- Snapchat has been beta-testing the Snap Audience Network with a limited set of brands this quarter.
- The network was announced at its Partner Summit for content and developer partners last April, and this is the first time that the platform is testing it with advertisers.
- Business Insider also obtained a memo that Snapchat reps are circulating among agency media buyers running campaigns on behalf of brands to promote its audience network.
- But advertisers aren't jumping at the opportunity yet, media buyers said, because of a lack of transparency around the apps and websites on the network.
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Snapchat has started to let brands pump out their ads outside of its own ecosystem.
The ephemeral social app began beta-testing the Snap Audience Network with a limited set of brands this quarter, two media buyers told Business Insider. The network extends Snapchat's full-screen mobile-ad format Snap Ads to other apps, and was first announced at its first Partner Summit for content and developer partners last April.
Snapchat reps are also circulating a memo among agency media buyers that run campaigns on behalf of brands to promote its audience network. The memo, which was obtained by Business Insider and can be found at the bottom of the story, touts the ease of activating the audience network with just a check on the box within Snapchat's Ads Manager platform, and also of using the same creative assets the brands use on Snapchat.
Snapchat confirmed that the Snap Audience Network is in limited closed testing with select advertisers and app developers.
The move as a workaround Snap's limitations
Snap is following in the footsteps of other platforms by rolling out its own audience network, including Google and Facebook, which have had their own since 2000 and 2016 respectively. Its user base - 218 million daily active users in the fourth quarter of 2019 - is also a shadow of the two, whose audience is in the billions.
The move offers Snap the opportunity to boost its appeal with advertisers by giving them an avenue to supplement its limited - and overwhelmingly young - audience base. Snap has pitched its ad network as a way for advertisers to get more reach for their campaigns, and a chance for third-party developers and publishers monetize their apps.
"Scale is definitely the big opportunity for brands," said Melanie Nelson, associate director at ad agency Media Kitchen. "And they are able to get more use out of their existing assets."
But brands are treading cautiously
Since announcing the Snap Audience Network last April, Snapchat has been in the process of signing up apps and publishers for the ad network. Now that the system is up and running, the company has started pitching it to advertisers.
The company has started placing branded Snap Ads to iOS mobile apps in the US, but is not sharing a list of where these ads actually end up with brands, said Nicole Martin, director of social activation at ad agency Essence. Business Insider was unable to confirm the number and names of brands that are testing the ad network.
Advertisers aren't exactly jumping at the opportunity, at least not yet, according to both Essence's Martin and Media Kitchen's Nelson.
At the moment, Snap does not offer the tools for advertisers to control where their ads may appear across the ad network, neither does it provide any details about what apps and websites are a part of the network. This is a roadblock for advertisers that value brand safety, said Martin.
"It's still in its infancy," she said. "At the moment, there is no visibility into what you're running your ads against."
Advertisers may be cooling on audience networks in general given the broader move toward privacy, changing regulations, and the move away from cookies in web browsers, said Brian Meert, CEO of digital agency AdvertiseMint, pointing out that Facebook will soon shut the mobile web arm of its Audience Network.
"Laws are catching up, and it's becoming more apparent to advertisers that the risks outweigh the benefits," he said.