Snapchat launched its first sponsored livestream at Sunday's American Music Awards, an important step in monetizing the new feature. Snapchat livestreamed the event with photos and videos, and Samsung sponsored the virtual experience. Samsung’s logo was prominently displayed throughout the stream. The team-up represents both companies experimenting with new ways to profit from banded content.
Snapchat recently starting placing ads within is "Our Story" feed, but live-streaming the AMA’s played to its strengths more so than the largely traditional ads it's rolled out so far. Snapchat's ability to share live events was not only put on full display, the company was also able to show it can make the experience profitable.
The AMA "Our Story" stream featured clips of Taylor Swift performing, One Direction winning an award and behind the scenes footage with plenty of celebrity cameos. In effect, Samsung was able to associate itself with the top names in music without having to produce its own content.
The stream also continued SnapChat’s philosophy of featuring unobtrusive ads. While it might take brands some time to figure out how to fully take advantage of such a strategy, it also creates an opportunity to provide value for consumers. Users don’t have to watch video ads in their streams if they don’t want to, and the branded content approach allows for uninterrupted watching.
The branded-content stream for the AMAs was showcased in the app’s "Live" section, and the opening "snap" and several photos and videos that followed were labeled "Powered by Samsung Galaxy" or "sponsored." The result was an easy-to-watch second-screen experience sponsored by Samsung.
The AMA advertisements come just after Snapchat announced it is partnering with Square to launch SnapCash, a free service that allows users to send money to friends via email.