Earlier this month, Snap Inc. (formerly Snapchat Inc.) made headlines—not for introducing a new face-transforming filter or modifying its Stories feed, but for something even bigger: a new way to test and buy ads.
The company behind the messaging app that boasts more than 150 million monthly users is now offering brands the ability to purchase ads programatically. While the platform hasn't been fully automated and brands must still buy sponsored geofilters and lenses directly, Advertising Age reports that third-party partners and their advertisers can now “plug into” Snapchat's API to buy and sell Snap Ads.
The change goes a long way toward streamlining the Snapchat ad-buying process. Brands will be able to target based on vertical, user interests, customer email lists, dayparting, and “lookalike” models designed to help them find consumers similar to those in their target audience. Ad Age notes that “sophisticated” retargeting techniques are also in the works.
What's more, with programmatic technology buyers can leverage real-time reporting and analytics to better measure campaign effectiveness and optimize creative. KPIs like screenshots and view times can be noted in real-time as well.
For buyers of digital advertising, there's a lot of love about programmatic, and that affection is sure to extend to Snapchat. With vertical, full-screen mobile videos that feature sound, Snap Ads are designed to capture consumers' attention. They maximize the use of moving visuals, and encourage engagement by inviting users to swipe for more information from the brand. The fact that these ads are now available for purchase programmatically makes it easier than ever for buyers to create compelling messaging and mobile video campaigns.
“Programmatic” translates into advantages to consumers as well. When buyers and sellers automate formerly manual aspects of buying and selling ads, it opens up opportunities to focus on ever-more-advanced capabilities: targeting, attribution, and truly innovative creative. Ideally, this in turn creates a better overall experience.
Snapchat users aren't likely to know that advertisers are buying Snap Ads programmatically, but that's the best part: They get to reap the rewards of more sophistication behind the scenes without any change in the way they’ve always employed the app.
All of this makes automated advertising both a brand- and consumer-friendly alternative—likely one of the reasons why Snapchat decided to jump on board. There's no question that programmatic is the future of digital video advertising; just consider the fact that this year, 60 percent of digital video ad spending will be conducted using programmatic technology. That number is expected to reach 82 percent by 2018.
We at Tremor Video have long believed that technology creates not only efficiencies, but opens up immense opportunity for innovation. Everything from the media environment to consumer behavior is changing at the speed of light, so in order to create exciting ad experiences, buyers and sellers have to continuously experiment and make good use of every available technology. Snapchat’s decision to introduce programmatic advertising speaks to the importance of the technology to the industry at large. This is just one more step toward creating a more efficient and sustainable digital advertising marketplace for the benefit of buyers, sellers, and consumers alike.
We salute Snapchat's decision to “join the club” by using programmatic technology to deliver a superior video buying experience. No doubt we'll be seeing more companies like this embrace ad automation in the months to come.