A New Era of Snapchat Advertising Begins

snapchat lensesPhoto messaging service Snapchat has rolled out a dramatic expansion of its advertising tools that will provide marketers with flexibility, measurement tools and new formats, enabling them to fully take advantage of the apps massive popularity and high engagement rates.

The most significant change is the introduction of Snapchat Partners, the services long-awaited advertising API that will enable adverts on the app to be sold by third parties, and the establishment of a full advertising platform, both of which will serve to usher in a new age of marketing through the app and could fuel a huge surge in revenues and an eventual IPO by the company.

Companies making use of the API will be divided into two categories: Ads Partners and Creative Partners. Ad Partners will be ad tech firms, developing software that will enable marketers and brands to buy, optimise and analyse campaigns run through Snapchat. Initial Ad Partners include Amobee, TubeMogul, Adaptly, VaynerMedia, 4C and SocialCode.

Creative Partners will comprise of agencies with expertise in social content and the services vertical video format, 3V (set to be rebranded as Snap Ads in the next few weeks) and includes Refinery29, The Mill, MediaMonks, Matte Finish, Big Spaceship, VaynerMedia (the only company to serve as both a Creative and Ads Partner) and Snapchats own Truffle Pig, which it launched in collaboration with WPP and The Daily Mail at last years Cannes Lions.

Snapchat is also introducing new advertising formats including ads that play between Stories, when users auto-advance between one persons Story to the next, and expandable ads which will enable users to install apps, play long-form videos, visit mobile websites or access other content formatted to work in Snapchat.

Despite what is sure to be a surge in advertising content on the service, Snapchat is aiming to protect its user experience by continuing to review all ads for quality before they run and managing ad load so users are not served too many ads in a single session or over the course of a day.

Maintaining that user experience will prove essential to Snapchats ambitions. The sponsored lenses and geofilters that the company has run in the past have been extremely successful in terms of engagement, and through their sense of value to users have bypassed the built-in cynicism towards advertising of the ad-blocker generation.

With Snapchat unveiling expanded Sponsored Creation Tools as part of its new advertising strategy, we will see more and more of these lenses and filters hitting the app, and combined with the other new tools, brands will now be able to pair them with app installs or links to retail sites. However, in order to retain its appeal to young users, it will have to balance this expansion with restraint, or it could see previously-loyal users flee to rival services.

Last year, Snapchat brought in around $59m (£42m) in ad revenue, and reportedly the company is aiming to bring in between $250m and $350m this year. Despite the apps famously expensive ad prices (which are likely to drop as third-party firms begin to sell space), this figure seemed like a fantasy, but with the rollout of this new platform, Snapchats advertising dreams could be about to come true.

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