The Snap Audience Network is set to extend the popular social network’s audience well beyond its 186 million daily users. Advertisers and app developers are poised to benefit.
Not long ago, Snapchat was a novelty in the social media world. Twitter was the place for witticisms or micro-blogging, Facebook became the hub for memes and news, and Instagram was all about photos. Did users really need another social platform with seconds-long stories and funny animal photo filters that quickly disappeared? The answer, overwhelmingly, was yes. And other social media platforms took note. Now, the stories format is everywhere, and audiences love it. But Snapchat has long struggled to make its platform as appealing to advertisers as it is to users. That could change in the very near future.
At the company’s first partner summit in Los Angeles on April 4, Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel announced the upcoming launch of Snap Audience Network, which will allow other sites to run Snapchat-style ads. Here’s everything you need to know about the new Snap Audience Network
The Snap Audience Network will allow app developers to run the same full-screen, vertical video ads that appear on the Snapchat app on their own apps. Snapchat will sell the ads and keep a portion of the revenue.
Anyone paying attention to social media in the past few years has probably noticed that Snapchat’s pioneering story format has been embraced by other social media platforms (and this has created amazing opportunities for advertisers, too). With the Snap Audience Network, the company hopes to make it easier for potential partners to work with Snap, rather than simply trying to mimic the company’s incredibly successful formula. As Josh Constine writes for TechCrunch:
“They won’t have to build up an ad sales force or build an auction and delivery system, but just drop in an SDK to start displaying ads to both Snapchat users and non-users. The company’s message again is that it’s becoming easier to cooperate with Snapchat than copy it.”
Snap is currently asking developers to sign up for the Audience Network before it’s set to launch later this year. And the aim of the Snap Audience Network seems to be moving outside the app in order to reach a broader audience on many different platforms.
Most advertisers know that Snapchat is the way to go when it comes to connecting with the elusive Millennial and Gen Z audiences. According to Spiegel, the company reaches 90% of 13- to 24-year-olds, along with 75% of 13- to 35-year-olds. But with its new Audience Network, the company is hoping to reach audiences beyond its current net, according to a Digiday interview with James Chanter, senior partner at GroupM’s m/SIX:
“Snap Audience Network could extend Snap’s addressable audience beyond the 186 million people that use Snapchat daily to include less frequent users who may be found in other apps. Snap does appear on our media plans where relevant and where we want to reach a specific audience. But what Audience Network does is it has a potential to blow that out,” said Chanter.”
But in a post GDPR world, where privacy scandals abound and audiences are increasingly aware that social media giants may have access to their personal information, privacy is a bigger concern than ever before. Snapchat has long positioned itself as the “good guy” of social media, offering more privacy to its users than other platforms, in part due to the fact that disappearing stories are, by nature, impermanent and thus less likely to be mined for data. And while The Snap Audience Network means sharing some audience data with ad buyers, it’s not likely that the data sharing will be on as large a scale as we’ve seen with Snap’s competitors, which could comfort users who prize privacy. According to Variety:
“Snap wants to avoid some of those pitfalls by limiting the types of data it shares with partners. Spokespeople said third-party apps won’t have access to friend graph data — an industry term for data points about the friends a user has on social networks, and data those friends are sharing with that user.”
In the company’s own promotional materials, Snapchat promises the Snap Audience Network is “built with our privacy-by-design principles top of mind.”
Will the new Audience Network work? Investors are betting yes. After the April 4 announcement, Snap stocks rose 1%.