By some, Snapchat has previously been regarded as an app for teens to send rude pictures to each other, which still may be the case to some extent. However, since Snapchat, now valued around $15 billion, launched its advertising feature called Discover it has transitioned from a messaging app to a digital media company. The app has been a phenomenal success since its inception in 2011 and follows other social media networks by its development from solely a communication platform into a discovery one – a strategy similar to Facebook and Twitter. Charging rates as high as $750,000 (roughly £475,000) for a day of advertising or 15 cents per click, to publishers, Discover has been very profitable for the company since it started in January. Although this appears to be an extortionate price for any advertising campaign, the publishers make the majority of their money back through their own advertising streams on Snapchat. A younger market Snapchat also offers publishers something a little extra than most other social media: the reach and greater engagement of a younger audience, specifically in the millennial’s market. Overall there are 60 million active Snapchat users, 16.5 million of which use it on a daily basis. On average, 86% of their audience is aged between 15-34, certainly a demographic many would want to reach. By requiring such large investments, Snapchat only attracts large worldwide publishers including Sky, Buzzfeed, MTV and the Daily Mail in the UK and ESPN, CNN and Comedy Central in the US. Companies advertising on Snapchat are forced into keeping their news relevant as updates last 24 hours, in a similar fashion to a daily news bulletin. Adverts have become increasingly more interactive by using quizzes and short video clips to attract the attention of the younger audience.
Marketers struggle to understand the platform Snapchat is targeted in a similar fashion to TV. Adverts are shown at specific times only for a day. The targeted demographics change depending on your geographic location, i.e. you will see different adverts if you are viewing it in the US compared to the UK. This is as far as targeted ads will go for Snapchat. They want to stay away from anything too personalised which can also be viewed as overbearing and creepy. CEO and co-founder of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel (pictured left, below with co-founder Bobby Murphy) wants people to find the ads that interest them rather than the other way around claiming that it’s “weird and invasive” when ads follow you around. Although beneficial for Snapchat, Discover disregards smaller companies with smaller budgets looking to advertise on the platform. This may be something Snapchat looks to address as it grows as an advertising network. To attract more advertisers Snapchat would have to work on tracking systems in place. This is because marketers have struggled to understand the ins and outs of Snapchat Discover because of how difficult it is to track the effectiveness of an advertising campaign. This is because there is no data or no click-through-rate tracking as of yet. The Future of Discover Snapchat is developing its own content arm of the organisation, building their own publishing and ads for their Discover network. Alongside this they aim to grow their network of publishers in the coming years. Maintaining a mobile focus and setting a higher quality experience for their users, Snapchat ensures that their partners take and upload videos vertically. Snapchat has cut their rates of advertising to 2 cents per click. This is to ensure the maintenance of strong relationships with their partners already on the platform. Further down the line, Spiegel wants to promote music artists from Vevo and Spotify on his network. Potentially buying his own record label for Snapchat, perhaps in a bid to becoming the next music mogul? No one can really predict what is next on the horizon for the digital media company but it is sure to be something exciting. Watch this space for more.