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Snapchat ads could get a lot more like YouTube ads

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
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By Ashley Rodriguez
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Snapchat might be going the way of YouTube.

The messaging and camera app, which has been wary of forcing ads on its audience, is seriously considering whether to subject viewers to three seconds of advertisements before giving them the option to skip the commercial break, Ad Age reported (paywall), citing advertisers and media players familiar with the company’s plans. If imposed, the experience would be similar to the way certain YouTube ads run for 5 seconds before they can be skipped.

The change could stop Snapchat’s savvy young users from bypassing commercials after less than one second of viewing, the publication reported.

Parent company Snap declined to comment on the report.

Advertising, which has grown heartily at Snap over the last three years, is the company’s biggest revenue driver. It posted $208 million in the third quarter of 2017—the most recent quarter reported—a 62% surge from the same period a year earlier, but less than analysts had expected. The advertising business stalled a bit last year, based on Snap’s average revenue per user—the metric it uses to measure its ad performance—which shows how much the company earned from each of its daily active users each quarter.

CEO Evan Spiegel attributed that (pdf) to Snapchat selling more ads programmatically, which automates the sale and placement processes, making the ads cheaper, but also opens the platform up to more advertisers in the long run.

The company has been working with advertisers to get their messages across in the first two seconds of ads on the app, which it says drive the biggest impact on ad awareness in Snap Ads. That’s based on a joint study with Nielsen.

Snap Ads include the videos, GIFs, and still images that play between Snaps, and some have an option to swipe up for a more interactive experience, like a game, a long-form video, or an app-install page. Last year, Snapchat’s gamified ads, where users could swipe up to play basic games ranging from trivia to choose-your-own adventure stories, averaged more than a minute of engagement time, Digiday reported.

The company also sells sponsorships for the lenses and geofileters in Snapchat, and gives marketers measurement tools to track their advertisements.

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