What does Snapchat's API launch means for marketers?

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Back in June, Snapchat announced their plans to allow advertisers to purchase their ads via third parties. This weekend finally saw it being rolled out to a select number of brands with McDonalds, Unilever and Gatorade being some of the first to test out the potential.  This ad API effectively allows third parties to sell Snapchat’s ad inventory using automated bidding systems.

The more creative an ad is, the better it will do in the auction-based algorithm; think Quality Score with Google AdWords. Other factors which will be considered are targeting, age, gender, location, device and carrier.

In an analytical sense, tracking the range of targeting can be done from dashboards, in real time. As this API technology is already in use by companies like Facebook and Instagram, advertisers can compare the platforms to see which performs best for their brand, allowing them to place their spend accordingly.

Being able to quickly assess the performance and therefore the ROI of our ad spend across multiple platforms, will mean that competing social networks (along with Display and Search ads) will need to tread the fine line between showing as many ads as possible to relevant customers (to boost their performance compared against competitors), and annoying those customers with irrelevant ads.

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Will brands buy into this new API system? We’re thinking that it already looks set to be a success. Adidas have reported that Snapchat came out far superior to Youtube during their comparison of the two social networks, claiming Snapchat produced “insane” performances. The possibility of cheaper costs and efficient targeting is sure to lure brands in, especially on a platform that holds a user's attention so well like Snapchat does.

This move from Snapchat looks set to bring them into closer competition with the likes of Facebook and Twitter. If the photo-sharing giant continues to release sought-after updates and innovative new ideas, the user growth will continue, and it will surely only be a matter of time before the ad money follows...

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