Snapchat Just Opened Up Its Ads API to Let All Big Brands Buy In

It's also bringing on 16 new tech partners

The mobile app is expected to IPO in the coming months. Sources: Snapchat, Getty Images

Nearly eight months after debuting its Ads API (application programming interface) at Cannes and 16 weeks after putting the system into a limited beta test, Snapchat is now letting all marketers buy campaigns on its automated platform. Up until now, marketers for 100 companies—including Gatorade, Nissan, Unilever and McDonald’s—had been taking the API for a spin.

Expect to see case studies emerging from those tests in the coming weeks, and it will be interesting to hopefully learn about not only the positive outcomes but also the platform’s problem areas. Snap, Snapchat’s parent, has been consistently pushing the idea that its full-screen video product, called Snap Ads, performs wonders partly due to users typically having their sound on.

“I think sound can do really good work on telling a story,” Imran Khan, Snap chief strategy officer, said today, speaking at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Leadership Summit in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “An ad that plays without sound is just a moving banner.”

Snapchat also just added 16 new agencies and vendors to its API, which is divided up into a few sections.

In terms of its Creative Partners on the API, Celtra, ReFUEL4, VidMob, Percolate and Spredfast have joined the mix. For the Ads API, additions include Videology, Kenshoo, AdParlor, Kinetic, Hyfn and Adglow. The Venice, Calif.-based company is tapping PMG, mParticle, LiveRamp, Kochava and Merkle for its Snap Audience Match feature, which is designed to anonymously sync up consumer’s email and IP addresses to the app’s user base, allowing for better data targeting. 

Snap also revealed that it’s letting brands license an API Ads partner’s self-service technology in order to move control of their campaigns in-house. This would give marketers access to real-time campaign data and, in theory, increase their speed of execution and optimizations. Resolution Media has been licensing such software from 4C, one of Snapchat’s nine original Ads API partners. 

So, if the past two years have been about Snapchat capturing the industry buzz, 2017 appears to be when Snap gets serious about generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. The company is expected to file its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange as early as March.

Here’s part of the reason why there’s so much hubbub around Snapchat: Per Khan at the IAB conference, the average user—typically from the coveted millennial demographic—opens the app 18 times per day.

“Almost every waking hour, they’re coming to Snapchat to connect with their friends, to see their friends stories or using our camera app to create content,” he said.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.
@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.