- IPG's R/GA Ventures startup accelerator announced in a press release Thursday that Snap Inc., Snapchat's parent company, is the lead partner for the mobile marketing and ad program R/GA Marketing Tech Venture with IPG.
- The new initiative will work with up to 10 companies that are creating videos and other "engaging mobile experiences, optimizing ad delivery, measuring data analytics and applying AI and machine learning concepts to marketing." In a rare public statement, Snap Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan said mobile engagement has "given rise to some of the best and most unique advertising opportunities."
- In separate Snapchat news, Honda, Anheuser-Busch, Amazon and Verizon are among the big brands tapping the platform for Super Bowl advertising, as reported by Adweek. Pepsi is running a sponsored lens that puts fans on the field and on the jumbo screen during the halftime show virtually, as well as running full-screen Snap Ads video promos on the NFL Discover channel all day. Amazon is also running Snap Ads, Anheuser-Busch is running an interactive Snap Ad game and Verizon bought 10-second spots on the app.
With its initial public stock offering plans officially underway, Snap Inc. is attempting to assume a more prominent role in the marketing landscape. Though a relatively young company, Snap has proven to be innovative on social, popularizing ephemeral video messaging and attracting the attention of brands with its youth-centric audience. Even as Snap looks to be giving advice to other upstarts with the IPG partnership, it's also likely aiming to learn something new from whatever companies end up participating in the program, recognizing the importance of continued innovation for attracting users to Snapchat.
There are a variety of areas where Snapchat still comes up short, particularly in regards to measuring ROI and other metrics for brands that advertise on its platform. Working with other young companies focused on analytics, along with bleeding edge tech like machine learning and AI, could give Snap a leg up on the competition and drive innovation.
Despite some of the gaps in measuring Snap's value, Snapchat remains a magnet for brands, as the Super Bowl partnerships with Pepsi, Verizon and others this year show. In December, sales material leaked that outlined Super Bowl ad packages on Snapchat that reached as high as $5 million. While that's a steep price point for social promotions, Snapchat proved it could attain massive reach around desitnation viewing events last year with Gatorade's Sponsored Lenses campaign.
Snap has generally been stirring up a lot of news on the marketing and publishing fronts. The New York Times, for example, is launching a daily edition on the Discover portal, per a company press release put out Thursday. More publisher pages might attract new users to Snap, who's seen reportedly slow user growth despite high levels of existing user engagement.