If you are thinking about the next big thing in social media advertising, all signs point at Snapchat. Developed as a gimmick for teens in 2011, it’s grown to provide what people have been craving – Photoshop-free images and mobile-friendly vertical videos. The very idea of ephemeral content disappearing 10 seconds after it was viewed turned out so attractive that today, the number of Snapchatters reached a whopping 100 million (41% of all 18 to 34 year-olds in the US) per day.
For those of you who somehow missed the hype, here is how the messenger works: users take pictures and make short videos (snaps) with their smartphones. They are then sent to other Snapchatters, who only have 10 seconds to view the content after opening it. Once the bell rings, the content disappears forever.
A Snapchat story is a bit more durable format. If a snap (or a few snaps) are uploaded into a story, they will be available for unlimited views within 24 hours after creation. Once the bell rings… you get the idea. Stories help Snapchatters arrange pictures and videos into a kind of narrative (hence the name) telling about their experiences and events.
Monetizing was the next big thing to accomplish after building the fan club and back in 2014, the company introduced the concept of vertical video ads letting brands use Snapchat as a marketing tool. Pursuing the goal of doing things differently from other networks, most of all Facebook, Snapchat focused on high quality and entertaining content from a limited number of advertisers.
They wanted major brands to tell a story to their users instead of flashing catchy images in their newsfeeds, which the best snapchat ad campaigns did with elegance and taste.
With time, video ads have evolved and in their current form represent a combination of short videos and the ability to interact with the advertiser’s mobile website in a one swipe. They also outperformed horizontal video by 9 times.
Lenses, another form of Snapchat advertising, appeared in September 2015. Giving users a choice of funny branded graphics to interpose on their snaps, it simultaneously allowed for significant brand exposure. Overall, advertising on Snapchat has proved to be something new, different and worth paying for.
Adamant about not flooding the network with ads, the company locked all sponsored content in a dedicated media section (Discover), piping ads through several channels, and gave no signs of giving in. Up until now.
Rumor has it that the company is now willing to open its advertising real estate to a larger number of brands and will let ads behind the constraints of the media section. Put simply, Snapchat is launching an advertising API with a dozen of partners, who will be handling ad creation and placement for third-party brands. The content will still be monitored closely, but users will start seeing ads in between other users’ stories.
The announcement has already ignited talks on whether Snapchat is following in other networks’ steps and had users wondering if they will be forced to view the same amount of sponsored content as they are on other social media.
Whatever the case, for now Snapchat ads pricing makes them unfeasible (if not impossible) for small businesses and individual entrepreneurs, even though the price reportedly went from $750,000 to $50,000 for a one-day ad. What adds to general uncertainty is that the network offers limited targeting options and focuses only on a younger audience. Whether at some point Snapchat advertising will become as affordable and accessible as Facebook’s remains to be seen. We will continue monitoring and reporting new developments in this domain. In the meantime, nothing prevents a savvy performance marketer from using Snapchat independently from its promo content. Whether you are building a readership for your blog or trying to increase traffic to your website, Snapchat can become your next indispensable affiliate tool. Stay tuned!
Join BizProfits today and get access to unbeatable conditions of cooperation, respectable partners and a large professional performance marketing community.