Snapchat has come a long way since its humble “Pictaboo” beginnings (and now you finally understand the ghost logo), and brands are taking advantage of the tremendous growth. There’s no question that Snapchat’s popularity is surging with eight billion video views on a daily basis and a new eMarketer report predicts the app will increase its userbase to 217 million by the end of 2017, up from 150 million in 2016. So what’s next?
Clement Xue, Snapchat’s director of revenue operations, said behavioral targeting was on track to roll out before the end of the third quarter of 2016, according eMarketer. What this means is that if a user follows or views a lot of video game or sports channels, advertisers could target them with categories such as “gaming” or “basketball.” Snapchat currently offers advertising target options for age, gender, location, device and operating system, mobile carrier and content affinity, but this could soon expand to broader interests such as “beauty,” “animals,” etc. (Category titles are speculative examples only.)
The disappearing photo-sharing app has expanded into a number of advertising firsts for the platform, including its first 360-video ad for Don’t Breathe and its first multi-level video game ad for Gatorade. Meanwhile, Snapchat acquired Bitmoji, a custom emoji-creating and sharing keyboard that is now integrated into the app and vice versa.
During this year’s Cannes Lions festival, Snapchat co-founder and CEO, Evan Spiegel expressed that his company “really care[s] about not being creepy,” which is why the business chose to concentrate on the context of advertising and where it sits, rather than targeting. Snapchat’s Privacy Center states: “We want you to feel understood. We want to understand what’s relevant to you and your life, and we want to show you things that you’ll care about. At the same time, we don’t want to serve ads that are so custom-tailored that they feel invasive or uncomfortable.”
Despite its increasing popularity, Snapchat has some catching up to do in the way of measuring ROI. A recent survey placed Snapchat at the very bottom of the list for producing investment return, which could be attributed to a lack of onboard analytic tools. Snapchat currently does not offer direct monetization, but brands are still finding ways to measure financial success through the app.