Snapchat Introduces Creepy Ads

Recently we wrote about Snapchat creating the ‘Stories Movement’, with Twitter and Instagram adding these features to their platforms. Now it appears that Snapchat is returning the favour with new targeting features that bare close resemblance to Facebook’s ‘audiences’. While advertisers will cheer at the prospect of new advertising options, Snapchat’s audience targeting will directly contradict well renowned comments from CEO, Evan Spiegel, who labelled such methods as “creepy”. Let’s take a closer look at what Snapchat’s offering and whether or not it’s a good move from the Social Media heavyweight.

‘New’ Targeting Types

Amidst the emergence of trending Ad Blocking platforms, Snapchat proudly introduces 3 new ad targeting features (sarcasm level over 9000), ‘Snap Audience Match’, ‘Snapchat Lifestyle Categories’, & ‘Lookalikes’. Clearly these are picked straight from Facebook, which shouldn’t be too surprising given Instagram Stories is basically Snapchat in a wig and sunglasses. The mimicking hasn’t slowed down either platform though, with big companies speaking very positively of Snapchat’s previous advertising efforts.

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Snapchat Audience Match

Snapchat Audience Match is a specific targeting option which enables “marketers to take existing lists of email addresses and mobile device ID’s, and anonymously match that data with Snapchat’s own pool of consumer data”. In other words, it provides a very relevant ad experience as it’s based on the user’s behaviour on Snapchat. Similar to Facebook and Google’s re-targeting methods, Snapchat’s Audience Match also targets external logins (signing into a separate service or website with your Snapchat profile) and will track a user’s behaviour when signing into different websites. Audience Match aims to become the most relevant targeting option in Snapchat Ads.

Snapchat Lifestyle Categories

Lifestyle Categories gives advertisers the option to target users who are categorised based on the content they view e.g. sports, music or gaming. This feature, similar to Google’s Affinity audiences targeting in Adwords, takes the theme behind content, and uses it to organise them into broad categories such as sports or music. This method of targeting will not be as specific at targeting people’s preferences but will attract a larger audience, which has proved a successful tool for Google and Facebook. .

Snapchat Lookalikes

Snapchat Lookalikes, as the name suggests, targets users with very similar characteristics in Snapchat’s database of information, offering a relevant ad experience for the user. You can define the audience you are looking for within Snapchat, and through its database it will offer a handful of people as a group with similar characteristics to your audience. With even the same naming convention ( ¯\_(?)_/¯ ), Facebook advertisers will find comfort in the familiarity of this feature.

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So what makes Snapchat special now?

Glasses will be raised as advertisers praise Snapchat’s delivery of yet another powerful medium for reaching the right people. Conversely though, users are already voicing their concern over online browsing being inundated with ads, this will power the already massive push towards ad-blockers – reducing the effectiveness of the ad, or even rendering it redundant.

A bigger question may be what of Evan Spiegel’s primary mission to avoid “creepy” ads? Well, with Snapchat’s unique features now not so unique and flourishing on their competitors platforms, we could surmise that the platform is in a spot of financial bother, and certainly in danger of not only losing new users, but losing incentive for new users to join. Add to this the recruitment of Brian Theisen, the former head of monetization at Facebook, and it seems we may not be far off the mark.

What do you think? Is this a natural progression for the platform, or a giant neon sign for help?

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Michael Medina Performance Media Specialist

My role and specialty within the Reef Digital Performance Media Team is to provide knowledge and key insights in online paid media. My experience in Performance Media allows me to utilise Paid Search and Paid Social platforms to implement strategies for reaching different marketing audiences.

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  • Snapchat’s advertising evolution continues. Informative post Mike.

  • Snapchat’s advertising evolution continues. Informative post Mike.