How Snapchat works for advertisers

By Lorna White


London, United Kingdom


Mobile platforms as we know them today tend to have been built successfully as apps within their operating systems. Out of millions of apps, the success of so many companies  results through the development of a popular app, and the industry of app development continues to be of huge significance for businesses.

Very strong links between social networking and mobile are built on the power of mobile apps.

One success story that is still making waves in the industry is Snapchat. The social-sharing platform, which enables users to exchange photos and videos that self-destruct once seen, was founded in 2011 and has continued to grow and develop, now incorporating a strong advertising proposition.

Developing this opportunity for advertisers has been the result of a considered and careful approach, with a keen eye on ensuring that the all-important public audience is still at the heart of the platform.

October 2014 saw the first Snapchat ad: Universal Pictures launched with a sponsored update integrated within the platform. Ever since this moment, the proposition has continued to develop and has thus become an extremely attractive channel for brands.

Snapchat has many visual options — video and still shots — for advertisers to reach a young audience.
Snapchat has many visual options — video and still shots — for advertisers to reach a young audience.

Further developments on the platform have included:

    • Stories: A place where users publish snaps. The last 24 hours’ worth of snaps are always visible. Brands use this for messaging throughout a campaign.

    • Discover: Publisher brands (e.g. Sky, Vice, BuzzFeed) have developed partnerships with Snapchat to deliver content. Brands can only advertise here through the publisher brand rather than Snapchat directly, so this wouldn’t necessarily have the “snap” features but audience reach is at the core. 

    • Live: These are curated streams of content delivered based on location (e.g. sporting events). Advertisers are able to use interruptive ads between these feeds.

    • Filters: Filters and overlay graphics are also available based on location; these cover a city or specific locality. Brands invest on a sponsorship-per-day basis overlaying graphics. For example, McDonald’s has a raining fries filter, available at or near an outlet’s location.

    • Lenses: Three-dimensional overlays enable users to interact with fun animations on facial expressions. Brands are able to sponsor these now, allowing potential for huge creativity and PR buzz around an activity.

Overall, Snapchat presents a huge range of options for brands to snap out from traditional digital display or even traditional social-sponsored posts. However, brands need to respect that this is a “private” network and understand they cannot intrude on the user experience, but, instead, try to enhance or surprise with this difficult to reach audience.

Snapchat has brought with it massive new opportunities for creative advertising in the media industry. It’s exciting to think about what app will be the next hot topic as mobile continues to drive the advertising industry forward!

About Lorna White

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