Snapchat is testing two new ad tech features that take a page from Facebook’s playbook. Given the history of competition between the two social media juggernauts, which has heated up over the past year or so, this move isn’t surprising. However, marketers and advertisers should take note of how Snapchat deep linking and lead gen ads-the two new capabilities–will work and possibly help them.
If we examine Snapchat’s moves over the past few years, its efforts to make itself ad-friendly and shoppable are easily noticeable. In 2015, it teamed up with shopping search engine ShopStyle, which allowed bloggers to create styles for their followers to shop. In 2016, it offered third-party verification from companies like Oracle Data Cloud,Nielsen mobile Digital Ad Ratings and Google DoubleClick to add more measurement capabilities to the ads. But it seems that the multimedia mobile application is far away from putting its efforts in that direction in cold storage. At least, the recent tests made by it reflects that.
With the unofficial launch of Snapchat deep linking and lead gen ads, the company is implementing capabilities that Facebook started using in 2015.
Snapchat deep linking enables users to swipe up and tap a link, which will bring them to a specific place within another application, such as a playlist in a music app or a product page in an e-commerce app. Now, this means that advertisers will be enabled to run ads for a product they want to sell and users can “swipe up” to view and learn more about it. After tapping the screen, they will be directed to that product page.
For those who are not familiar with the concept of deep linking, the following example will illuminate it: A streaming music service may buy a Snap Ad where, after viewing a 10-second video, users are directed to swipe up. From the web-view page, they have the option to tap through to another app. If they don’t have the necessary app downloaded, they could be directed to a page where the app can be downloaded. Clearly, Snapchat deep linking going to be instrumental in giving marketers superior control over the messaging and communication of the ad once they get that initial conversion by enabling users to easily click to their own digital property.
The second new feature is lead gen ads, also known as web auto-fill. These enable viewers to fill out lead-generation forms with one tap on the screen after seeing an ad, and, to protect their privacy, they are asked if want to use the feature every single time it’s utilized. The ad can extract any user information, like name, phone number, email address and birthday. In short, it’s a way of sparing them from repeatedly entering their details on smartphones. This is very significant move considering how agonizing it is to put all your details by typing through the small keypad of the small screen. It will undoubtedly speed up the overall purchase process.
These lead gen ads are a very interesting move in that it could very well be used by a significant portion of B2B companies–provided, of course, that their prospects are on Snapchat. While plenty of B2C marketers use lead gen tactics and forms for a variety of reasons, this shows how Snapchat is trying to branch out to new types of advertisers.
Monetization: Of course, a huge reason for the implementation of new ad technologies is the aim to stand shoulder to shoulder with Facebook and Instagram, who are the current hot favorites of advertisers. The much more evolved functionality and gigantic user base of Facebook and Instagram are the prime reasons for that.
The move appears even more logical when we look at the scenario where about 30% of all online sales in Southeast Asia in 2016 occurred via social networks. And some 80% of shoppers in Southeast Asia used social media to research items and contact sellers. Data from Sumo Heavy puts that that figure in America is at 18.2%, an increase of 8.3% in the past six months. Snapchat is wise enough to understand the growing potential of social commerce…and rightly so, it wants a sizable chunk of a share of it.
Snapchat’s Own Ad Related Miseries: Apart from the monetization, this move also has to do a lot with the Snapchat’s fight with its own demons. Though it has a huge user base of millennials and Gen Z, along with its meteoric rise over the last couple of years, its interface has always been a point of concern for marketers. They have always found it a platform that is hard to sell from.
To begin with, the first issue that markers have with Snapchat is that it’s very difficult to get rapt and undiluted attention on ephemeral brand stories, which vanish after 24 hours. And that’s why to keep up the content feed up, marketers have to use their own resources all the time…and that’s like involving the inventory!
Another issue is that Snapchat’s way of advertising is better suited for brand promotion and creating a buzz about products. For big brands with larger ad budgets, this might work. But relatively smaller companies view ads as a tool that directly lead to sales.
Plus, a Snapchat ad is a costly affair. As per one agency source, campaigns run between six and seven figures, and another said a sponsored lens can run between $350,000 to $700,000 a day. (Nevertheless, there are some kinds of ads you can purchase for under $50,000.) Besides, Snapchat ads need specific filters due to their vertical video or platform nature. It forces agencies to make ads specifically for those filters- and that costs extra money.
Mike Dossett, manager of digital strategy at agency RPA, has accurately put the finger on this pain point when he said, “Their standard video inventory requires new production because it’s vertical, and there’s a 10-second limitation. That makes it challenging to plug and play.”
Naturally, with such a wounded revenue leg, Snapchat cannot run in the race of its planned $25 billion initial public offering. It has to shore up its monetization strategy and position it as a potential growth generator if it has to attract investors to purchase its stock. And through updates like Snapchat deep linking and web auto-fill, the business is trying to keep no stone unturned in the pursuit of profitability.
Note: We always keep a close watch on each and every happening in the social media world. In this blog also we have discussed Facebook’s product tags and Messenger Stories. Here, you will know everything about Facebook’s launch of Marketplace. To know which new targeting tools Snapchat has added in its arsenal, have a glance at this blog. Similarly, to get acquainted with the recent Instagram updates, this blog is a must read.