How Snapchat’s new ad API will change the platform
Earlier this week, it was revealed Snapchat is taking after Facebook and Instagram in building an ad API.
Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel has previously been skeptical or even opposed to advertising, but now seems to have changed his mind. The messaging app is currently taking steps to build an ads API, or application programming interface, according to reports.
How will Snapchat change as a result of the new API? We can’t know for a while, as the platform will probably take its time in testing it before release. These are some of the ways the API can change Snapchat, according to Digiday:
- Friendly to brands, publishers and advertisers – “An API would help measure performance of content on Snapchat, get better insights into the type of people who are watching, where they’re located,” says Nick Cicero, CEO of Delmondo, a Snapchat and tech-focused agency.
- Risk of turning off users – The point of an API is to open it to third parties who then give their advertising clients a way to buy on the platform while they are also buying on all the other platforms. So that means more advertisers but also more concern about quality control with the possibility that too many bad ads run, diminishing user enjoyment. This is why an API or any new technological tools from Snapchat will be carefully developed and likely limited in scope for some time.
- Benchmarks for success – One of the keys to any successful API is analytics, a sore spot for Snapchat and its young ad business. An API turns over some of the measuring to the technology partners.
- Data concerns – Of course, one of Snapchat’s main selling points with users entails its combination of anonymous users and disappearing messages. The company has been strident about not building profiles on users to creepily advertise to them. As the reality sinks in about the need for a viable business, more targeting and data capabilities follow.
- Better produced content – With more content producers, technology can help them understand how best to create for Snapchat. APIs help define “what it means to create quality content on them,” says Noah Brier, CEO of Percolate.
- New tools for discovery – Snapchat also needs to improve the mechanism for discovering accounts on the app. Right now for a Web celebrity, publisher or brand to be found, they need to promote the exact account name outside Snapchat. Better search and discover functionality would point people to better content and give the producers more exposure.