- Snapchat has introduced two new advertising formats in a bid to boost brands' storytelling capabilities and to make ads on the platform more immersive and memorable, according to TechCrunch.
- One of the formats, Promoted Stories, lets brands string together three to 10 photos and videos into a longer-form ad on the Stories page that's shown to everyone in a given country. The other, Augmented Reality Trial ads, lets users interact with a virtual product overlaid on the real world around them as seen through a smartphone camera.
- HBO and the retailer Asos tested Promoted Stories on Black Friday last week, TechCrunch said, with the premium cable network running a campaign that told users why they should skip the mall rush and watch "Game of Thrones" instead. Asos showcased "night-out worthy looks" and a 20% off sale for the deals day. BMW is experimenting with AR Trial ads by allowing users to place a virtual version of its new X2 model in the real world, which they can walk around, tap to change its color or swipe up to access the automaker's website.
Following another quarter of rough earnings and user growth figures that disappointed investors earlier this month, Snap Inc., Snapchat's parent company, announced plans for a major overhaul of the app's user experience, which has been frequently cited as confusing and a barrier to entry for newcomers. The new ad formats show how Snapchat continues to try and offer innovative ways for advertisers to reach its audience of largely young consumers, and also might indicate what the platform's focus areas will be as it undergoes significant changes to its design: more longer-form content — which would signal a clear break from Snapchat's typically short, ephemeral photo and video messaging — and robust applications of augmented reality technology for brands.
These features could make Snapchat ads more memorable for its 173 million daily users and clearly already appeal to some big-name marketers, including BMW, HBO and Asos. Promoted Stories offer a means to do what essentially amounts to a Snapchat takeover for a given country, which provides rich opportunities to drive awareness and engagement around big promotional events like Black Friday or the holidays.
AR Trial ads might be a draw for retailers in allowing customers to demo a product — BMW is testing the feature with cars, but this could obliviously extend to furniture and elsewhere — in a highly interactive fashion and solely via their smartphone. The ability to link back to a business's site by swiping up on these ads lessens friction on the path to the purchase as well. AR Trial ads follow the introduction of 3-D AR World Lenses for brands in September.
Most Snapchat ads to date have been single photos or videos inserted between users' Stories or other content, along with more unique formats like sponsored AR selfie masks and filters. However, as Facebook and its properties like Instagram Stories have quickly copied these creative tools, and as more tech companies including Apple offer accessible AR app development kits, Snapchat must ensure that its products remain distinctive lest it continue to lose users and ad revenue.