Snapchat Starts Targeting Ads With Machine Learning

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Snapchat started rolling out advertising tools powered by machine learning earlier this month, the company confirmed on Wednesday. The Los Angeles-based social media giant is hoping to utilize these new methods to increase the overall performance of its ads, particularly the average duration of user interaction. The new features were introduced with an option for goal-based bidding, a mechanism which provides Snapchat's advertisers with tools to target their audience more accurately. Up until now, advertisers were only able to bid on impressions and general demographics, but now, they can also place bids on more specific performance goals like user engagement. This enables them to serve Snapchat ads specifically designed for swiping to a smaller portion of the app's user base that's more likely to swipe all types of content, ads included.

The Californian firm explained how goal-based bidding is powered by a machine learning technology which uses advanced algorithms to deduce which users like interacting with content posted on Snapchat the most. Once the company's artificial intelligence identifies these individuals, it serves them ads specifically designed for interaction. In theory, this method results in more interactions per impression, consequently improving the general performance of all advertising campaigns on Snapchat. Goal-based bidding is already available to advertisers through Snapchat's Ads API. The Los Angeles-based company claims approximately one-fifth of its advertisers is already using this new targeting tool, adding that the new feature has helped them improve the overall performance of their campaigns.

While Snapchat's goal-based bidding is currently only limited to swipes, the social media giant confirmed it's planning to ennoble this functionality with more relevant targeting options in the future. Additional goals could include viewing times, app installs, shares, and sales. The latter would likely be particularly attractive to advertisers, many of whom still see the company's advertising platform as relatively simplistic. Given how Snap Inc is reportedly planning to go public by spring of next year, the Californian firm would certainly prefer to improve the overall value of its offerings before finalizing the IPO process, and there's hardly a better way for a social app to increase its perceived value than to keep advertisers happy.

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