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Snap is making its most aggressive bid for digital ad dollars yet


Evan Spiegel
REUTERS/Mike
Blake


  • Following its strong
    fourth quarter,
     Snap is
    making its Marketing API available to any
    ad 
    agency, brand or
    ad tech company that wants to access the
    platform.


  • The move represents Snap’s most aggressive
    bid for digital ad dollars yet, as it looks to take on Google,
    Facebook and most notably, its arch-rival
    Instagram.



  • Opening up its Marketing
    API will allow Snapchat to cater to an even broader
    base of marketers as well as prompt a wider variety
    of ads than the ones that currently exist on the
    platform.

  • “From an ad tech standpoint, Snap has been following
    the Facebook and Twitter blueprint so opening up the API is
    natural,” Noah Mallin, head of experience, content and
    sponsorship at Wavemaker, told Business Insider.

Snap is making its most aggressive bid for digital ad dollars
yet.

Following its strong
fourth quarter,
 Snap is making its Marketing API
available to any ad agency, brand or ad tech company
that wants to access the platform.

The program, which was first launched in 2016, has been
closed with limited access to a few companies until
now. 
The move essentially allows
any company — irrespective of
its
 size, scope or the scale of the software it is
building   to leverage the Snap API
to automate its ad efforts or build and sell tools for
advertisers to use.

“We’ve been listening closely to third-party developers as we
transition Snapchat ad products onto our self-serve
platform,” James Borow, Snap’s director of revenue programs,
told Business Insider. “Today we’re opening up our Marketing API
to give every developer tools to build the Snapchat ad solutions
that perform best for them and their customers.”

The move is aimed at the so-called long tail, the
thousands of developers and brands that want to customize the
platform, build something new or even 
start a
niche ad tech company. 

Brands can, for instance, enhance their targeting, creative
and measurement across all advertising efforts by e
asily
layering on proprietary data sets through the API. They cal also
automate processes like placing orders,
or
 ingest ad metadata and performance metrics into
their own data warehouses, ultimately better measuring
the success of their ads.

Hootsuite, for example, has built a solution that allows its
customers to manage their Snapchat Geofilter ads from within its
tech platform, which has been helpful for customers that want to
buy Geofilters for multiple locations at once and plan all of
their ad spend collaboratively on one platform. It hopes to
continue to build on the API.

“We’re particularly excited to see how our customers leverage the
new Snap Pixel,” said Stefan Krepiakevich, VP of strategic
alliances at Hootsuite. “And how it can help advertisers better
manage their audience targeting and conversion tracking.”

The move also comes on the heels of Snap’s major push toward
automating its ads and strengthening its programmatic
business 
in recent quarters. Ad volume on the
auction increased by more than 4x year-over-year, and
over 
90% of Snap Ads were bought programmatically
during the fourth quarter.

Opening up its Marketing API will allow Snapchat to cater to an
even broader base of marketers. While a majority of ads
are now sold through automated auctions, there aren’t enough
advertisers bidding for these spots yet. So an open API will
theoretically bring more brands on board. Revenue from small
and medium-sized businesses is already rising: it more than
doubled in the fourth versus the third quarter, Snap’s CFO Imran
Khan said.

It will also prompt a wider variety of ads than the ones that
already exist on the platform, including ads with calls
to action for consumers such as installing apps.

Snapchat has already indicated that it is bullish
on such direct-response ads and smaller advertisers.
After doubling its total revenue from app install campaigns since
the beginning of the fourth quarter, Snap began offering

free ad credits to advertisers
running vertical video ads
last week, primarily targeting advertisers who focus on
direct-response.

“These releases are helping drive more spend on the platform,
particularly from direct response marketers,” said Lance
Neuhauser, CEO of 4C, a marketing technology company and Snap Ads
partner. “We’re also seeing success with brand advertisers
looking to complement their TV advertising and reach Snap’s core
demographic.”

Ultimately, opening up the API will allow Snap to significantly
boost its revenue by racking up ad spending from advertisers
of all sizes using its platform without having to invest in
hiring new developers, just as Facebook and Google were able to
do.  

“From an ad tech standpoint, Snap has been following the
Facebook and Twitter blueprint so opening up the API is
natural,” Noah Mallin, head of experience, content and
sponsorship at Wavemaker, told Business Insider. “Overall it’s
important for them to be able to show that there is depth to
the advertising activity as well as growth, and that means
bringing on more small businesses and brands of varying sizes.”

Separately, Snap’s VP
of sales Jeff Lucas is leaving the company, according to
Cheddar.


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