Snapchat is the latest craze with millennials, and increasingly other age groups as well. eMarketer estimates that 58.6 million people in the US will use Snapchat at least once per month in 2016, representing 31.6% of US social network users, 28.3% of US smartphone users, and 18.1% of the US population. Due to this obvious popularity, advertisers’ interest in this platform has been paramount.
To understand Snapchat, which is different than other “social media” platforms, we should consider it primarily as a camera app and storytelling platform, with secondary social networking and messaging features. It is best thought of as a utility for visually capturing moments that matter and communicating them creatively in a private or semi-private way. That said, there are two sides of the Snapchat business: communication, or sending a snap to your friends, and content, posting the snap to your story.
In regards to advertising, Snapchat’s initial ad offerings debuted only last year and have drawn criticism for having limited targeting and measurement capabilities. Because of this, the company has made strides in the last couple of months in targeting and measurement.
Currently, Snapchat offers advertisers three native ad types:
- Snap Ads which are full-screen vertical video ad units
- Sponsored Geofilters which allow for brand imagery and messaging that conveys the “where & when” of a snap
- Sponsored Lenses which are brand imagery that Snapchat users can employ to enhance or alter selfies
While these may seem like simplistic offerings, Snapchat supports multiple variations of Snap Ads and Sponsored Geofilters to enable advertisers to achieve specific objectives, and Snapchat custom designs each Sponsored Lens based on its advertisers’ specifications and the platform’s technical abilities.
Snapchat’s video ads, or Snap Ads, are the foundation of the advertising capabilities that best encompass Snapchat’s camera feature. They are:
- Vertical in orientation
- Short (10 seconds or less, with no minimum length)
- Occupy the entire screen
- The audio is turned on by default
There are two types of Snap Ads:
- Standard Snap Ad, which is a basic video unit that offers no interactive capabilities
- Snap Ads with Attachments, which is an umbrella term for 4 interactive ad units
While there have been some growing pains in Snapchat’s transition to offering advertising, the company’s strides in the last couple months and upcoming targeting and measurement capabilities, likely in late 2016 and early 2017, will present a wealth of opportunities to advertisers.
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