Snapchat Is Letting More Brands Run Ads Between Friends’ Stories

As social moves to the Dark Side (Dark Social) from open social platforms it would be expected that Snapchat leverages their base and uses the same strategies as Facebook is using with its messenger platform.

When Snapchat unleashed its ad-tech program Snap Partners in June with plans to serve video ads between stories, observers wondered how users would respond to seeing ads alongside their friends’ videos and photos. Two months in, Snapchat is already expanding its initial pilot to include more advertisers eager to reach the app’s 150 million daily users.

The ads appear between strings of photos and videos that users have share with their followers. Snapchat caps the amount of ads so that each person is served three so-called Snap Ads Between Friends promos per day—one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one at night.

Over the past few weeks, the number of ads has steadily increased. Based on Adweek’s own testing, each Snapchat user views the same number of daily ads, regardless of how much content they consume. In other words, someone who watches 100 stories per day is exposed to the same number of ads as someone who watches a handful of clips. Snapchat declined to comment about its ad load.
Ten brands—including Verizon, Express and Procter & Gamble—piloted the ad format earlier this summer, and now the format is available to a wider group of marketers. Dunkin’ Donuts, Unilever’s skin care brand Simple, L’Oreal-owned Maybelline, Starbucks and JCPenney have all run ads between snaps in the past week.

Similar to Snapchat’s broader Snap Ads format that runs within Discover and Live Stories, the length of a skippable video ad in between snaps is limited to 10 seconds. They can also be targeted by age, gender, location, type of device, carrier and content affinity. But unlike Discover or Live Story ads, vertical videos between snaps don’t include options to “swipe up” to watch a longer video clip or visit a website, which Snapchat has been pushing advertisers to experiment with in recent months.

The move to limit the number of daily ads is part of what many see as Snapchat’s steady but aggressive advertising push to reach $350 million in revenue this year and $1 billion by the end of 2017, according to leaked documents. To get there and compete for budgets alongside Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others, the rollout of ads on Snapchat has been gradual in order to avoid ruining the user experience. The ad formats mimic the app’s popular features like lenses and filters that its millennial-heavy audience loves. In 36 days in June and July, Snapchat sold 14 sponsored lenses in the U.S. that can cost upwards of $600,000 for a one-day takeover on non-holiday days.

“We have to be thoughtful about the inventory, ad load and the ad experience,” Peter Sellis, Snapchat’s head of monetization product, told Adweek in June when launching its API. “By doing this the right way, focused on creativity and doing it early, it allows us to be extraordinarily conservative. Something that I think often gets lost is that ad effectiveness can be inversely correlated with the number of ads that the viewer sees. If you see 50 ads in a day, the probability of you remembering them is low.”

Source: AdWeek August 10, 2016