How Snapchat Is Tweaking Its Ad Format – Brand Stories On Hold, Focus On Live Event Feeds

Snapchat is tweaking its ad offerings to brands. For time being it has stopped Brand Stories but is focusing on Live Event Feeds


The ephemeral mobile messaging app Snapchat has a median user age of 18 years, with the majority of its users between 13 and 25 years of age. The app which has 200 million average monthly users was the fastest growing messaging app in 2014. The data sets attracted marketers so much that at one point it was being reported that brands have been ready to pay $750,000 a day for its ads. All this for one single reason - reaching out to the teenage audience.

However, Snapchat is re-thinking on its six-month-old ad offerings to brands. In a recent move, the company has stopped selling Brand Stories, the first type of ad it released last fall, according to Re/code.

Launched with Universal Studios, the LA based startup had run the first ad with its users - a movie trailer for an upcoming Universal Pictures horror film “Ouija,” The video ad ran 20 seconds, and Snapchat users had the choice whether or not to watch it. These ads linear to TV or print magazines, let advertisers pay to promote a standalone piece of branded content within the mobile app.

However the decision to halt Brand Stories isn’t due to the lack of interest - advertisers were still eager to pay Snapchat for the ads. Since that launch, McDonald’s, Samsung, Macy’s and Electronic Arts have been early Snapchat sponsors, paying for “Snaps”—quick videos and photos—that show up in users’ Recent Updates feed.

Even with this high demand, the company is keen to go back to the drawing board and indulge in brainstorming. A spokesperson confirmed that Brand Stories aren’t currently available and hinted in a statement they may come back in a different form: “We’re always fine tuning to ensure we deliver the best possible experience for our community.”

The latest development also comes close on heels after its two top ad executives; COO Emily White and sales boss Mike Randall have departed since the New Year.

With Brand Stories on hold, AdAge has reported that Snapchat is touting its TV-like Our Story feeds in meetings with media buyers, as well as its magazine-like publisher portal Discover. It is also being told that the company is modifying its Our Story feeds, which were rolled out in June 2014 as a way for people at events like music festivals or football games to post on-site snaps that are stitched into a linear feed.

The sudden rise of live streaming apps like Meerkat, Periscope and now Yahoo jumping into the race, makes sense why Snapchat wants to re-look at its Live Story feeds.

Advertisers would likely also love the fact that the average Live Story garners 20 million daily views, according to several executives.

For this Snapchat is asking marketers to pay between $400,000 and $500,000 for a full takeover of a Live Story feed, which would include a brand mention on the opening title card, as well as branded snaps interspersed throughout the feed, the executives said. But Snapchat is also offering a lower-priced option in which a brand can pay $100,000 for a single branded snap that can run for up to 10 seconds.

Recently Snapchat had an exclusive partnership with Univision Deportes to bring match highlights of the USA-Mexico to the Hispanic audience on social media. The Snapchat Live Story marked it’s first time partnership with a broadcast network and the first time it had covered a U.S. soccer match.

Snapchat is also pitching ads that will run in its more localized Live Stories, such as the ones specific to people on certain college campuses called Campus Stories or in cities like Los Angeles and New York that are called Local Stories. Those localized Live Story ads are said to cost roughly $50,000 a pop.

While it is re-thinking on the Live Stories, Snapchat seems to have restrictions on native Brand Story ads and how native a brand’s Live Story ad can be. Snapchat will tell marketers how many unique viewers and total views their ads receive, as well as completion rates but brands still face difficulty when it comes to detailed analytics.