Snapchat has launched Dynamic Product Ads in the UK as it steps up efforts to grow ad revenue from retailers and direct-to-consumer brands amid a seismic shift in global ecommerce.
The picture-messaging platform said the new service is designed to simplify the consumer purchase journey and make it easier than ever for brands to set up their ecommerce business on Snapchat.
From today, advertisers in the UK can automatically create globally served Snapchat ads based on real-time product catalogues that can contain hundreds of thousands of products, to be served in multiple markets.
Available formats include Snap Ads, Story Ads and Collection Ads, which can be created from a product catalogue.
The Dynamic Product Ads service is free and aims to enable brands to showcase their products and services in a "professional layout, through customised ad formats that can be easily set up", Snapchat said.
The company hopes it will save advertisers time, not only on the creative process but also on administration and allowing them to run "always-on", measurable campaigns.
Snapchat is working with specialist companies such as performance marketing shop Brainlabs and insights company 4C as part of an "ecosystem" through which brands can access the platform.
Brainlabs global managing director Matt Adams said: "We now have the opportunity to tap into new, unique audiences at scale that allow acquisition clients to achieve incremental, cost-effective volume. We are seeing strong innovation across platforms that now allow clients looking for strong performance values to tap into audiences that have historically been served through brand metrics – this allows our client base to have advantage of speaking to consumers in authentic ways that complement their user experience and deliver high ROI."
The offering was announced globally in October and Snapchat has been testing the service with brands such as Adidas, Topshop and Farfetch over the past month.
Rob Seidu, senior director, media activation, Europe, at Adidas, said that within weeks of a test in the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands, the brand saw 52% growth in return on advertising spend and it has since grown its investment in this service.
Competition among tech companies to ramp up ecommerce solutions has intensified in recent months amid the global coronavirus crisis, which has forced brick-and-mortar retail to close in may countries and many brands had to either shift or expand their ecommerce offering. According to UK online retail association IMRG, online sales grew to a 10-year high in April, representing a 23.8% year-on-year increase.
While Amazon’s already dominant position has been further strengthened by lockdown circumstances, Facebook announced the launch of Facebook Shops last month and Google said it would make Shoppings ads free.
Snapchat's reach pales in comparison to that of Facebook and sister platform Instagram, but its popularity among younger people is potentially a powerful draw for brands. In the UK, Snapchat says it reaches more than 80% of people aged between 13 and 24, and more than 60% of 13- to 34-year-olds.
Ed Couchman, Snapchat UK general manager, added: "The coronavirus has accelerated the need for businesses to look at their digital sales channels and encouraged them to be more innovative in how they do that. SInce we opened up the beta testing, I was impressed at the number of businesses who wanted to get involved – far above what we expected – which really shows the appetite for brands to get on board with ecommerce."