Snapchat today announced plans to roll out its first advertisement to its users this weekend. The ad will appear in “Recent Updates” and will only be sent to U.S. users.
The company also revealed how its ads will work on the platform, at least initially. Ads can be ignored: Users will not be required to watch them. If you do view an ad, or if you ignore it for 24 hours, it will disappear just like Stories do.
Last week, Snapchat chief executive Evan Spiegel revealed that ads would be coming “soon,” and that they would be linked to the app’s Our Story feature.
It’s worth noting that the chosen format is even less intrusive, since the ads can go unnoticed, something that would be a lot more difficult if they appeared directly in Our Story rather than in Recent Updates. Users likely won’t be happy about ads coming in the first place, but these look to be on the less-obtrusive side.
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For now at least, the company promises it won’t be pushing ads anywhere else:
We won’t put advertisements in your personal communication – things like Snaps or Chats. That would be totally rude. We want to see if we can deliver an experience that’s fun and informative, the way ads used to be, before they got creepy and targeted. It’s nice when all of the brilliant creative minds out there get our attention with terrific content.
Snapchat didn’t specify how frequently it will push ads: The exact wording used was “from time to time.” This is likely because the company will use various factors to determine what the optimal frequency is that can satisfy advertisers without annoying users.
Snapchat claims its system is “a lot simpler” than that of other companies, because it doesn’t have to spend time and money collecting data about its users to see what they like.
It’s not clear if all users will be served the same ad. Snapchat will still have to categorize by basic information like language and location if it doesn’t want to serve completely irrelevant ads.
This will be key, given that Snapchat admits it is testing ads for the same reason every other social network does: “We need to make money.” Much like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and others before it, Snapchat will likely experiment and regularly tweak its ads and their delivery to ensure it can generate maximum revenue.