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Snapchat Ads Incoming

Marketers To Get Snap-Happy

Contrary to popular belief, Snapchat ain't no charitable venture. But despite previous efforts to monetise, it has always struggled to turn its prodigious popularity into profit. The service has 100 million monthly users, it was the subject of a $3 billion bid from Facebook, it has enough celebrity endorsement to last three lifetimes, but it just can't seem to catch the break it needs to finally make some money.

However, at the recent Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit (deep breath if you're reading this out loud), Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel finally confirmed what we've all suspected for years: ads are on their way, and with the prices that companies are prepared to pay to showcase their content on statistically less popular services, it seems unlikely that billboards in Snapchatland will be cheap.

For those worried that adverts will interrupt the bulk of their Snapchatting, don't be; it's been heavily suggested that any adverts will only be shown on the new 'Our Story' feature, which collaborates people's experiences at events such as the Super Bowl or certain fashion shows and streams them publicly. According to Spiegel, the first wave of Snapchat adverts will only be shown here, and will even be skippable. This means we don't have to fear being ‘bombarded’ with adverts, as one hyperbole-riddled English tabloid suggested.

So stop worrying. We'll still see uninterrupted versions of any personal snaps we get: the naked pictures of significant others (if you're lucky) and the blurry videos of your contacts' dogs learning to bark (if you're me) will forever be available ad-free.

Snapchat stories were first introduced last year, when the company provided a free update which gave us the ability to create publicly visible posts which remained online for 24 hours. With this, it began its evolution from a messaging app to a full-blown video platform. It also brought the service the celebrity endorsement it was once missing, as internet celebrities were suddenly able to reach millions instead of just their personal friends. Our Story came next. The natural evolution of stories, it changed them from an insight into one person’s life to a communal video biography of a public or private event. Due to the increasingly public emphasis of Snapchat's stories, it is understandable they see it as the perfect destination for the first wave of adverts.

While we’ve recently been inundated with adverts that stalk you through cyberspace and various other atrocities, Snapchat is having none of that rubbish. Instead, we’re going to be getting good old fashioned adverts which "tell a story". The adverts won’t be specifically tailored for each user, and will be exactly the same for everybody. In this sense, advertisers are going to have to go back to their roots of actively selling us a product. This is a nice change of pace, as Facebook’s new features have made advertising almost unfairly easy.

Much like Instagram’s recent rollout, Snapchat ads are starting off with an air of subtlety. Whether we will one day be ‘bombarded’ by them remains to be seen, but for now they’ll be minimal, untailored and barely noticeable. Just the way I like them.


Emile is a postgrad from the University of Saint Mark and Saint John. He’s hoping to break into journalism or publishing, and won’t stop blogging until he’s managed it! Follow him @EmileAtSMF.

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Snapchat Ads Incoming Reviewed by Emile Cole on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 Rating: 5
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