Can Snapchat Become an E-Commerce Platform?

By Justin Lafferty Comment


Snapchat works wonders for engagement and brand awareness (especially among Millennials) … but could the time-bomb messaging app actually drive sales?

It could.

Snapchat has talked about opening its Discover content platform up, including some e-commerce features. At Re/code’s recent Code/Media conference, Joanna Coles, the editor in chief of Cosmopolitan and a Snapchat board member, discussed the probability:

Sweet is a channel on Snapchat that Hearst and Snapchat have done together, and the tagline is ‘Love something new every day.’ But at some point that will morph into an e-commerce platform so you will be able to buy from it.

Katy Lucey, the senior paid social account manager at Elite SEM. She told SocialTimes that in April, app install ads will come to the Discover platform. These ads will be billed on a per-download basis — not on views or impressions.

Lucey told SocialTimes that she feels this will be a huge win for retailers trying to capture the Millennial audience:

This announced new approach to billing, combined with news that in the second or third quarter of this year, Snapchat will begin to allow advertisers to link out from “Discover” to their own retail and content sites, makes a strong case for the eventual inclusion of direct shopping in the Snapchat platform.

Snapchat already has dedicated hosted channels run by media partners like the Wall Street Journal, ESPN, and MTV, as well as click to view and app-install ads. But currently advertisers cannot link their content back to their own sites, and all ads are billed on a per view basis.

If the impending changes are enacted, Snapchat could end up being a strong partner for retailers hoping to engage young audiences where they are already socially engaging. The shift in billing for advertising based on consumer action rather than views is already being lauded as a step in the right direction.

Readers: Do you think Snapchat could become an e-commerce power?