Snapchat keeps stepping on Facebook’s toes by introducing new and powerful ad targeting features.
The network took society by storm, especially its younger segments. Like every major social platform, Snapchat built a large following base, then invited advertisers to the feast. It comes as no surprise that now Snapchat is trying to monetize this huge user base. Average users are already moaning and groaning, but native advertising is the reality for most of the popular apps we use every day.
The new feature, called Snap Audience Match, allows marketers to target users based on an email address or mobile device ID. For now, at least, Snapchat is trying to protect personal information and anonymity.
Another feature, called Snapchat Lifestyle Categories, allows advertisers to target people based on the types of videos they watch. Of course, the list would not be complete without “Lookalikes,” a targeting algorithm that will pick costumers based on certain similarities and characteristics of existing audience.
The parallel with powerful Facebook features is apparent, yet it’s a huge step for Snapchat. It was ad free as it grew to one of the most popular social networks of today, then random ads started appearing here and there. And while, Evan Spiegel famously said that he doesn’t want for the network to “creepily” target users, the company is taking the direction of serving relevant content and information, even sponsored, instead of random ads.
Targeting based on age and gender, like Snapchat did when it introduced its advertising, just doesn’t work. People of the same age and gender still have different interests, to say nothing of their different socio-economic and demographic backgrounds. Nonetheless, while the ad targeting wasn’t precise, it might have been a good investment just for the share of attention when there was such a small amount of advertising on Snapchat, .
Add to it the fact that a lot of advertisers work within themes and want stories to look as native as possible on this young network. With more than 100 million people using Snapchat every day and over 10 billion videos watched per day, this is really potent.
Hopefully, once a much more precise targeting rolls out on the platform, advertisers will masterfully craft it into stories. After all, this is what makes advertising on Snapchat more discreet and less intrusive.
Yet, as with any other network, once more brands dip their toes into Snapchat advertising, we will have a fair share of horribly-executed promotions. The platform is bound to get its share of criticism from such massive user base. However, as the time progresses, the quality bar will be raised.
In the meantime, it would be nice if Snapchat, unlike Facebook and Instagram, does not make the mistake of clogging up the feeds.