Will 2016 be the year of Snapchat?

Source: The Drum

Snapchat may be on the charm offensive for ad spend but it is still relatively closed off to advertisers, planting it firmly in the test-and-learn arena rather than tried-and-tested at the moment.

The ephemeral platform has overcome its perceived immaturity and is set to tip from niche network to mainstream marvel this year. Its association with sexting and selfies wasn’t the easiest sell-in to advertisers but a growing list of influential brand and media partnerships with the likes of Coca-Cola, Burberry and the Wall Street Journal is allowing agencies to pitch Snapchat without a resulting snicker.

For most advertisers, the quickest win available to them on the social network has been to bypass its eye-bulging ad prices and get influencers to push messages out through their channels. It’s meant that many marketers are carefully considering Snapchat on a brand-by-brand basis as to the appropriateness, role and nature of content in this environment and indeed the reach opportunities.

However, Snapchat wants to be a premium media buy; a string of high-profile hires for its fledgling ad business and rumours of the arrival of an ad tech platform later this year highlight its bid to become more than just a messaging app to advertisers. Executives have been meeting with agencies in the UK since the turn of the year to discuss future opportunities around sport and music, both of which are pitched as big opportunities for potential advertisers, according to one source close to those discussions. Those meetings are also understood to have teased more meaty partnerships from Snapchat’s publisher network Discover and, interestingly, have been at pains to stress that it is not just the preserve of teenagers.

More than 75 per cent of Snapchat users are over 18 years old, said one agency source, making it a sensible media buy for those who can afford it. Unilever is one advertiser that can and is understood to be motivated by the prospect of an older Snapchat audience, with its chief marketing officer Keith Weed recently tweeting that “if Snapchat can capture the older generation, then even more revenue will follow”.

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