After previously delving into how brands can monetise Snapchat, the private network released its first ever ad to US users on the 17th of October 2014. With 100 million active monthly users, of which 71% are under 25, this presents an excellent opportunity for companies to reach out to a younger demographic. However, you may be wondering why Snapchat has made the decision to advertise, how these ads will appear and which advertisers will be taking advantage of this service?

How will Snapchat ads work?

On the 17th of October, Snapchat released a statement announcing it will be placing advertisements in the ‘Recent Updates’ section of the app, stating it is understandable users may find this ‘a little weird at first but they’re taking the plunge’. Generally, companies spend a great deal of their time finding out information about their customers, collecting data and segmenting into targeted groups, often to show you ads which are irrelevant or ‘creepy’. Snapchat has stated its update will be simple and ads will appear from time to time however they will never be placed within personal communications.

Additionally, users will never be forced to watch ads before reaching story content and Snapchat has stressed that users will always have an option over whether they view ads or not. However, if a user likes the ad, they can choose to watch as many times as they like within a 24-hour period or until they exit the app.

Why offer an ad service on Snapchat?

With the question of ‘Why’ looming, Snapchat has been fully transparent, stating, ‘we need to make money’. Not only does this advertising service allow Snapchat to supports its service, it delivers interesting content and is able to use revenue generated from advertising to enhance additional products.

First ever Snapchat exclusive ad

Announced on the 17th of October, the first ever ad created exclusively for Snapchat was from Universal Pictures to promote its latest horror movie ‘Ouija’. Doug Neil, Universal’s VP of Marketing, stated; “Universal selects audience appropriate media platforms and believe Snapchat’s core audience met the target audience for their movie”. Both Snapchat and Universal have declined to comment on the cost of the ad. Additionally, although official figures have yet to be released, the Ouija ad is expected to have been viewed by millions and has spread much further than the Snapchat platform itself, thanks to many users taking screenshots of the ad and sharing through other channels.

What's the difference between this and ads on other social platforms?

There have been a few questions raised with regards to why brands would advertise on Snapchat when they could use more established social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Well, within those networks, users simply scroll through their feeds and sponsored posts are sandwiched between other content. Ads on Snapchat are featured within ‘Recent Updates’, making them more prominent and clearly earmarked as promoted content. Additionally, with Snapchat ads, users are aware these will disappear within 24 hours never to be seen again, prompting curiosity. Finally, when curiosity leads to the viewing of ads, the advertiser has the users valuable attention for at least 10 seconds, which is a rare privilege for ads on other networks.

The future of Snapchat ads

As a result of its unfamiliarity to brands, many companies may be wary of and reluctant to use Snapchat for advertising. However, short, snappy, mini video ads appear to be an effective medium on this platform and others and, if edited correctly, they can capture and hold the attention of the audiences for greater periods of time. The bottom line is that as we start to see more money flow into the app, there is expected to be more and more brands using the tool to advertise their products and services.

What’s more with an increasing shift in younger social media users toward private and closed networks, apps like Snapchat may hold the key to tapping into this market.

It is too early to document the success of this however, with McDonalds, Taco Bell, Nars, The WWF and Honda plus many more already using Snapchat Stories, it is only a matter of time before brands jump on Snapchat’s latest offering.

Keep your eyes peeled for more updates on Snapchats latest ads coming soon!