Snapchat Ads —The Next Frontier in Direct Response?

Eagle-eyed advertisers may have been sensing a shift in recent months as Snapchat continues to roll out longer ads within its Discover vertical—the section of the app where users can browse multi-format content from leading media companies.

Discover is a key product differentiator Snapchat offers over direct competitor, Instagram stories. While the app's primary function is video messaging and storytelling, millennial, mood-seeking users use Discover to access the latest stories from the likes of MTV and People Magazine, and the advertisers who want to be everywhere they are have jumped at the chance to test ads in that space. Last spring, Snapchat ran its first direct marketing campaign to drive ticket sales for X-men: Apocalypse within the app. Now, it seems, DR has found a permanent foothold within the millennial-driven app.

A recent study published by AdWeek found that 68% of ads on Snapchat were direct response, prompting users to take action by swiping up on the ad to engage. And while many of those swipes lead, predictably, to longer ads within the app, a full 25% of ads directed users to external websites, and a few even lead to app-install CTAs.

So, is Snapchat what's next in direct marketing? Not unless your advertising techniques are ready to dramatically evolve along with the platform. And not unless you're selling something millennial audiences want to buy. Most brands in AdWeek's survey were media companies and food brands. Most utilized extra campaign elements beyond video—including games, ticketing, media personality partnerships and more, to create tailored content for the Snapchat generation. So while this shiny new space may be tempting, it'll take more than a snap of the fingers to translate your brand's message to this ever-evolving space.