Snapchat is the social app du jour, even if it's not a proper social network and it's not terribly hard to see why. Instagram has adopted some unpopular features, Google+ never really took off, Myspace is still dated, and Twitter is having a hard time finding itself as a platform, undergoing leadership changes all too frequently. Snapchat has spent a good deal of time and resources attaining this status, surpassing many more mainstream social networks and their apps in order to do so, and offering a glut of features you generally won't find elsewhere including strange and novel filters, self-destructing content for privacy, and video timelines known as stories. Snapchat seems poised to finally leverage its position to make the big bucks. An announcement points to a new advertising API and the showing of interstitial ads between friends' stories. That isn't the biggest change, however.
Snapchat's chief strategy officer, Imran Khan, says the new move is about giving brands a place to "tell their stories... in a better way." On top of the new face of Snapchat ads, poised to pop up more frequently and make more money, Snapchat's new ad API opens up its advertising to third parties for the first time. Partners can decide what kind of ads Snapchat shows and integrate them as they please. There will be two types of third party ad partners on Snapchat; ads partners, firms with a serious grip on marketing who can help create engaging campaigns, and creative partners, whose social media expertise will help them to integrate ads well and keep them in Snapchat's signature millennial-friendly style. Some partners will, of course, be both. For now, the only partner operating on that level will be social media guru Vayner Media, who has been in the social media ad and monetization business since 2009.
An automated system will auction off the API rights to ad partners and developers automatically. From there, partners can make the ads the way they want and, so long as they pass muster by Snapchat's standards, they will be converted to Snapchat videos and set loose on the service. The new ads won't be popping up for a few more weeks as the API begins to roll out and the app undergoes a rolling update to incorporate the new features. With many users taking advantage of the ability to scroll quickly between friends' stories to catch up or check on multiple friends, the new ads, which may cost more since their prices will be governed by automatic auction, are sure to hit a lot of eyes in a very short time.