Snapchat ads are to be sold by third parties for the first time, as the notoriously secretive chat app makes a major shift to large scale advertising.
Under the new scheme, Snapchat’s vertical-video format will be rebranded in the coming weeks as Snap Ads.
The firm will also launch an application programming interface (API) letting partners plug-in to the system.
The major changes to Snapchat’s ad tools include:
• Snap Ads Between Stories – Ads will appear occasional when users auto-advance at the end of one person’s Stories to the next person.
• Ads API – Advertisers can now use programmatic interfaces to efficiently buy huge campaigns instead of having the manually strike deals with Snapchat.
• Expandable “Snap Ads” – Users swipe up on Snapchat’s ads to install a promoted app, watch a long-form video, visit a mobile website or view an Instant Article-style article formatted specifically for Snapchat.
• Snapchat Ad Measurement – Snapchat has also built a set of measurement partnerships including Moat, Nielsen mobile Digital Ad Ratings and Google DoubleClick to help advertisers monitor the success of their ads.
The Snap Ads platform will let ad tech companies automate the targeting and delivery of ads to the right Snapchat users, in a similar way that brands can target Facebook and Twitters users now.
API inventory will be sold through an automated, auction-based system. Ads sold by third parties, and will be divided by two kinds of collaborators: Ads Partners and Creative Partners.
The first group will develop software for Snapchat advertisers, enabling buying, optimizing and analyzing of campaigns.
Ads Partners includes 4C, Amobee, VaynerMedia, Brand Networks, SocialCode, TubeMogul, Adaptly and Unified.
“The ability to advertise on Snapchat has been one of the biggest asks from our clients over the past year,” said Lance Neuhauser, CEO of 4C. “Snapchat Partners will provide that access while allowing 4C to continue to build innovative solutions within our own product suite. Being a Snapchat Partner also gives our clients confidence that Snapchat has identified 4C as a partner that will be able to help them achieve success on the platform.”
The Creative Partners consist of a mix of players with expertise in social content and experience with That group includes Big Spaceship, The 88, Alldayeveryday, Matte Finish, VaynerMedia, Virtue, Refinery29, BrandLab, Moment Studio, Stun Creative, The Mill, Studio Number One, MediaMonks, Unit9, Contented and Truffle Pig ( a joint venture between WPP and The Daily Mail).
Snapchat would not disclose much financial detail about the relationships on its API, but Ads Partners members, via their software, will sell video inventory to be automatically invoiced to Snapchat, after which the vendors will collect their fees.
Snapchat is one of the most sought-after platforms for advertisers given its 100+ million daily active users and 10+ billion daily video views. In the U.S., 60% of 13-34 year old smartphone owners use the app and overall gender composition is approximately 50% female and 50% male so the platform provides strong, balanced reach among highly-desirable audiences.
Furthermore, with half of all Snapchatters located outside the US, there is a tremendous global opportunity.
Snapchat says the engagement rate on its new suite is 5 times higher than the average click-through rate on other social platforms.
This metric builds on its recent MediaScience studies on visual attention showing Snap ads get 2x as much as Facebook ads, 1.5x as Instagram ads and 1.3x as YouTube ads, as well as cause 2x more lift to purchase intent than these competitors.
In a bid not to scare away users, Snapchat insists that user experience will be protected by reviewing all ads for quality before they run and managing ad load so as not to overwhelm users with too much marketing.