Digital Marketing

What the New Snapchat API Means for Advertisers

2016 is already shaping itself to be a big year for the mobile-only social network. Snapchat is finally throwing their hat in the ring to compete with direct response marketing giants Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. With 100 million active users and dubbed the most popular social network for young adults, Snapchat is exploring new ways to grow their digital ad business. Back in January Digiday reported on Snapchat’s plan to open up an API that would allow AdTech players and brands to execute campaigns, deliver creative, target specific audience segments and measure ad success. In February, we caught wind of Snapchat’s plans to expand the ad platform that closely resembles Facebook’s. This includes such builds as improved ad targeting, visible conversion tracking brand-side, and even the possible introduction of an algorithmic ranked feed.

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Snapchat recognizes the unique value their platform offers marketers and is changing up their game to  steal ad revenue share from other social media giants.

Let’s take a look at what they’re planning to roll out over the next few months.

New Partnerships

Another crucial way Snapchat creates value for advertisers is through a recent partnership with Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings. This comes as no surprise since Snapchat has worked with Nielsen in the past to measure and analyze audience reach, resonance, and reactions on the platform.

The two businesses plan to:

  • expand Snapchat’s currently offered metrics (mobile audience reach, resonance, and reaction)
  • begin using new metrics to gain a more granular insight to campaign reach (frequency, demographic composition, and gross ratings points)

Nielsen reports a campaign’s total digital audience across computers, tablets and smartphones using metrics that are comparable to TV. Under this new partnership Nielsen plans to create measurement solutions for both video ads as well as sponsored filters.

Interest-Based Audience Targeting

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Snapchat is looking to help advertisers build highly targeted ad campaigns within the publishers’ channels in the Discover publisher portal. Targeting will be based on the content people are consuming. This is quite an enhancement to the previous audience bundles. Brands will have the ability to track which content topics generate the most user engagement, rather than the channel as a whole. The Discover Section is filled with new branded content daily in the form of video clips. As you can see, a grid of icons from their Discover Partners allows users to view sponsored content from channels they find most interesting.

Rumor has it, Discover Partners will start interest-based targeting sometime this year.

Automation Plans

Taking notes from Facebook, Snapchat plans to automate media sales. Currently, they rely on a sales team to reach out and coordinate with individual brands on ad campaigns. To offset costs and improve ad campaign deployment, they are looking to build an API for a third-party company to automate their ad-selling process.

There is no word yet on how exactly Snapchat plans on moving forward, but there is a possibility of a tech acquisition to smooth over the heavy lifting.

Shaking Up the Stories Feed

With the rise of the algorithmic based news feed, Snapchat may be the next social media conglomerate to follow suit. The chronologically based story timeline has become cluttered and results in a poor user experience. Finding the videos you want to watch is often a tedious task.

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One incentive to implement an algorithmic news feed is the ability to re-introduce paid ad placements. This new features is expected to give brands more advertising opportunities for brands to promote in the stories tab and further their Snapchat audience reach in the stories tab. Placing sponsored content within the stories tab puts brands in the same stream as regular posts.


An added bonus for advertisers: Auto-Advance stories seamlessly transitions from one story to the next, making it simpler for users to stumble across intriguing sponsored content.

All in all...

Snapchat keeps their users coming back and hopes advertisers will soon follow suit. As Snapchat continues to experience rapid user adoption among a very unique demographic, advertisers will start to gravitate more readily to the mobile-only network. Snapchat promises to keep developing their digital ad business and that includes tapping into the retail industry with commerce ads in the near future.

Will they be able to live up to the hype? Only time will tell.

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AdStage Team