Snapchat is sending clearer messages about its plans to include ads with its app. In a conversation with Katie Couric at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit, Snapchat CEO and co-founder Evan Spiegel acknowledged that ads are in the near future for the popular time-delimited messaging platform.
"People are going to see the first ads on Snapchat soon," he said. "We think they're pretty cool."
Precisely how Snapchat ads will appear is still a subject of speculation. Snapchat will be launching an advertising service called Snapchat Discovery, and it will embed ads within its Our Story feature. But Spiegel did not disclose any new information on Snapchat Discovery or reveal what types of ads would be featured in Our Story.
Since Snapchat doesn’t collect as much user data as Facebook or Twitter, it’s safe to say its ads won’t be targeted at users.
"We’re cutting through a lot of the new technology stuff around ads to sort of the core of it, which I think has always been telling a story that leaves people with a new feeling," Spiegel said. "They’re not fancy. You just look at it if you want to look at it, and you don’t if you don’t."
The first ads will appear between photos within Our Story. Users will be able to scroll right through the ads if they don’t want to see them, unlike ads on sites like Youtube, which force people to watch at least a few seconds of an ad before moving on.
Savvy marketers like Taco Bell and GrubHub have created accounts on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram for some time, but integrating advertisers has been a bit trickier. Facebook-owned Instagram rolled out its advertising program in the U.S. about a year ago and recently expanded it to the U.K.
Instagram ads look any other Instagram pic, except they are marked as sponsored content. While Instagram’s entry into advertising created a predictable furor among users, the rollout appears to have gone very smoothly, and Instagram continues to show steady growth.
Snapchat is wildly popular with teens and Millennials. Yahoo is reportedly determined to shore up its advertising position for that demographic with a substantial investment in Snapchat.