VENICE, CA: Snapchat continues to develop its advertising offer, with the introduction of new products and greater targeting options which are likely to attract higher levels of spending in the year ahead.

Sir Martin Sorrell recently observed that WPP, the agency holding company, had spent three times as much on Snapchat last year as it first forecast – $90m against an expected $30m – and he anticipated the figure would increase again this year.

That remains a long way short of the $1.7bn WPP spent on Facebook, but, speaking to CNBC, Sir Martin suggested that the platform was a "threatening alternative" to the social giant.

The social app has linked up with Oracle Data Cloud to enable marketers to use third-party data from offline purchases to target consumes with more relevant ads, something Google, Facebook and Twitter already offer.

"This kind of data targeting is absolutely the price of doing business in digital," Jeremy Sigel, global director of partnerships and emerging media at Essence, a WPP-owned digital ad agency, told the Wall Street Journal.

"They are playing catch up, to Facebook in particular," he added.

One area Snapchat may be ahead, however, is in sequential advertising, which allows brands to, for example, buy a 30-second spot and cut it into three ten second ads that run consecutively and tell a story.

While this approach is possible on Facebook and Twitter, it relies on tagging, tracking or pools of audiences. On Snapchat, Adweek explained, sequenced messaging ads are bought as a takeover of a Discover channel with contextual targeting.

"What's interesting here is that this becomes part of the DNA of a buy," said a digital executive familiar with the plans. "You're starting to think through a linear story or a progression that can be told in a couple of steps, which is quite a bit different than your typical execution that you'd see elsewhere in social."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal, Adweek, The Drum; additional content by Warc staff