Social Media

Snapchat Advertising: Will Brands Pay to Play?

August 26, 2014

Snapchat is set to unveil a new service this fall that will serve users with ads, video clips and news articles. The service, rumored to be named Snapchat Discovery, would be the platform’s first form of monetization, and could potentially provide Snapchat with its first revenue stream.

Among Snapchat’s reported 27 million users, its core users, aged 13 to 17, send more than 700 million snaps a day, and check their account an average of 14 times per day. Millennials are a key demographic on the minds of many marketers, and Snapchat is the largest growing platform for this demographic. In fact, Snapchat is the third most-popular social platform among this group, behind Facebook and Instagram.

Snapchat Discovery, the company’s first foray into advertising, would give marketers new way to reach users on the ephemeral messaging platform via paid promotion. Brands like Taco Bell, McDonald’s and GrubHub are already using the platform as a key medium to target these users organically (on a one-to-one basis). Groupon, another brand already utilizing this platform to reach consumers, has gained more than 700 new followers per day by offering up deals and giveaways.

Using Snapchat as an ad platform would allow brands to drive messages to a specific target market in a setting that is familiar to the younger demographic. Though details on how brands can creatively leverage this service have not yet been announced, the ads will be accompanied by TV and movie clips, as well as news from media publications. Snapchat collects user demographic information, like age, that could potentially be used to target specific demographics. The Geofilter (currently only offered in New York and Los Angeles) is another prospective tool that brands might leverage to send targeted advertisements.

One key challenge at the onset will be measurement; Snapchat lacks the metrics that marketers have come to track across more established platforms. To gain an informed decision on whether Snapchat Discovery is an effective tool to reach Millennials, early adopters should take a test-and-learn approach to advertising on the platform.

Similar to any new, untested platform, a test-and-learn strategy will form a basis for brands to learn best practices, as well as to navigate the appropriate KPI’s. Brands which jump on this opportunity early on may benefit in Snapchat Discovery’s advertising capabilities before the platform becomes saturated.

Cover photo via Mashable