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Snapchat 2.0. Now including ads.

22 April 2016

The Snapchat 2.0 update was released at the tail end of last month to rapturous applause, as media outlets hail the evolution of Snapchat into a full communication suite.

They’ve shouted from the rooftops about the added features and functionality added to the app, but it’s the smallest change that has garnered the most interest from the advertising and social media crowd.

Two words – “including ads” - added to their Privacy Policy during the roll out of 2.0, have caused quite a stir.

In this case, these two words say more than a thousand.

The full sentence in the Privacy Policy went like this: “personalize the services by, among other things, suggesting friends or profile information, or customizing the content we show you, including ads.”

It’s been clear for a long time that Snapchat have been looking to bolster their promoted options for brands, in order to increase revenue and compete with Facebook’s powerful ad targeting tools.

But now they mean business.


Currently, there are two ways your ad will appear on Snapchat: in a Brand Story, placed in the content feed of a particular story; or in the magazine-like Discover channels, as a pre-roll or placed amongst the feed as sponsored content.

They’ve also been working on an open API recently with third party developers, to allow a more streamlined method for partners to purchase ad space, and open the doors for smaller brands.

And solid options for targeting and feedback are a key part of the package advertisers look for when judging the right platforms.

Sure, Facebook have the largest audience you want to talk to, but they also provide a wealth of feedback in terms of user engagement, reach, click-through rates, and a thousand other increasingly obscure statistics for measuring what worked and didn’t work with that latest ‘cat riding a Segway’ concept.

They also let you target based on anything from location to what you had for lunch on Wednesday, three weeks ago.

All of which helps measure effectiveness, an aspect that industry heavies rate Snapchat quite poorly on.

Admittedly, it takes time to collect such a staggering, NSA-like amount of data on your audience to be able to effectively target a specific audience, but with the impressive growth rate of the Snapchat user base, they have the power to do so.

Snapchat users spend nearly 400 minutes a month on the app, second only to Facebook and more than double the time spent on Twitter, or Pinterest.

More interaction means more data, and if Snapchat collect that data, it means more options to put your message in front of the people who matter.

It’s all about tailored content.

Plugging a big film release? Release customised stickers, and send extra promotions to those using these stickers most frequently.

Want to promote a new clothing line? Showcase your latest season’s style to those nearby a big high street, store, or even attending a fashion show.

Want to entice people into your coffee shop? Do a Starbucks, and create a location-based custom lens filter. If you’ve got $350,000 lying around.

Thankfully, the base cost for advertising is low – Geofilters are currently priced from just $5, meaning proximity advertising can cost less than many of us spend on lunch.

This, combined with Snapchat making big moves in advertising options, means the barrier to entry for brands will continue to drop.

Great news for anyone looking to get through to those elusive millennials.


Strawman Says

Snapchat is one to watch, and not just for new lens filters. Their moves to challenge Facebook for its targeted advertising crown could open yet more avenues for brands building their social presence.