Snapchat Enters the Advertising World

lessons from our LAB

November 21, 2014

Snapchat Enters the Advertising World

Our Digital Scientists are made up of tech-loving, results-oriented, passionate, digital marketing nerds who have an unnatural obsession with all things digital. Most likely seen glued to a screen and spewing new digital marketing trends.


Image by Amisha Sharma via NYULocal

Advertisements are entering every form of social media these days. Intruding the user experience and becoming a nuisance for users to shift through. It started with Facebook, and now Snapchat will too be adding advertisements and money transactions into their app service.

My own Facebook feed feels like Time’s Square in New York City.


Within one minute of scrolling through my feed I was interrupted by ads invading my wall; distracting me from my social experience and creating a mass of clutter.

However, when a company is able to engage me or create interest through a sponsored ad like has done, it makes it seem less sales-orientated and more integrated into my wall. Everyone will have different ads emerging on their wall based on their searches and interest, but if the ad doesn't create a spark in the users mind, it will be glanced over.


Facebook Ad 1 FaceBook Ad 2








Facebook Ad 5On the other hand, Snapchat advertisements will come through as “Stories” in the users “Recent Updates” giving consumers a choice to view the advertisement if they desire. Snapchat hopes that the ability to choose whether or not the user wants to see the ad will make the ads seem less intrusive. Snapchat tested their first official ad from Universal Studios new horror movie, “Ouija”. Choosing the “Ouija” movie preview was a smart choice for their first ad as Halloween was approaching and Snapchat’s market consists of a younger audience, allowing a smooth and engaging transition into ads. The exact number who received the preview or who watched the ad is not released, but Universal Studios mentioned that millions did view the ad. Since "Ouija", I have only noticed one additional consumer advertisement for the movie "Dumb and Dumber To", once again before the weekend release of the movie.

Dumb_Dumber_To Dumb_Dumber_To_Ad Dumb_Dumber_To_Ad5Dumb_Dumber_To_Ad2 Dumb_Dumber_To_Ad4 

It will be interesting to see the reaction of Snapchat users and the amount of intrusion they feel as these ads become more apparent and common. Will the ads be another form of noise, or will they be accepted by Snap Chatters? Companies who are interested in putting ads on Snapchat will have to figure out a way to make overlooked advertisements interesting and engaging. If a company strategically creates their “Story” that is captivating and entertaining, they will have a chance to create or solidify relationships as well give users a way to look forward to their future ads. I do think Snapchat will have to be strict on who they allow to advertise on their platform. The younger audience will not be interested in less sexy industries like insurance, cleaning products, or bank ads unless they find a way to relate to them or make it fun (i.e. Mr. Clean).

They may be more willing to watch ads based on entertainment, music, clothing, technology, and food. If Snapchat keeps companies out that do not appeal to their user audience, it will be more likely that users will not consider Snapchat ads as sales pitches. As soon as Snapchat approves companies or ads that do not belong into the mix or use the correct appeal tactics, they can expect the same decline of users that Facebook faced when they allowed not engaging ads to overtake their platform.

Since the roll out with their advertisements, Snapchat has also integrated a new feature that will allow users to exchange money, “Snapcash”, by simply sending a dollar amount through their Snapchat messenger. Partnering with Square, the “Snapcash” will be delivered into the recipient’s bank account if both users have inputted their debit card information. The ad for “Snapcash” was sent out into users Snapchat messenger from Team Snapchat. It included a quirky song and flashy visuals.



 This new feature is far from their original service, but could be a valuable addition to their platform. However, they have one issue; people are already concerned about the security of their information. As we all know, Snapchat has been breached by third party hackers, but Snapchat is ensuring that their partner, Square, will be secure and dependable. Snapchat will have to ensure the security of their users as well as double check that their information and transaction are being monitored for breaches. It may take a while for this new trend of "Snapcashing" to catch on, but I believe it will become a big hit if Snapchat can rebuild the confidence of their user.

What do you think the results of Snapchat's additions of advertisements and "Snapcash" will be on the user experience or user attitudes?

Image by Amisha Sharma via NYULocal

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