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Snapchat Is Building Its Content Chops For TV Ad Dollars

H.B. Duran|

Ah, Snapchat—the home of silly filters, disappearing messages and . . . TV? Well, that’s the plan, anyway. Snap, Inc. is vying for television advertising dollars by hosting original content from educational programming to reality TV. The social platform/camera company began soliciting content from Hollywood last year and hasn’t done too shabby in terms of partners to date, as brands scramble to appeal to Snap’s millennial demographic.

The latest deal is with Vice Media for an original dating show called Hungry Hearts with Action Bronson. The eight-episode series will debut later this year, starring rapper and former chef (you guessed it), Action Bronson as he sends couples on dates he has planned, then gives play-by-play updates as to how these dates are going.

Just a few weeks ago, Snap, Inc. partnered with Discovery Communications for an unnamed exclusive project, as well as shows based on popular IPs like Shark Week and Mythbusters. Other partners include NBCUniversal, BBC Worldwide, Turner and A+E Networks. Viacom recently launched two new global Discover channels on Snapchat—MTV and Comedy Central. Viacom also struck a multi-year revenue share agreement with Snap, Inc. that allows the company to sell ads within Discover and pitch the app’s Live Story promos to brands.

“We’re the largest broadcaster to the millennial and centennial generation, and Snapchat is, on mobile, the number one broadcaster to the millennial generation,” Viacom head of sales, Jeff Lewis told Adweek. “When you put that platform and content with it, it’s great for storytelling, targeting [and] measurement.”

For many marketers, however, ROI measurement is not one of Snapchat’s strong suits. In fact, it came in almost last—second only to AOL—in terms of return on investment, according to a series of studies published by RBC Capital Markets in partnership with Ad Age. Snapchat received 3.43 out of eight points, according to the survey, which included 1,600 marketers. Ad dollars are instead being spent on competitors who have copied Snapchat features, like Instagram.

Snap, Inc. is definitely on to something by setting itself apart from competitors and making influence marketing more accessible through Snapchat Spectacles. While the platform remains an effective and informal way to reach a young demographic, the company has quite a way to go in terms of providing valuable metrics to keep marketers—and creators—happy.

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