The new "Promoted Story" is meant to reach everyone in a given
country. "Sponsored Lenses" can be made available to everyone in
the app, but those are a less traditional ad offering, which users
discover in their cameras while taking videos. Lenses are animated
filters for decorating selfies.
Promoted stories are a mobile video ad that Snapchat says gives
brands a way to tell stories like any other media partner on the
app, only they are labeled as an ad.
Snapchat compared the new unit to the YouTube masthead position
on its homepage, which is seen by all visitors. Twitter has a
similar platform-wide format, as well, with a video that appears at
the top of everyone's feed over the course of a day.
first ever ad format was similarly served to everyone in the
app. In 2014, Snapchat sold its first "brand stories" for the movie
"Ouija" that appeared in people's message feeds, where friends'
messages arrive. That format was short-lived and stopped selling in
less than a year, however, and Snapchat has since embraced a more
targeted, customized approach to advertising.
Snapchat would not say how much a "Promoted Story" costs. It
will be served to the 88 million Snapchat users who visit the app
Snapchat is still trying to crack the
right advertising formula that gives brands the tools they need
to create ads, target messages, and buy the ad space efficiently.
Meanwhile, it has a sensitive fanbase it wants to keep from feeling
overrun by commercial messages.
So far, the company has fallen short of advertising goals in its
first year as a public company, generating less revenue than
investors had anticipated. In the third quarter, $208 million in
sales was $30 million less than forecast, according to analyst
Last quarter, Snapchat ad prices dropped 60 percent because most
of the ads are now sold through automated auctions that depressed
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel has promised a
redesign of the app to create a more lucrative environment for
advertisers and media partners. Snapchat is expected to tweak how
it presents stories and shows, and will rely on machine learning to
better connect users with content they will watch.
It's important to note that while the story ad will appear for
everyone on Friday, a person has to choose to watch the story.
"While they say they reach everyone, everyone is not watching
them," says an advertiser, who is close with Snapchat but would
only comment on condition of anonymity.