Snapchat Offers to Bill Brands for Ads Based on TV-Style Ratings From Nielsen

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Snapchat Discover Credit: Snapchat
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Snapchat wants to be the future of TV, and now offers advertisers the option to buy based on TV-style ratings.

On Tuesday, the media app confirmed it would let brands plan and pay for ad campaigns using Nielsen's digital ratings. It's a small tweak to the ad offering, but comes as Snapchat looks to show that its ads are on par with its digital rivals and traditional television.

Advertisers have demanded that platforms like Snapchat and Facebook adopt third-party measurement tools, such as the ones Nielsen provides, so they can independently verify the performance of their ads.

"This is critical as we integrate video investments across offline to online," said Douglas Rozen, OMD's chief digital and innovation officer, in an email. "Enlisting an accredited third party is key to reporting measurements in an analogous manner across screens, especially as Snap pushes further into video."

This is a big year for Snapchat as it plans to become a public company, and it needs to continue building its ad technology.

Last week, Snapchat expanded a partnership with Oracle Data Cloud to enhance ad targeting, and on Monday it announced new rules for Discover partners to make videos and articles more family-friendly -- an attempt to clean up explicit content.

Snapchat is competing with Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, which all want to attract TV ad dollars. Snapchat recently made deals with networks like NBC and Turner Broadcasting to bring more original programming into the app.

Snapchat declined to comment for the story, but did disclose its new payment option based on Nielsen's digital ad ratings.

Snapchat is trying to appeal to large TV-buying brands, and the Nielsen billing option will be available in the coming weeks, a Snapchat spokesman said. The social app already had a relationship with Nielsen to use its measurement tools and the new billing option expands on that.

Brands can order Snapchat audiences by demographics -- gender and age group -- and get a guarantee of delivery as measured by Nielsen. Advertisers have had the option of buying Facebook ads like this since 2015.

While the measurements and billing will come in a TV-like package, advertisers still need more convincing that Snapchat can be as effective as a 30-second spot during primetime.

"For us, a Snapchat video view is not the same as a TV video view," said one executive from a top Snapchat advertiser, speaking on condition of anonymity. "A 30-second spot on TV, that's just a different experience. They can say it's the same size audience, but they're not delivering the same ad impression."