Snapchat hires new leader for its U.S. ad business

By Published on .

Kristen O'Hara.
Kristen O'Hara. Credit: JerryMoran

Snapchat has hired Kristen O'Hara as its new head of advertising to help the company reshape its sales structure.

O'Hara, who had been chief marketing officer at WarnerMedia, was named Snapchat's VP of global business solutions. The position was previously held by Jeff Lucas, an industry veteran who was with the company for less than two years before leaving for Oath in February.

In her new role, O'Hara oversees U.S. sales, which is comprised of three regions: east, west and central. She reports to Snapchat Chief Operating Officer Imran Khan.

Snapchat is trying to reposition its ad business to follow the Facebook/Google model, which has sales reps striving to serve as consultants to businesses rather than just booking ad orders. For simple ad sales, Snapchat has an automated ad platform similar to that of Facebook and Google to let buyers place their orders themselves.

But businesses also need help understanding the nuances of Snapchat's advertising ecosystem, how to use its ad technology, and how to measure the success of ad campaigns.

Snapchat, which generates even less ad revenue than Twitter does, is trying to attract advertisers with the lure of a young audience and relatively cheaper ads. Ads have come down in price as more brands buy through the automated ad system, because the inventory is sold in auctions. And with fewer advertisers than rivals like Facebook's, the auctions are often less competitive.

However, Snapchat is the No. 1 app among teens, according to a new report from eMarketer. It has 16.4 million 12-to-17-year-olds using the app every month, compared to Instagram's 12.8 million, according to eMarketer.

So far this year, Snapchat reported $230.7 million in ad revenue in the first quarter, $15 million less than its Wall Street investors expected. By the second quarter, revenue was seen as being stronger, exceeding analyst predictions, growing by 48 percent year over year to $262 million.

Also this week, Snapchat said it would present at a Digital Content NewFronts planned for the first time on the West Coast (in Los Angeles) in the fall. That should be an opportunity for the sales team to show off video programs from top media partners on Snapchat. It's the first time Snapchat committed to attending a NewFronts event put on annually by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

Most Popular