing?

Think about it: Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where content lives permanently on some sort of a timeline (making it easy to find a post if you stray from it), snaps are harder to return to. Sure, stories don’t disappear until 24 hours later, but unless Snapchat nails a method of pausing a story so that you can return to it after following an ad, clicking through a friend’s entire story to find where you left off would be a little annoying. Who knows if this is even the direction this advertising update will take, though.

What Does This Mean for Brands?

If you’ve been deliberating taking the leap and setting up a Snapchat account for you brand, this update might be the indication that now’s the time. Before, with less advertising options, Snapchat might’ve seemed like a lot of effort with only a little payoff for a brand. Now, however, the limits for creative, snap-tastic advertising on the platform seem endless.  

Obviously, any increased investment in Snapchat advertising means that ad dollars will surely be driven away from other platforms like Facebook and Twitter. How that affects the social media advertising landscape as a whole remains to be seen.

Are you excited by the new opportunities that lie ahead with Snapchat advertising? Dreading the possibility of watching ads in order to see your friends’ stories? Let us know!