Everything You Need to Know About the Snapchat API

Snapchat-Launch-API-600x400Snapchat has recently taken the social media world by storm and there have been no signs of slowing down. The application boasts 100 million daily users watching nearly 10 billion videos a day primarily between the ages of 18-34 — every marketer’s dream. While many brands have been hesitant to embrace the platform due to lack of measurement capabilities, a recent API announcement leaves many marketers buzzing with interest.

Snapchat started running ads on the platform in 2014, but only a select group of brands like Samsung were able to use this feature. More recently, they’ve started expanding their advertising capabilities through Sponsored Lenses and Geofilters.

Sponsored Lenses vs. Geofilters

  • Sponsored Lenses – Sponsored lenses are a completely customizable way for Snapchat users to interact or “play” with a brand. Typically Snapchatters play with sponsored lenses for 20 seconds. This higher engagement rate comes with a price tag of anywhere between $100,000-$750,000.
  • Sponsored Geofilters – Sponsored Geofilters are customized filters that can be used in specified locations or for specific events. Anyone can create a sponsored geofilter by designing the filter, submitting it to Snapchat for review with the selected geofence (target area), and paying for that filter.

Snapchat Advertising API

To further extend its advertising offerings, Snapchat just announced the launch of their highly anticipated advertising API.

  • Where will the ads appear? The ads will appear between the stories of your Snapchat friends when you auto advance from one story to the next. However, they won’t interrupt the actual story itself.
  • What kind of ads will be available? Snapchatters will be able to swipe up on an ad to install a promoted app, watch a longer form video, visit a mobile site, or view an instant article.
  • Will they be skippable? Yes, they will be skippable. Sources claim that they may occasionally take over the full screen and have sound if your sound is turned on.
  • How can you buy ads? Third party agencies, known as Snapchat Partners, will have access to the API so advertisers will be able to run ads through other partners rather than just Snapchat itself. There will be Ad Partners working on new software and analytics tools to help with the buying process, Creative partners assisting with the design, and Measurement Partners to help advertisers understand the impact of their efforts.
  • What does pricing look like? Snapchat’s previous video ad inventory has been priced based on a CPM rate somewhat similar to TV ranging from $40-$60. However, it is anticipated that the release of the API will result in less expensive ad costs with the exception of popular events like special holidays.
  • What are the targeting capabilities? While this information is still somewhat unknown, many people are predicting that the targeting growth will be similar to other social networks: there may be limited interest, gender, age and demographic targeting capabilities at first, but in time there will be more robust options.

How does the Snapchat API affect Snapchatters and Advertisers?

Releasing an advertising API for Snapchat enables marketers to more easily buy and create ads that will reach their target audience. While Snapchat claims that they will be reviewing all ads to protect the user experience and ensure quality control, this may not be manageable over time based on volume — as was the case with Instagram. Instagram also slowly started partnering with brands interested in advertising on their application, but they have since lost all quality control as any advertiser can easily place ads across Facebook and Instagram with the click of a button. Many Snapchatters have also embraced the platform because it has been somewhat “ad-free”. It will be interesting to see how Snapchatters react to the advertisements between stories. Will they stay loyal to the application or flock to a different social network?

What are your thoughts on the Snapchat API announcement? How will this announcement affect your social advertising budget allocation across social networks?

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