“It’s a fad. You could be on a boat right now. Everyone loves boats. What’s wrong with you?’”
Evan Spiegel, co-founder of Snapchat, has admitted that he is asked about his infamous rebuttal of Facebook a lot. “If you sell, you will know immediately that it wasn’t the right dream anyway,” Spiegel explained. “And if you don’t sell. you’re probably onto something. Maybe you have the beginning of something meaningful.”
Indeed, Snapchat does have something meaningful. Advertisers have long swooned over the possibilities of Snapchat: It’s mobile, video-heavy, and boasts over 100 million daily users, the large majority of which consist of the sought-after millennial demographic.
However, Spiegel and Snapchat have notoriously never been ones to replicate fellow industry leaders, which includes their approach to advertising (or lack of). Snapchat’s resistance to provide adequate data and targeting tools to advertisers has had them raising their pitchforks in recent months.
Changing Their Ways
In a report from AdAge last week, several people with knowledge of the company’s plans shared some of Snapchat’s advertising goals in 2016, which seemingly address the angry bunch:
- Improve ad targeting based on what content people are checking out in Snapchat’s Discover publisher portal (similar to Facebook’s interest-based targeting)
- Off-site user behavior data collection (sites users have been browsing, searches being conducted outside of Snapchat)
- Data on ad visibility (whether ads were seen or not)
This coincides with the swirling rumors around Snapchat’s interest in acquiring ad technology, a venture they are exploring for the first time. This would be done with the intention of creating an API to automate the ad-buying process, a move that would boost revenue by eliminating the use of a sales team and simplifying the experience for the buyer.
This news signals a clear shift in ideology for Snapchat. To date, the clear message has been that if advertisers wanted to use the platform, they’d have to play by Snapchat’s rules.
With serious questions concerning their approach to advertising, revenue stream and looming IPO, Spiegel and Snapchat finally seem to be biting the bullet, changing their ways and taking some pages from Facebook and other social competitors’ books.
The User Experience
This would prove to be a win-win for Snapchat the user experience, one that has become beloved among avid users, remains fairly unchanged. Snapchat has always treaded carefully in regards to disrupting the UX with advertising, a reason why they’ve kept their distance from ads thus far.
With successful advertising experiments like sponsored lenses, Snapchat will continue to protect the user experience. Spiegel has even ruled out re-targeting, calling it “creepy”. Instagram, the most recent social platform to open up an API, has mostly seen a positive response to advertisements, which is a good sign for the image and video-heavy Snapchat.
The Bottom Line
If we all want to continue enjoying Snapchat (and that’s coming from an avid user), it’s essential that the company has a steady revenue stream. And for a free service, one of the only ways of doing that is through advertising.
We should all support Snapchat as they find their place in pursuit of the perfect ad model. Because I don’t know about you, but I would dearly miss my rides on the journey to success with DJ Khaled every day. #BlessUp