Snapchat opposes native advertising

27 October 2014

NEW YORK: Snapchat, the photo and video messaging app, has no interest in carrying native advertising because it does not want to "trick" its users, the company's chief operating officer has announced.

Speaking at the GroupM What's Next conference in New York, Emily White claimed Snapchat is different from other "traditional" social networks, which she didn't name, in that it does not want ad placements that disrupt a user's conversation.

"It's getting really confusing to users. They don't like to be tricked," she said in comments reported by Business Insider.

Rather than allowing ads to appear in users' conversations with their friends or as a pre-roll, Snapchat will give advertisers their own space on the app so users can decide whether to engage with them or not, she said.

The first ad to appear on Snapchat was run in the US the weekend before last. It was a 20-second trailer for the horror movie "Ouija" and appeared in users' recent updates feed rather than in their conversations.

White cited the "Ouija" ad for Universal Pictures as the model Snapchat will be pursuing. "[This ad] is a piece of content," she said. "That's a really important point. It's not a pre-roll."

For its part, Universal suggested it was "satisfied" with how its paid content on the messaging app was received and said millions of US users had viewed it, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Referring to the responses of Snapchat users, Doug Neil, Universal's evp of digital marketing, said some of the best responses were from those who were scared by the trailer.

"Some of the best response was being scared by it," he said. "They were being marketers for us, and that's the best of digital and social media marketing. We were very satisfied with the experience."

Data sourced from Business Insider, Los Angeles Times; additional content by Warc staff