Tag Archives: snapchat

How to make money designing custom Snapchat geofilters

Snapchat is looking to geofilters as the next source of growth for its fledgling ad business.

Starting Monday, Snapchat maker Snap Inc. is allowing its ad partners in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada to sell and manage sponsored geofilters, which allow Snapchat users to place special filters over their photos and videos in certain locations.

Snap’s more than a dozen outside ad partners, like Amobee and VaynerMedia, will now be able to sell sponsored geofilters alongside fullscreen video ads, a Snap spokesperson told Business Insider. Sponsored geofilters could previously only be purchased directly through Snapchat’s own self-service tool, which launched in February 2016.

By giving outside partners the ability to buy, manage, and report analytics for sponsored geofilters alongside video ads, Snap is hoping that the geofilter format will catch on more widely with advertisers. The company has previously touted paid, on-demand geofilters as a more consumer-oriented feature by showing how people can create custom filters for events like weddings and birthday parties.

What advertisers will see in Amobee if they opt to buy a geofilter.Snap

Snap is also looking to make paid geofilters more available to marketers with other outside partners. In the coming weeks, the company will start selling on-demand geofilters through the wedding planning site WeddingWire, Hootsuite, Eventfarm, and MomentFeed.

Snap has yet to disclose how much money it makes off sponsored geofilters, and pricing for the format varies based on duration and location. Covering the size of about 17 football fields in downtown Los Angeles for five hours on a Friday evening would cost roughly $35, for example, while the same size and duration in midtown Manhattan would cost roughly $170.

Snapchat’s geofilters are another feature that’s been copied by Facebook, which recently started showing location-specific camera frames in Instagram and is currently testing them in its main app.





Snapchat is embracing German publishers by expanding its Discover section

Snapchat maker Snap Inc. is saying ‘Hallo’ to media outlets in Germany with the launch of its Discover section in the country.

Bild, Spiegel Online, Sky Sport, and Vice will begin publishing content in German on Snapchat starting April 25, a Snap spokesperson told Business Insider. Like messages in the app, each publisher’s collection of stories will disappear after 24 hours.

“We want Snapchatters everywhere to have content that is relevant to them, in their own language, from trusted media brands,” Snap’s VP of content, Nick Bell, said in a statement. “Starting today, German Snapchatters will for the first time have local content in Germany, in German, from German publishers.”

Snapchat expansion into Germany marks the fourth international version of its Discover section to date. Discover began in English before a French version was launched in September 2016. A small Norwegian version with one participating publisher was made available in January — roughly half of all smartphone users in Norway are on Snapchat, according to eMarketer.

Creating language-specific versions of Discover in highly developed, monetizable countries falls in line with Snapchat’s overall business strategy. Snapchat is also gaining momentum in Germany; a study by UM from November 2016 found that 24.3% of Snapchat users in that country said they opened the app every day, marking a 207% increase from the year before.

With Discover, Snapchat initially took a cut of the revenue participating publishers gained from video ads next to their stories. Recode reported in October that Snapchat started prioritizing a licensing model, which would let it keep all ad revenues in exchange for paying publishers an upfront fee. A Snap spokesperson told BI that the company is sharing ad revenue with publishers in Germany, not paying upfront.

Snap has said it intends to focus its advertising efforts on the world’s top ad markets, which are primarily in North America and Europe. Total ad spend in Germany is expected to swell from $18 billion in 2016 to $21 billion by 2020, according to IDC.

Snap recently opened its first office in Germany and hired Marianne Bullwinkel as its manager for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. She previously held the same role at Facebook.

The additional focus on Germany, the world’s fourth largest economy, comes as Snapchat has faced criticism for a perceived bias favoring affluent markets. A recent lawsuit by a former Snap employee, alleging that Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said Snap was “only for rich people” and not for countries like India, has caused a furor in India. Snap has denied that Spiegel made the comments.



Scale matters: Advertisers are opting for Instagram over Snapchat

Instagram is mimicking Snapchat, and Snapchat is feeling the pain.

Eight months since Instagram rolled out its Stories feature and just over a month since it launched ads on it widely, it has already surpassed Snapchat. The feature not only has more people using it daily (200 million versus Snapchat’s last reported 156 million) but is also increasingly attracting more ad dollars. Agencies tend to drift where the action is, and, right or wrong, the general feeling is Instagram is on the upswing while the early buzz over Snapchat is fading.

“Many of our clients are deprioritizing Snapchat,” said Tom Buontempo, president at Attention, KBS’s social media arm, who declined to provide names of specific advertisers but whose clients include BMW, Carvel, Novartis and Spotify. “It’s no secret that Instagram has Snapchat in the crosshairs.”

Instagram Stories, like Snapchat, lets users create multiple ephemeral videos and string them together for a 24-hour period. Brands have increasingly been using Instagram Stories, both to post organic content as well as to run ads. A combination of Instagram’s pure reach, targeting and retargeting capabilities and a more interactive relationship with reps has made Stories an attractive bet for brands. Meanwhile, Snapchat’s growth has been a concern for the past few months, with Instagram Stories’ rapid rise coinciding with its slow-down. Since Instagram Stories launched in August, Snapchat’s growth has fallen 82 percent, according to TechCrunch.

While Capital One, Nike, Ben and Jerry’s, and Netflix were among 30 brands that tested out ads on Instagram Stories before they were widely rolled out in March, brands including Honda, Apartments.com, Chobani and Five Hour Energy have run ads on the platform more recently.

Honda, which ran an ad on Instagram Stories for its “Flipbook Series” campaign on April 10, to market the Honda Clarity, chose Instagram over Snapchat for the campaign, because it let the brand tap into the scale of its 1.4 million-plus existing Instagram fans, said Mike Dossett, associate director of digital strategy at RPA, Honda’s agency. Brands already have large audiences on Instagram and often have to do absolutely nothing to get instant engagement at scale on their Story posts. Plus, they can easily tap into Facebook’s underlying infrastructure.

“From buying and optimization to measurement and reporting, Instagram ads (including Stories) are embedded directly within the Facebook ads ecosystem that buyers know and understand,” he said. “That undoubtedly removes a barrier for advertisers with entrenched processes or less nimble buying protocols.”


For Ben and Jerry’s, it was all about scale. The brand was a part of a beta test between January and March, and ran ads on Instagram Stories to promote its new Pint Slices. The ice-cream maker saw a higher CPM rate than its usual benchmark, according to Jay Curley, Ben and Jerry’s senior global marketing manager, and the brand plans to run more ads over the summer.

“In general, we want to serve up relevant stories to our fans wherever they are,” he said. “We have a robust following on Instagram, and people are not only spending more time there but also consuming Stories there.”

It’s also far easier to buy ads on the platform as opposed to Snapchat. Unlike Snapchat, which does not have self-serve advertising options outside of on-demand geofilters (although one for Snap ads is expected soon), Instagram provides marketers with a unified dashboard for buying and tracking ads, making it easier for clients to target and track analytics across a more unified dashboard, said Attention’s Buontempo.

The larger Facebook ecosystem also provides for more nuanced targeting, said Ben Kunz, svp of marketing and content at Mediassociates. Brands can reach people with specific interests in ice cream, for example, or match targeting to their own CRM lists, with all of Facebook’s data toys at their disposal. Instagram also has more flexible buying options, letting buyers buy ads on a performance-based cost-per-click basis apart from a cost-per-thousand impressions basis.

“Both Instagram and Snapchat stories are clever full-screen immersive mobile ad experiences, but taking over a mobile screen is no longer exactly rocket science,” said Kunz. “So it’s not the ‘billboard’ space that matters; it’s the quality of the data behind it. Better audience data always equals better advertising performance.”

Still, it’s not a zero-sum game. Clients have been increasing their Instagram budgets overall to tap into Instagram Stories, said Danielle Johnsen Kerr, director of social and editorial strategy at Deutsch, but they aren’t necessarily shifting already-allotted Snapchat dollars to Instagram. Snapchat’s young audience is still a draw for advertisers, and the platform has also been making efforts to ramp up on measurement and to roll out more self-serve options. Ben and Jerry’s, for example, will also advertise on Snapchat in the summer.

“But it is dependent on the audiences our clients are trying to grab,” she said.



Snapchat introduces World Lenses – live filters for just about anything

Snapchat is adding a new way to use its app that brings its popular filters beyond faces. The new ‘World Lenses’ add augmented reality elements to any scene you can capture with your camera, placing 3D objects you can actually walk around with your smartphone’s camera, which is actually a lot closer to what we used to mean when we said “augmented reality” in its earlier days.

Snap notably doesn’t use “augmented reality” or “AR” once in its blog post announcing the news, preferring instead to talk about how users can “paint the world” with “3D experiences.” The intro video, however, will reveal something pretty familiar to anyone who bought into the early hype of the Nintendo 3DS, which came with AR cards that let you place and virtually interact with 3D graphics that looked like they were anchored to, and blended with, the real world.

Based on the demo videos Snap provided, this is a much more impressive incarnation of AR, however, that requires neither QR codes nor other kludgy markers to anchor and generate the graphics you see applied to whatever’s captured via your camera lens in real time. The gifs below should provide some sense that what’s happening here goes beyond the timid stumblings of the very first smartphone and portable console AR products.

The should be fairly easy to use – Snap says you just tap the screen while using the rear-facing camera to cycle through available World Lenses, and it adds that these will be updated on a daily basis, too.

This genuinely sounds like a fun, worthwhile addition to Snapchat that builds on the popularity of its previous Lenses launches. But we knew they were coming, and we’ve actually known for a while now: It’s highly likely that Snap’s competitors are aware, too, and it’s probably only a matter of time before they clone this feature the way they have previous tech, too. Still, there’s plenty of opportunity for additional revenue from this new addition to the Snapchat product arsenal, though at launch, there won’t be any sponsored third-party World Lenses.


Snapchat introduces World Lenses – live filters for just about anything

How Instagram beat out Snapchat as fashion’s ‘social darling’

Snapchat wants to rival Facebook, but it should worry first about Instagram.

Although Instagram and Snapchat were launched within just a year of each other — in October 2010 and September 2011, respectively — fashion brands have made Instagram a cornerstone to their strategies while Snapchat remains, in most cases, firmly in the experimental bucket.

Most designers were hesitant to join Snapchat. They weren’t sold on its unfiltered nature that was inherently antithetical to the fashion industry’s pristine aesthetic. Many still aren’t — especially higher-end designers, said Jodie Chan, director of Altuzarra’s marketing and communications. She ultimately decided it’s “not viable for our brand and relevant to the demographic we are trying to reach.”

However, with time, a range of designers began to see the value of sharing behind-the-scenes looks at their personal lives and the business. Marc Jacobs joined Snapchat in fall 2016, just in time for New York Fashion Week, and then Burberry and Louis Vuitton followed by sharing announcements and photos from special events on the platform. So did Rebecca Minkoff and Prabal Gurung, longtime personal users who decided to let fans catch glimpses of their work lives. During the end of 2015 and early 2016, brands were clamoring to get on Snapchat.

Then Instagram announced Instagram Stories, and everything shifted. 

Snapchat meets its match
In August 2016, Instagram launched Stories, a feature that allows users to share photos and videos on their accounts that are visible for just 24 hours. In essence, Instagram now offered the best of both worlds — its glitzy photos, juxtaposed with the short clips for which users love Snapchat.

“As Instagram encourages more polished content, as well as tools that support content that feels instantaneous and ephemeral, that seems to address what it could have potentially lacked, in comparison to a platform like Snapchat,” Chan said.

Suddenly, brands that had been regularly active on Snapchat lay dormant, opting to share fleeting content on Instagram instead. As a result of Instagram Stories, Snapchat’s growth slowed by a whopping 82 percent. Snapchat had 122 million active users in Q1 of 2016 and 143 million by the end of Q2, raking in an impressive 17.2 percent growth rate. However, by Q3, its growth tumbled to 7 percent. At the same time, Snapchat did away with its autoplay feature, which had helped bolster story views for brands.

Instagram, on the other hand, already had a captive audience of 300 million users daily, who now only had to look at the tops of their screens to view Stories. According to TechCrunch, by October, its Stories feature had already amassed 100 million daily users.


“Snapchat was certainly the social darling of 2016, and brands were smart to leverage the platform at the time,” said Camilla Opperman, research associate at L2. “However, Instagram Stories have proven to have greater reach than Snapchat, and brands are realizing that their resources can be more efficiently allocated towards Instagram.”

Meanwhile, the demographic differences between the two platforms remained telling. Today, Instagram users skew significantly older: 51 percent of its user base is above age 35, compared to just 14 percent of Snapchat users. These older users, in many cases, have more disposable income than their younger Snapchat-using peers, making Instagram particularly appealing to fashion brands.

“Instagram has a number of things working to its favor: It’s got a larger follower base and an older audience that’s more likely to be spending,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, an e-commerce advisor and the former chief retail strategist at Shoptalk.

The resource crunch
For fashion brands, many of which have nimble, short-staffed digital teams, the ability to have the capabilities of Snapchat and Instagram in one place has been particularly advantageous, according to Kyle Wong, CEO of Pixlee.

“Content generation is hard. These brands have a limited bandwidth to manage these social platforms,” he said. “Most fashion brands out there probably have one person max running social media accounts. They are spread thin between keeping multiple channels updated, rather than engaging the community on those channels.”

It’s also more laborious to create a follower base on Snapchat, which requires users to know a retailer’s exact username in order to follow them. With Instagram Stories, brands already have a built-in following that doesn’t require additional promotion.

“Instagram is definitely more brand-friendly than Snapchat,” Opperman said. “Most fashion brands already have Instagram accounts, so it’s much easier to move to Instagram Stories than learn the entirely new Snapchat platform. Instagram also has a leg up in discoverability, as Snapchat lacks a robust search function, making it difficult for consumers to find brand Snapchat accounts.”



Snap Committed to Spend $1 Billion on Web Services With Amazon

Snap Inc. has a deal to pay Amazon.com Inc. at least $1 billion for internet services over the next five years, adding to a $2 billion agreement it already has with Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

Details of the deal were released Thursday in an update to Snap’s initial public offering documents. Snap will pay Amazon $50 million in 2017 and then spend progressively more on the e-commerce giant’s cloud and infrastructure services through 2021.

Snap outsources the heavy-lifting of data storage to outside companies rather than building its own server warehouses. Splitting the work between Google and Amazon decreases the company’s reliance on a single company. The filing also states Snap could still build its own infrastructure.

Snap, a photo and video-sharing app popular with teens and millennials, filed for an initial public offering last week. The company is seeking a valuation of as much as $25 billion.



Snapchat reportedly hit 160M daily users and $400M revenue in 2016

Some Snap Inc stats have leaked ahead of its expected IPO filing today, and they show strong progress in earning money, but slowed user growth.

The Information (paywalled) reports that Snapchat has 160 million daily users, up from 130 million at the end of Q1 2016, and the 150 million number Bloomberg reported in June. Their source indicated user growth slowed in the second half of 2016. That could in part be due to the rise of Snapchat Stories clone Instagram Stories, which we reported this week has been stealing Snapchat usage, according to analytics providers and social media talent managers.

Revenue looked brighter, reaching $400 million in 2016, which is in line with what analysts had estimated and was reportedly higher than the $350 million high-bar set by Snap’s team internally. That shows Snap is finding ways to squeeze a lot of money out of its relatively small user base, thanks to highly engaging sponsored animated selfie lenses and full-screen snap ads.

Snapchat isn’t trying to sell the story of scale with a flashy monthly user count, since people who only open the app once a month aren’t very monetizable. That strategy didn’t pan out for Twitter, especially because monthly user count inevitably gets compared to Facebook’s enormous 1.86 billion users.

Instead it’s touting its high time-spent per user and average revenue per user, which The Information’s Tom Dotan and Amir Efrati report was $2.70 per user over the course of 2016. Snapchat has done an impressive job soaking up attention by covering three different use cases with a single app: private messaging, social media Stories broadcasting, and professional Discover content. These work together to give people something to do even if their friends don’t post interesting stories, they’re waiting for people to reply, or they don’t resonate with the featured publishers.


The problem there is that Snapchat’s lead over Instagram in time spent in app per Android user has shrunk in the US and turned into a deficit internationally, according to App Annie metrics reported by BuzzFeed’s Alex Kantrowitz. Snapchat had more time spent per user worldwide in early 2016, but by December, Instagram had raced past it to a 25% lead. In the US, Snapchat had a 35% lead as of December 2015, but that sank to a 20% lead by December 2016 after Instagram Stories took its toll.

That’s partly why Bloomberg reports Snap Inc is touting what users do during their time in Snapchat — specifically apply its uniquely illustrated geofilter place names, and store photos in its Memories feature. Those are things users can’t do in Instagram.

Snap is also relying on strong initial international growth in Western Europe and Australia to show it still has plenty of users to add. There it will be racing against Facebook’s various products, including Facebook Stories, WhatsApp Status, Messenger Day, and the already succesful and highly international Instagram Stories. But Snapchat still offers by far the most advanced creative tools, and is known as the trendsetting pioneer, which could give it extra clout as it expands.


Snapchat reportedly hit 160M daily users and $400M revenue in 2016

Snapchat now lets you make QR Snapcodes that open websites

Facebook gave businesses the Like button connected to their Page, and now Snapchat is giving websites their own QR Snapcodes. With today’s iOS update and Android beta, users can create a unique Snapcode for a website, which will open inside Snapchat when they scan it with the app’s camera. This could create a powerful way for businesses and other sites to promote themselves with photographable symbols instead of just a URL.

To use the feature, open “Settings” and select “Snapcodes,” then “Create Snapcode.” Enter the URL, add an image from the website or your phone, resize it so it fits inside the Snapchat ghost logo and then you can save it for use wherever.


Snapchat introduced the QR codes for profiles in January 2015, based on technology it acquired along with startup Scan.me. They made it easy for people to add each other on Snapchat without typing in user names. One person just pulls out their Snapcode from Snapchat’s Settings menu, and another focuses their Snapchat camera on the QR code to instantly follow them.

Chinese messaging app WeChat pioneered the idea. Snapchat brought it to the West… and it was later copied by Facebook, which added QR codes for adding people on Messenger.


Snapchat later let people customize their Snapcode with a selfie GIF and download a vector version for printing on posters, apparel and more. Then it began allowing people to open a publisher’s Snapchat Discover content and unlock filters and lenses by scanning a Snapcode. Sam Sheffer first spotted today’s update.

Offering more ways to promote content outside of Snapchat could boost the app’s utility amongst public figures and businesses. While Snapchat’s fast-rising competitor Instagram allows people to put a URL in their profile and lets verified accounts share URLs in Stories, Snapchat doesn’t. Snapcodes for websites could provide flexibility for promoting one’s site or products without disrupting the URL-free experience.



Snapchat now lets you make QR Snapcodes that open websites

Betting on Facebook and Snapchat hasn’t paid off big for publishers, a study shows

If journalists were betting on third-party apps, like Facebook and Snapchat, to revitalize their businesses, they may be disappointed. Early signs show that the giants of online social networking and messaging aren’t huge sources of revenue for publishers.

Content on third-party platforms—where the work is hosted on services like Facebook Instant Articles, Snapchat Discover, and YouTube rather than on their own URLs—account for a small share of publishers’ overall revenue, according to Digital Content Next, which analyzed data provided by its partners, which include TV and cable networks like ESPN and NBC News, and publishers like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Business Insider.

During the first six months of 2016, third-party platforms made up an estimated average of $7.7 million in revenue per publisher, or 14% of the average overall revenue, the trade group found, citing data provided by 17 of its 19 partners.

Most of that revenue—85% of it, or an estimated average of $6.5 million—came from video content, especially from ads that aired on direct-to-consumer subscription services and device apps like Roku and Apple TV.

Other revenue came from video and display ads on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages, and syndication through platforms like YouTube, Yahoo, AOL, and Apple News.



Betting on Facebook and Snapchat hasn’t paid off big for publishers, a study shows

A leaked report shows how much money publishers make from platforms like Facebook, Google, and Snapchat

Publishers are receiving far less money than might have been expected from placing their content on the third-party distribution platforms owned by companies including Facebook, Google, and Snapchat, according to a new report.

The report, from premium publisher trade body Digital Content Next (DCN), claims that the (mean) average premium publisher generated $7.7 million in revenue from distributing their content on third-party platforms in the first half of 2016 — equivalent to around 14% of their overall revenues in the period.

On average, premium publishing companies generated $773,567 in the first half of 2016 by distributing their content on YouTube. Content published to Facebook earned an average of $560,144 in the period, Twitter generated an average of $482,788, and Snapchat generated $192,819 for each publisher in the sample.

DCN commissioned Powers Media & Entertainment Consulting to collect data and survey 19 of its members — including The Financial Times, ESPN, Bloomberg, NBC, and The New York Times — about the way they use and generate revenue from third-party distribution platforms. It then conducted in-depth interviews with eight of those members. The report did not offer financial details for each publisher, but instead provided the average amount a typical premium publisher receives.

Business Insider has obtained a copy of the report, which was distributed privately to the trade body’s members last week. (Business Insider is also a member of DCN and participated in the study, but this article’s author did not obtain the report’s findings via a Business Insider employee.)

Overall, the report’s implication is that while many publishers are attempting to get their heads around their distributed content strategies, distributed content platforms are providing too little by way of monetization for the high-quality content that gives those platforms credibility among users and advertisers.

Publishers face a difficult dichotomy when it comes to working with third-party distribution platforms.

On the one hand, platforms like Facebook and Google drive huge traffic to publishers’ websites, which they can monetize themselves through ads, subscriptions, or ecommerce.

But those platforms are also seen as competitors for their readers’ eyeballs. And — through programs like Google AMP, Facebook’s Instant Articles, and Snapchat Discover — publishers are being encouraged to publish their content directly to those platforms, following where their readers are, but ceding full control over the monetization of that audience and the data they can gather about them.