2016 is shaping up to be a very big year for Snapchat. The kind of year that could take it from being a bit of a novelty to being a commonplace marketing platform. The impetus behind this shift is a reported API that will allow advertisers to bypass sales representatives and build campaigns on the platform. This kind of API would allow Snapchat to scale its advertising offering and allow more brands to leverage the platform.
A New Day for Advertisers
That change represents some big opportunities for brands. The platform’s user base is very attractive, and an API would allow advertisers to better deliver content and then measure success of those efforts. APIs offer greater access to data, which will allow advertisers to understand what is resonating, what isn’t and allocate dollars accordingly.
Stronger data and the ability to deliver content more effectively to users should help brands develop more compelling content users will want to interact with. After all, it’s not worth creating content that doesn’t work.
A Broken Promise to Users?
These changes are not without challenges. Snapchat’s founder once dismissed advertising as something that would not come to the platform. He’s obviously cooled on that and said Snapchat would never be “creepy.” But an API could change things a bit. It means greater access to data for advertisers and more ads.
Data protection and privacy were Snapchat’s promise to users. Young users flocked to Snapchat as a place to share what was really on their minds without risking it getting out into the open. Snapchat may still be able to keep this promise, but with an API on the way, advertisers are going to demand greater targeting capabilities to deliver ads against. This may alienate users.
But data’s not the only thing. An API streamlines the advertising process allowing more brands onto the platform and less control from Snapchat on quality. More advertisements may turn off users, and there’s no lack of messaging platforms in the marketplace.
A Pivotal Moment
Snapchat’s at a pretty interesting point. It has the users and a solid platform. Now, it’s seeking to monetize both. The reward is great, but so is the risk. And Snapchat’s promises of privacy could be a challenge too great to overcome.