SnapChat just scooped up a swanky new COO. Ex Facebook/Instagram Exec Emily White was instrumental in implementing Instagram’s recent ad-based monetization strategy. Her arrival then, could mean that a similar change might be underway at the Stanford-based start-up.
The start-up, valued at a billion dollars has no revenue stream to speak of yet, but is in the process of developing its monetization strategy. While an in-app paid-upgrade option was initially discussed, the start-up seems to be considering native advertising as a more feasible approach. This is great, great news for brands.
SnapChat has blown past both Facebook and Instagram in terms of the number of pictures shared daily; a whopping 400 million as of a few months ago. The app was also the most downloaded non-game app on IOS.
SnapChat’s distinctly “young” user base is making it an attractive platform for potential advertisers. Tewnty-six percent of 18 to 29-year-olds SnapChat their friends, whereas only 5% of 30 to 49-year-olds and 3% of 50 to 64-year-olds seem to be using the app.
It makes sense that a self-destructing sharing app is fast becoming the ideal sharing platform for young people, because who wants to run the risk of last Friday night’s debauchery popping up on a potential employer’s newsfeed? You can control exactly to whom you send what to and for how long. It’s all in real-time and has a distinctly more “authentic” feel than Facebook, for instance. It isn’t an edited-to-death picture on some “carefully curated” profile you’re seeing. Brands using SnapChat could benefit tremendously from this distinction and position themselves as the “cool kids” in the market.
Brands have already begun to make creative use of the app to advertise to consumers. This begs the question: does SnapChat really need to introduce formal advertising options?
Taco Bell recently asked its Twitter followers to add them on SnapChat for some creative “surprises.” Fro-Yo favorite 16 Handles also integrated the app into a recent publicity campaign. “Our core user is a SnapChat user,” Jarrod Walport, Marketing Head for the chain said.
What’s crucial to note here then, is that the app (much like Instagram before its introduction of sponsored posts into user’s newsfeeds) allows brands to advertise to existing consumers of their product—people who have most likely already been driven through the purchase funnel. Native advertising, however, will allow brands to reach prospective consumers.
SnapChat’s potential for brands is immense. Once native advertising is implemented, people can expect to see mass SnapChats from brands much like the “Happy-Holidays” SnapChats that users receive from the app itself. There has also been talk of potentially integrating a newsfeed into the app, but this may not come to fruition.
As new user interfaces and platforms emerge, so will new ways of advertising to the consumer. Just as ads on Instagram called for brand innovation, so too will the implementation of native advertising on SnapChat. Brands are going to have to fall in line with the five-second format and make sure that their content is engaging and memorable enough to make an impression. The digital space is at the cutting edge of consumer-brand relations and technological innovation will continue to trigger a boom in brand creativity.