Snapchat Says Its Weaknesses Are Actually Strengths for Advertisers

Snapchat just recently started to include advertisements in its popular ephemeral messaging app, but its advertising strategy is notably different than its competitors' strategies. Snapchat says it has no interest in tricking its users into clicking ads by blurring the line between advertising and organic content created by actual users.

The company's ads are clearly identified as sponsored content, and they aren't placed in users' personal communications, such as "snaps" or chats. "That would be totally rude," the company wrote in a blog post announcing its first ad for Universal Pictures' film "Ouija." "We want to see if we can deliver an experience that's fun and informative, the way ads used to be, before they got creepy and targeted."

The majority of social media platforms purposefully gather as much user data as possible to help brands place relevant and targeted ads. Snapchat calls that strategy "creepy," but the reality is that it can't deliver targeted ads even if it wants to.

"Snapchat is falling back on an old advertising technique -- if you have a weakness, turn it into a strength," says Adam Kleinberg, CEO of interactive agency Traction. "The weakness is that Snapchat doesn't have rich data to collect if they wanted to because the majority of the messages on that platform are visual in nature. And since they have no data, they're doing the best they can with the hand they're dealt -- telling users that they don't collect data because they don't think it's the right thing to do."

Kleinberg says Snapchat could become particularly valuable to marketers due to two things: passion and promotion. "When people are passionate about a brand already -- maybe it's in entertainment or fashion or a brand like Red Bull that people are drawn to -- this is a great platform to be on because people on it are eager to get messages from those brands."

Most brands simply aren't that popular or appealing, Kleinberg says. "Kraft salad dressing releasing a new flavor is not going to have the same success as Eminem releasing a new album."

Snapchat Advertising: Old School Format, New School Delivery

Universal Pictures wasn't the first company to place an advertisement on Snapchat, but it was the first to pay Snapchat for an ad. Taco Bell experimented with the service during the past few months, and it amassed more than 200,000.

The select brands that embraced the platform early are seeing their bets pay off with phenomenal engagement rates. Taco Bell recently told Adweek.com that about 80 percent of its followers open its snaps and 90 percent of those people view the messages in their entirety. It's easy to understand why brands might be willing to overlook some of Snapchat's weaknesses when you compare that success to the low single-digit engagement averages for organic posts on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Of course, as Snapchat attracts more brands that are willing to pay for ads, those engagement numbers could significantly decrease. The company is young and just beginning to evolve into an ad-supported network, and determining performance is a challenge. Brands that consistently attract engaged audiences, however, could want to strike while the iron is hot.

Snapchat also appears to be focusing on linear TV-like ads, which have always fallen under the "spray and pray" category of big media advertising. The 20-second Snapchat spot for "Ouija" is similar to a traditional movie trailer. Measuring accountability for these types of ads isn't easy, but Snapchat brings one clearly unique feature to the table.

Touch as a Game Changer for Snapchat Ads

Snapchat users must keep their fingers on mobile device screens to view snaps in their entirety, and the company's ads work the same way. "The fact that you have to touch the ad to watch it does give a higher indication of engagement," Kleinberg says. "If you don't want to see it, you can just let go."

By eschewing data collection and targeted ads, Snapchat could also solve digital marketing's reach issue, according to Kleinberg.

"Marketers want to reach large audiences and they want to target as specifically as they can," he says. "The problem with that is as soon as you start honing your target, you reduce the size of the audience you reach. By eliminating the capability to target, marketers can buy larger audiences without feeling bad about 'going too broad.'"

For what it's worth, Universal Pictures told MarketingLand.com that views for its first ad were "in the millions," and it doesn't worry about Snapchat's lack of targeting because the vast majority of its users are coveted millennials. Unfortunately, this approach won't work for many brands, and big media campaigns may be the only way Snapchat can drive the revenue needed to justify its reported $10 billion valuation.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Is customer segmentation dead?

Ginni Rometty, the CEO of IBM, announced the death of customer segmentation five years ago saying, "The shift is to go from the segment to the individual. She might have been a bit premature for most marketers, but if customer segmentation isn't dead yet, it's definitely on life support.

Richard Taylor

Senior digital strategist, Spinach

How people buy brands

Andrew Ehrenberg was a giant in the field of marketing science. He believed scientific methods could reveal law-like patterns of how people buy. In this post, I summarise one of Ehrenberg’s most important discoveries and its implications on how people buy brands.

Kyle Ross

Strategist, TRP

Is artificial intelligence riddled with bias?

The purpose of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has always been to replace the menial and repetitive tasks we do each day in every sector, so that we can concentrate on doing what we do best. Saving time and money has certainly been a decent outcome as AI infiltrates the business landscape, however, now we are starting to see problems that cause major issues in practice.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

This is so cool & Innovative . A Milestone will be created by this.

Digital Marketing Courses

AANA, IAB and MFA chiefs detail first cross-industry digital advertising practices

Read more

“2019 will be the year brands leverage their social capital with consumers to help drive sales, answer questions, and act on the brand’s ...

Engenius

Predictions: 9 digital marketing trends for 2019

Read more

At the deeper levels of artificial intelligence, computing machines make all kinds of correlations among whatever data is available to th...

Fraction Tech

Is artificial intelligence riddled with bias? - Customer Design - CMO Australia

Read more

https://myiplookup.com/ - find your ip address and location information in our main page. Also there are many ip tools you can use : IP L...

savefrom

iSelect outlines new approach to arrest ineffective marketing as its reports full-year results

Read more

https://myiplookup.com/ - this website will allow you to View Alexa Ranking and graph Check http headers of a website, tool to compare te...

savefrom

The Star's first CMO creates all-new marketing team

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in