Snapchat has always been a perfect example of the Silicon Valley mantra of growth first, monetization later. And now, four years after the app’s launch and with users watching eight billion videos every day, the company is focusing harder than ever on revenue, launching a clutch of new products for advertisers. As reported by AdWeek, the main change for users will be that ads will start to appear between friends’ stories. They’re skippable, and won’t be inserted into the stories themselves, but will occasionally appear — full screen, with the sound on — when you transition from one story to the next.
YOU’LL BE ABLE INSTALL APPS FROM THE NEW ADS
The ads themselves will also be more fully-featured, and for the first time will be designed by third-party agencies — not just by Snapchat itself, which has been the case up until now. Advertisers will be able to choose additional actions when users swipe up on their content, including sending them to a longer video, directing them to a website or article (without leaving Snapchat), or prompting them to install another app. Snapchat promises that it’s going to review every single ad on its platform to maintain quality, but it’s worth remembering that Instagram made a similar promise, and quickly broke it.
Most importantly for advertisers, the company is also launching a new API that makes it easier for them to buy and manage ad campaigns on Snapchat. Companies that have access to the API — known as Snapchat Partners — include more than 20 firms with a digital and tech focus. Ads Partners will develop software and analytic tools for advertisers themselves, while Creative Partners will focus more on the end product. A third category, Measurement Partners, will give advertisers new ways to gauge how users interact with their product.
All of this meshes nicely (from advertisers’ point of view) with Snapchat’s redesign a week ago. The app’s updated layout pushes together friends’ stories and Discover material from editorial partners, which should boost views of publishers’ content. Mixing more ads into this should generate significant additional revenue for Snapchat, but the company’s projections still sound very ambitious. A leaked presentation deck for investors suggested that Snapchat’s revenues in 2015 were $59 million. The company projects this to reach between $250 million and $350 million in 2016, and then rising to between $500 million and $1 billion in in 2017. It’ll need more than a few sponsored lenses to reach that goal.