The messaging app’s co-founder and chief executive Evan Spiegel reportedly told delegates at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit yesterday evening (8 October) that users would see the “pretty cool” ads “on Snapchat soon”.
Users will need to opt-in to receive ads, which will be woven into the “Stories” shared between friends. Unlike the app’s standard feature in which posts disappear within seconds of being viewed, “Stories” last for up to 24 hours and can be accessed by a user’s friends multiple times.
Spiegel said: “They’re not fancy. You just look at it if you want to look at it and you don’t if you don’t.
“We’re cutting through a lot of the new technology stuff around ads to sort of the core of it, which I think has always been telling a story that leaves people with a new feeling.”
The ad service is the first attempt to monetise the more than 100 million monthly users the three-year-old platform reportedly hosts. For advertisers it represents a chance to reach the platform’s core young audience at scale after recent efforts from the likes of McDonald’s and Lynx were limited to smaller trials.
Spiegel has been selling Snapchat the service as a brand-building platform to US advertising executives in recent months and is developing a business plan to identify sustainable revenue streams. Part of the plan would reportedly see the launch of a Snapchat Discovery service that lets users read news and watch video clips of films and TV shows by holding down their finger on the screen before they disappear – as they currently do with video or photo messages on the app.
Serving ads is a change in tack for the business, which has focused on rapidly growing its user base to demonstrate its worth to potential investors. Now it has the scale, the company aims to attract investors. Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported Yahoo is in talks with Snapchat to take a $20m stake in the start-up at a $10bn valuation.