"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Daniel Meehan, CEO at PadSquad.
You can’t monetize poor creative. Yet so many content creators, brands and publishers simply “turn on” advertising with an automated ad tech solution and check the proverbial box. The interruptive nature of many ads today are such that countless users simply walk away entirely.
There is one growing ad player that’s bucking recent trends and working with partners to create the type of unique, branded creative that tells stories, instead of aggravating the mobile experience.
I’m talking, of course, about Snap.
In a sea of brands losing their way (and control) by obsessing with scale and a simple ad tech plug-in, Snapchat is a platform excelling the old-fashioned way. Rather than selling a quick solution that prioritizes quantity over quality, Snap works with companies to monetize branded content in a unique manner that fits the platform – and the space they’re paying for.
Snap’s advantage comes from the nature of the service to begin with: largely low-production, amateur photos and videos, which are short, sweet and casual in nature. For advertisers, it’s a freeing and novel concept that presents a low barrier to entry.
If you’re new to engaging with customers via video, Snapchat’s a welcoming starting point to try your hand at something new and raw. It doesn’t have to be a “commercial” in the traditional sense. It can just be fun and fit right in with the content users are seeing elsewhere on the platform.
Gatorade, Sour Patch Kids and the NFL are among the brands that have experimented with Snapchat for advertising. Hyatt recently put Spectacles to use to help employees create a personal connection with consumers that’s native to where they’re watching the content. There are branded lenses most days of the week on Snapchat, as the company works directly with brands to determine the best way to reach audiences without disrupting the app experience.
Of the more than 50% of users who will open a branded story on Snapchat, more than 85% of them will watch the entire video, according to a Q4 story from Snaplytics.
That alone says about all you need to know about the success of Snap’s strategy here. It makes people forget they’re engaging with branded content, allowing the brands to become “friends” alongside the other feeds users follow.
The high level of consumer participation and engagement also yields data few beyond Snap can offer to brands, answering important questions: Which types of content keep users watching? When does tune-out occur? Snap boils down these results further by gender, geography and psychographics, allowing for even more exact and complementary targeting over time.
Compare that to the mobile ad experience seen elsewhere, where users are bombarded with what are essentially pop-ups. On Facebook, it’s easy to scroll right past branded content. YouTube disrupts the viewing experience by forcing a 30-second commercial before a two-minute video.
Brands are punished on these platforms, and others too, as users view the companies behind the ads as a nuisance, rather than the platforms. And with the recent issues around brand safety causing numerous advertisers to pull out of the largest ad tech networks, it may be time for a hard reset.
Snap’s model could be the way forward. As ad blockers become more and more popular, the answer for publishers and brands isn’t to double down on the content that drove consumers to block them. They need to build a better mousetrap. Or, better yet, look at Snap’s mousetrap. It seems pretty effective.
With the amount of messages from friends, media and brands being thrown at consumers today, it’s never been tougher to reach an audience. But it gets easier by embracing creative that compromises with consumers and provides them with tangible value. One platform already has this figured out. When will the rest catch on?