Snapchat users may soon notice a more personalized touch to the ads they see.
Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, has been aggressively expanding its advertising offerings over the course of the last year. From high-dollar NFL packages, to interactive movie and TV Snapcodes, the company has been creative in testing new ways to target people with ads.
Now Snap Inc. is aiming to use offline data to help marketers drive even better campaigns. The company signed a deal with Oracle Data Cloud (formerly Datalogix) that will give Snapchat access to Oracle’s data from past offline purchases – such as information from store loyalty card programs. Snapchat will use anonymized email addresses and mobile IDs to match data with Snapchat users. This will help partners target consumers with ads based on their interests (though users can choose to opt out of this feature through Preferences). Facebook, Google, Twitter and Pinterest already have similar agreements with Oracle Data Cloud.
Honda, STX Entertainment, Kia and The Honest Company are in the first group of brands to test the capabilities of the new Snapchat ad targeting. STX Entertainment is focusing on movie ticket sales, using Oracle data to reach out to an audience that is already going to movie theaters.
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel had expressed resistance to this kind of tactic in the past, saying at the Cannes Lions marketing festival in 2015, “I got an ad this morning for something I was thinking about buying yesterday, and it’s really annoying… We care about not being creepy. That’s something that’s really important to us.”
But Snap Inc. reportedly filed paperwork in November 2016 for an initial public offering. If the company goes public soon, its ad revenues and conversion rates will be an important selling point for investors.
Some critics are distrustful of what they consider a “flip-flop” on Snapchat’s advertising approach. Others point out that using data for ad targeting is nothing new and not inherently bad. A TechCrunch article pointed out that targeted, relevant ads are preferable to annoying, useless ads:
Deeper ad targeting might actually make Snapchat better. Businesses are going to great lengths to create entertaining custom ads for the app, and now you might see ones about the stuff you already buy, or their competitors.
Snapchat already has a reputation for shaking up conventional advertising practices, so it will be interesting to see what creative spin it will bring to this next phase of its growth.
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