Snapchat’s New Data Deal Will Equip Marketers With More Third-Party Measurement

The program encourages big brands to buy ads

Snapchat is looking to increase its third-party measurement.
Illustration: Dianna McDougall

While Snap’s stock price has continued to slip and the company has been under fire from investors uncertain that it can keep up with Facebook and Instagram, the company’s measurement game is expanding to arm advertisers with sophisticated metrics that helps Snapchat compare itself with all other media.

Snapchat is launching a measurement program today that specifically addresses marketing mix modeling, or MMM, with four data companies: Neustar Marketshare, Nielsen, Analytic Partners and Marketing Management Analytics. The new program adds to Snap’s existing 15 measurement partners that vet the app’s impressions, reach, targeting and viewability metrics. The goal is twofold: Increase the likelihood that big brands will buy ads on Snapchat and also attach those campaigns to third-party measurement that confirms the results of a campaign.

Snap backs up its new measurement program with one big stat that’s sure to get marketers’ attention: During the second quarter of 2017, 55 percent of every dollar spent on advertising included some type of third-party measurement. Such third-party partnerships include programs with Moat, DoubleClick, Millward Brown and Oracle Data Cloud (formerly Datalogix) and are typically included in ad packages for the brands who spend the most on advertising.

The new measurement program aims to make Snap more competitive with Facebook, Google and Twitter, which all offer similar MMM measurement efforts that aggregate all of an advertiser’s media channels—including TV, print, digital and out of home—and then zero in on one specific channel to measure how effective advertising was in driving sales.

“It’s Snap in the context of all the other things that the brand is doing,” explained Nancy Smith, CEO of Analytic Partners in explaining how MMM will work within Snapchat. “We measure the effectiveness of their marketing in an ongoing way so that they can inform their planning and decisions of allocating budgets based on how effective those budgets were spent in the past and how effective the campaigns that they currently have running.”

To that end, measurement partners are now measuring sales lift and return on ad spend (or ROAS) on Snapchat—two key metrics that advertisers use to make big, broad decisions about their advertising spend.

“As marketers have moved from traditional channels to newer, emerging channels, the challenge is, ‘Are they really able to understand the impact of sales driven by Snap or Instagram or something else and bringing the impression-level data and all the spend level?’ Now marketers can get a sense of that,” said Julie Fleischer, vp of product marketing at Neustar. “Any marketer that is spending on Snap wants to understand what the impact on it is. The challenge with newer platforms or walled gardens is how do you bring that in so that you can measure them in the context of everything else without blind spots?”

Neustar measured ROAS for two categories within Snapchat: Soda and movie studios. Per the firm’s calculations, every dollar that movie studios (who are some of Snapchat’s biggest advertisers) put into Snapchat advertising results in a $14.33 return on ad spend. For restaurants, Placed calculated that Snap drove a $10.76 return on ad spend while soda generated a $4.76 return on ad spend.

Meanwhile, Oracle Data Cloud and Nielsen Catalina Solutions report that out of 59 studies that measure offline sales, 83 percent resulted in positive sales lifts.

While Snap is only measuring MMM and aggregate data, Analytic Partners’ Smith said she hopes to eventually be able to measure multi-touch attribution with granular impression data provided by the app.

“Ideally we’ll start with impression-level data that’s viewable and robust based on the different types of ads and then we’ll get more granular details—that would be DMA-level, which is where a lot of the other mediums are provided,” she said.