Snapchat has discontinued their “Brand Stories” ad product, according to numerous sources yesterday. The first advertising product that the young platform released was just six months old, and pushed curated stories into users’ feeds as seen in the Ouija example below.
As reported in Re/code:
A spokesperson confirmed that Brand Stories aren’t currently available and hinted in a statement they may come back in a different form: “We’re always fine tuning to ensure we deliver the best possible experience for our community.”
So with that we wait…again. But should marketers have to wait to fund awesome content that brings value to an audience? We say no.
How can brands advertise on Snapchat? There are a few ways:
1. Snapchat Discover
We’re already seeing brands like Sperry, Ritz and BMW get involved with Snapchat’s premium content section, Discover. Alongside stories and videos from publishers like CNN, Vice, People and ESPN, advertisers have been spending upwards of $100,000 a day to advertise in these units.
While Discover is definitely a great option for a brand to reach mass audiences, there are still a lot of limitations on the types of creative these ad units contain, limiting advertisers to video or display-type ads without any real audience engagement around the content. It’s hard to say “go check out our ad on Snapchat Discover” and not sound weird, but by partnering up with some influencers around valuable content initiatives these ads units could become a lot more useful.
Check out one of my favorite ads on Discover so far, from Sperry and Cosmo.
2. Our Stories
Our Stories are probably one of the best products Snapchat has to offer, these curated compilations bring together the best photos and videos around events like Coachella, The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or the American Music Awards. Snapchat has been hiring more and more editors to hand select these events and the content that goes inside of them.
For example I recently watched the Our Story for the Frozen Four Hockey Championships and it was amazing to see a snap from within the area of an actual goal being scored, then cutting to fans in the stands cheering, then cutting to fans at the college cheering in front of the TV.
This is the prime real estate for a brand. It’s relevant, valuable, native, and generally a really enjoyable experience. At the AMAs Samsung sponsored behind the scenes content that was curated and branded in the Our Stories feed.
3. Influencer Content
More and more brands are turning to influencers who are building huge, highly engaged audiences on Snapchat. Companies like JBL and others have partnered with Delmondo to work with social influencers like Mark Kaye, Emgarber, MPlatco, CyreneQ, Cakes1toDough1, BrandenHarvey and more to create original content reaching millions of viewers daily. These creators are like mini-Buzzfeeds, where their audience sees them as both providers of entertaining content but also approachable like a best friend.
These influencers don’t just create amazing works of art or funny videos, they build truly engaging and interactive experiences that bring people into the story. For example, we worked with JBL to invite fans to submit their “All-Star Theme Song” to Evan Garber, Mark Kaye and Ashley Outrageous on Snapchat and received thousands of messages and hundreds of video submissions as you can see below.
With the lack of a discovery tool, brands have to rely on influencer networks who are doing the legwork to find audience data and analytics to achieve business objectives through creative storytelling. And influencers are coming out of the woodwork to create their own innovative ideas to bring brands into the platform and monetize, like Mark Kaye’s 24 Hour Snapchat project. He’s selling hourly slots to brands to create content with them along his adventure to the Shorty Awards in NYC.
Coupled with this announcement that Snapchat is actually removing a formal option for a brand to advertise, we anticipate more and more brands turning to companies like ours to help them discover and build content #CreatedWith the best influencers on Snapchat.
Brands who use this #CreatedWith philosophy to work collaboratively with the influencers gain a myriad of benefits:
- They are able to speak directly with the creator’s audience in a voice that feels real and authentic
- They gain a reputation of authenticity and a sense of intimacy: they are no longer a faceless behemoth.
- They get a better chance to break into the normally hard to reach Millennial demographic in a way that avoids the pitfalls of interruptive advertising.
Snapchat is still young and in order for them to grow to be the amazing social platform to scale that they have the potential to be, there’s going to be some growing. That’s where we’re at now. I mean hey, even Twitter is still figuring out all the different ways they could make money, it’s a work in progress.
We’re already starting to see a great migration of Vine stars leaving that platform and moving to Snapchat to create content in new and exciting ways, and the removal of one brand product (and the press that surrounds it) is sure to reignite a number of new conversations internally at brands and ad agencies.
There are a lot of brands who want to tap into the power of the audiences on the platform, so in my opinion this move will only accelerate the adoption of brands and creators on Snapchat.