Remember that time last year when Snapchat turned down Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerburg’s all-cash acquisition offer of $3 billion? We all (or was that just me?) thought 23 year old CEO Evan Spiegel had let his ego get the best of him, but now just about a year later his start-up is worth an estimated $10 billion and is actively seeking out and launching new ways to bring in revenue. Their latest venture? Advertising.
Yes, you heard me right, as of mid-October you can expect to see paid spots being pushed into your “Recent Updates” section – right below the video of your best friend dancing on a table and just above that clip of your ex singing along to your favorite song in the shower. These advertisements will be sent directly to Snapchat users and will be available to view for 24 hours before disappearing, just like any Snapchat Story post. Since Snapchat lacks the heavy user preference databases Facebook has, the ads will not necessarily be specific to your interests and habits, but rather will be randomly sent out to large groups (perhaps segmented by region, gender, or age – info the company does keep track of). Spiegel ensures his app’s loyal users that these advertisements will be “fun and informative, the way ads used to be, before they got creepy and targeted.” I, however, am just not convinced.
As a PR gal, I’m all about companies finding new ways to connect directly with their consumers. I appreciate creativity and am always fascinated by the innovative tactics brands use to make themselves known, but I just can’t wrap my head around viewing untargeted advertisements in the midst of catching up on the on-goings of my friend’s lives. Facebook sidebar ads are one thing (annoying yet avoidable), but video stories mixed into my feed masked as just another story update are a whole other. Sorry Spiegel, but I anticipate them to be a lot like those pop-up ads you can’t wait to skip before entering a website.
Image source AdWeek.com
You may be wondering why Snapchat is taking this controversial plunge and the company’s answer is simple: “We need to make money.” Because a $10 billion valuation just isn’t enough. Go big or go home, I guess!
Posted by Ameara