In bid to boost marketing offerings, Snapchat pilots an ad platform

The social media app is in the planning stages of an API, which would give marketers access to more ads and ways to reach consumers.

Reaching younger consumers through Snapchat might become much easier.

Following in the footsteps of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Snapchat is purportedly opening an Application Platform Interface to offer marketers a better advertising experience.

Digiday reported that the API was in planning stages, with testing aimed for the spring. The API wouldn’t launch for several months, or even a year.

An API would enable Snapchat to offer brand managers more types of ads, including those with calls to action—which enable consumers to visit brands’ websites, buy products or install apps from a button on the ad.

Snapchat currently sells ads— including brand journalism space through its Discover feature —directly to brand managers and marketing agencies. However, last year Snapchat revealed that 60 to 70 percent of its users stopped watching ads after three seconds, Fast Company reported.

Along with more types of ads, an API would also help Snapchat better target its users—enabling brand managers to reach consumers of a certain age range or in a particular location—and offer more precise ad metrics, so that marketers can see what’s working (and what’s not).

Digiday explained why more social media platforms are turning to APIs to entice marketers and boost ad sales:

An API is a common development for major digital players. For instance, Instagram, piggybacking on Facebook’s technology, released its API last year with 41 partners, including Kenshoo, SocialCode, Nanigans, Adaptly, Adobe, Ampush, Salesforce and Sprinklr.

“The first thing an API does is allows them to create a partnered ecosystem that is technology driven,” said Sean O’Neal, president of Adaptly, which builds for all the major APIs. “There’s only so much that a company is going to be able to develop themselves as it relates to their own native ad solutions.”

Though an API would make buying ads easier on Snapchat, it also means decreased quality control.

For marketers, this highlights the shift toward content consumption on mobile devices. It also means online platforms and apps will become ever more crowded with brand messaging.

Marketers shouldn’t rely on certain technologies—such as success metrics or location targeting—instead of building a robust, cross-platform marketing strategy.

Mashable recently reported that half of all location data are inaccurate. The information is incorrect for multiple reasons:

The quality of GPS data, for example, can dramatically degrade indoors. While cell triangulation data can identify user location within a broad area such as a zip code or city, it tends to be less precise. Registration data is often limited in relevance to a mobile user’s home zip code and only at the moment of registration. And IP addresses can diverge significantly from the actual location of a mobile user. Only Wi-Fi data promises high levels of accuracy and precision with its ability to identify user location within 10 to 100 meters of a Wi-Fi signal.

Location-based mobile ads reaped $4.3 billion in revenues in 2014. BIA Kelsey Local Media Forecast said it expects that these revenues will grow to $18.2 billion in 2019, as more and more brand managers seek to pinpoint specific consumer groups.

As Snapchat—and additional social media platforms—make advertising more prevalent, marketers should continue to focus on creating stories, videos and images that are both relevant and valuable to their target audiences.

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