Snapchat Ads – Review & Predictions

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Snapchat Ads | Review & Predictions

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The increasingly popular image-based app has garnered nearly 100 million active users since its conception in 2011. Currently valued at $10 billion, Snapchat has decided to join its predecessors Facebook and Twitter in capitalizing on its users.

In October 2014, the first-ever ad was rolled out on the platform stirring up controversy. The unexpected and eerie “Ouija” ad popped up as a “Recent Update” prompting users to access it and watch a 20-second cut of a trailer jam-packed with jump scares. The North American audience referred to the experience as “creepy”, with many criticizing the company for distributing the video.

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Neil Doug, VP of Digital Marketing at Universal Studios, explained that choosing Snapchat as a marketing channel was due to the movie’s target audience. According to this stats report, 71% of Snapchat’s users fall into the “under 25” age group.  Doug also elaborated on the media buying method that took place by explaining that the ad’s format was dictated by the platform. Snapchat opted out of a simple image with a text overlay resembling the user’s posts and chose a 20-second clip.

Aside from the target audience dominating the platform, Universal Studio’s choice had more to do with creating an interactive & social experience. Unlike a standard YouTube in-stream ad, Snapchat users had to actively click on the update and hold down while they watched the entire trailer. With YouTube, many choose to skip the 30-second clips and thus are not as effective. Additionally, the ad was unexpected which contributed to the experience of the horror genre by using the element of surprise.

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According to Doug, Snapchat has been speaking to a few of production studios about the new ad product, which means that we can expect a lot of similar ads for movie trailers.

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Aside from movie trailers, no information has been released about the other possible objectives and ad formats, so here are some speculations & wishful predictions:

1- Including an embedded-link feature in its video ads to drive traffic to other landing pages

This will benefit Consumer Goods brands by contributing to sales

2- Adding a conversion-tracking mechanism to help advertisers with conversion rate calculations

3- Adapting a CPC (Cost-Per-Click) or a  CPV (Cost-Per-View) bidding model  (not a CPM)

4- Launching a user-friendly ad serving dashboard

5- Launching the ad products in the Middle East/North Africa by Q4 of 2015

While no plans have been announced for the launch of the ads in the MENA region, local brands have already started utilizing the app as part of their customer service strategy. Al Hilal Bank, known for its innovative strategy, was one of the first to tap into this platform by using to provide customers with updates such as events and services. The bank’s objective was to connect with its customers on a personal and an interactive level.

(Ayman Jaber is a Google Certified Digital Strategist & Marketing Manager in Dubai. Check out his personal Blog where he shares his tips on digital marketing.)

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