The collective sound of weeping teens and millennials could be heard across the internet as Snapchat, the platform that they love so dearly for its disposable media between friends, announced they would soon be implementing ads, making this once personal platform not-so-personal.
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel announced that the newly rolled out ads would likely live within the app’s Story feature. So what will this mean for advertisers in the social space?
Brands who have not yet familiarized themselves with Snapchat users behavior, should get studying. Snapchat is known for telling disposable exclusive stories that vanish within seconds or in the case of stories, 24 hours. Like with all social media platforms, if you’re not creating content that is native to the specific platform and engages users in the way they’re used to being engaged with, then your message could get lost in the ether.
What about brands that already have a fierce following on Snapchat and are engaging with their fans natively on the platform? It may turn into a pay to play space for these brands much like what we’ve seen on Facebook, where brands have different types of accounts than the general populace, forcing them to modify their current strategies in order to get their content seen by multiple audiences.
Advertisers also need to put themselves in the mindset of users (aka teens) – how they currently use Snapchat and why they love the disposable aspect to continue to live in the moment. Advertisers need to find the right way to tell short concise stories that appear in the moment and that will only be relevant for a time period of around 24 hours. This kind of ad unit seems to be ideal for brands who capitalize on real-time conversations and provide behind the scenes access to awards shows/concerts/music festivals/etc.. While these ad units may not be the best for every brand, there are opportunities for relevant brands to reach their target audiences for real time advertising opportunities.
While we know there will be opportunities for brands to reach their key demos during times where they are most engaged on Snapchat, Snapchat is lacking one key feature that will dictate whether these ads sink or swim – user data. Snapchat doesn’t currently have the data that will allow brands to accurately target the people who they want to serve their ads to. So are these ads going to be served to everyone? Only a percentage? Can all brands participate, or are they going to go the Instagram route and invite brands to participate? This announcement has raised a lot of questions about how these ads are going to work and how they’re going to measure success. If we’re all patient (which can be hard for people in social media), soon all our questions will be answered. So for all you decision makers out there, who plans on testing these ads with your clients or brands?