Snapchat Is About to Let Brands of All Sizes Buy Self-Service Ads

Will small marketers shift ad budgets from Google and Facebook?

Snapchat is opening up its ad pipes to attract marketers of all sizes. Sources: Snapchat
Headshot of Christopher Heine

Snapchat today is announcing its self-service ad-buying system, which is rolling out with 20 brands, including smaller players like online sneaker seller Goat, social app Mammoth Media, movie ticket app Atom Tickets and gift retailer Hollar.

Called Snapchat Ad Manager, it will be widely available in June in the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Australia and other countries for companies of all sizes, marking a departure for an app that has until now only let big brands run campaigns. Marketers of all stripes can buy the app’s vertical video ads, called Snap Ads, whether they want to drive app installs, garner branded long-form video views or prompt ecommerce clickthroughs (swipe ups, in Snapchat vernacular).

Ad buyers will be able to manage video creative and first-party audience data—like email lists and mobile app IDs— and leverage the platform’s targeting capabilities and goal-based bidding while seeing a set of performance metrics. The self-serve platform had been anticipated for the past couple of weeks after a Digiday report.

Every marketer now essentially has access to the features that came with the Snapchat Partners ads API in 2016. Here’s a glimpse at what’s possible in that realm: Snapchat partner 4C can help marketers target Snap Ads in conjunction with live TV programming. The system was evidently built with small businesses in mind—Goat, Mammoth Media, Atom Tickets and Hollar helped test out some of its features.

Whether small companies with limited budgets will actually move significant ad money from Google and Facebook is uncertain. Snap, Snapchat’s parent company, provided testimonials from each client in an email. Here are a couple:

  • “We are impressed with Snapchat’s ability to drive quality app installs at affordable CPIs using their new self-service platform and look forward to developing a deep advertising partnership,” said Ameesh Paleja, CEO, at Atom Tickets.
  • “The platform gives us the real-time flexibility needed to run successful campaigns, and with hundreds of integrations it gives us the ability to capture the data we need to better understand [return on investment],” said Sen Sugano, marketing vp at Goat.

Additionally, Snapchat is debuting a mobile dashboard that will let companies manage and monitor ad campaigns right from its app. Also, the company is now offering a feature called Business Manager that lets advertisers organize access to campaign assets, billing contacts and information for team members.

The moves come during the first week of the Digital Content NewFronts in New York, where, while Snapchat doesn’t have a formal presence, the app is being mentioned as a partner in presentations. The new offerings also arrive at a time when Snap’s stock price—a little less than $22 at the NYSE’s closing bell on Wednesday—could use a lift, as it’s still a few dollars short of its price after the first day of its IPO.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.