August 28, 2015 Nick Cicero

Are Snapchat Ads Really Worth It?

Yesterday a story broke that Snapchat is charging brands for video ads viewed less than a second, according to Digiday and anonymous buyers

We reported way back in February through our introduction of Snapchat Analytics that technically (via many unofficially documented Snapchat APIs) any opens register at 1 second even, meaning no matter if you see a millisecond or .75 seconds, the number reads as “1.”

In May, when the company announced its new “Two Pennies” ad product for Discover, Snapchat PR also confirmed this to AdAge’s Tim Peterson, so it’s no surprise to us to hear that brands are being charged for fractions of views.

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While I’m sure this story will make some waves in the media space, honestly, part of me was like…yeah so what? Have they not been paying attention to recent announcements? Have they not been following Delmondo or reading our articles?

It feels like these executives now feel extremely guilty (and in turn “mad” at Snapchat) for, in their eyes, wasting a ton of money. From the article, these sources sound incredibly desperate not to let on that they fell back into the spray-and-pay techniques of the old media guard. 

So I have to ask the question now, while we’re seeing great numbers from Snapchat directly on ad performance, are Snapchat Ads even worth it? Arguments from this article suggest no, while other advertisers have celebrated them.

While Snapchat is still young and working on addressing their targeting and paid media offerings, there are still other of ways media buyers and brands can work to reach a bigger audience, namely working with influencers. 

Snapchat influencers often have a better understanding of their own audience analytics, which combined with Delmondo’s Snapchat campaign reports for brands give media buyers not only custom scaled audiences, but production costs baked in

More and more brands are turning to this type of influential talent who build huge, highly engaged audiences on Snapchat. Companies like JBL, Head and Shoulders, Tiger Beat and others have partnered with Delmondo to work with social influencers like Mark Kaye, Emgarber, MPlatco, CyreneQ, Cakes1toDough1, SalliaSnap, DannyBerk, Taylor.Nikolai, BrandenHarvey and more to create original content reaching millions of viewers daily. 

Another key difference between working with influencers and working anywhere else on Snapchat is engagement.

Influencers are different from any other “mass Snapchat media” vehicle (for lack of a better word) in the fact that when you consume content on an influencer’s channel, you can send them feedback, and they’re basically the only people talking back.

Sure with Discover, peer to peer sharing has increased with more and more quizzes and games, but these brands aren’t talking back. It’s a completely one-sided experience. 

These influencers, on the other hand, don’t just create amazing works of art or funny videos, they build truly engaging and interactive experiences that bring people into the story. These creators are like mini-Buzzfeeds, where their audience sees them as both providers of entertaining content but also approachable like a best friend. They try and personally snap every one of the hundreds of people who reach out to them. 

With the lack of a discovery tool, brands have to rely on influencer networks like Delmondo who are doing the legwork to find audience data and analytics to achieve business objectives through creative storytelling.

Brands who use this philosophy to work collaboratively with the influencers win in three major ways:

  • 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.

I still think that Snapchat has a ton of potential. Just right now I’m a little unsure of the ability for them to deliver on the value in which they’re asking a brand to pay. At the end of the day, Snapchat is a super young platform, and so is their advertising platform. So instead of just throwing millions of dollars at a paid Snapchat campaign, it might be smart for some of these brands to take a portion of that spend and test it with influencers instead. 

Get some analytics tools for brands too Snapchat. If you want some help, we’re helping to build the model, bring us in. The brands are begging for it.

Contact us today