October 14th, 2014 | Chris Lloyd

Snapchat ads are coming. What you need to know.


Millennial favorite Snapchat will begin offering sponsored stories

“People are going to see the first ads on Snapchat soon,” CEO Evan Spiegel said at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco recently. The ads will be around the company’s “stories” product, and will be optional to view.

Most big consumer brands have kept Snapchat at arm’s length to date due to the reputation for unsavory usage, but its popularity is undeniable and a $10 billion valuation from Wall Street assumes things will change.

The millennial audience that dominates Snapchat’s ranks is highly desirable and difficult to reach. Brands such as McDonalds, Taco Bell, Juicy Couture and others have embraced the platform already. Dove will launch their latest “Self-Esteem Weekend” by asking their audience to “snap” insecurities and, as the photos disappears moments later, make room for positive thoughts. Dove ambassadors will then provide real-time advice and feedback.

And, both the New Orleans Saints and New York Jets used the “stories” features to stitch together images depicting their schedule for the 16-week seasons. The Saints used actions shots from past games with each week’s competitor, while the Jets used images of opposing teams’ helmets.

These are just a few examples, but it’s fishing where the fish are and if you’re marketing to millennials as well, it’s worth understanding how these new ads will work.

First, Snaps are the most basic unit of engagement and occurs as a photo, video, or message. The communication lasts a few moments then disappears. Not only can you share party photos and still run for president, but it adds irreverence and limits scrutiny (so we’ve been told).

Then, you’ve got Stories. Stories can be stitched together from multiple images and video clips to create a narrative about the user. Users can add Snaps to their Story, which stays visible for 24-hours and can be replayed as often as you want within a 24-hour period. Soon to be sponsorable, companies can create ads centered around the “stories” product. Stories are the closest thing to a broadcasting option that exists on Snapchat.

Unlike Instagram and Facebook, these adverts will not be targeted at unique users. Instead, these sponsored Stories will only be seen by users who are looking at the app, at that time. Additionally, the adverts are opt-in and consumers can choose to look at them or skip them altogether. However, with sponsored stories, there is now the ability to reach a mass audience with a longer form story that lasts more than just a few moments. This raises the bar on what you can hope to return for your investment in presence.

Creating ads on a medium like Snapchat requires a great deal of creativity and the model has not been established yet. Although measurement is still unknown, as Instagram proved, brands that embrace new technologies as soon they appear reap the benefits of being first. Interested in exploring how to use Snapchat to gain a wider audience? We can help. Shoot us an email at contactus@hey.us.com.


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