Advertisers Fret Snap’s Ad Products Looking ‘Stale’

Snapchat last week introduced cartoon-like avatars, known as 3D bitmoji, a natural for sponsorship opportunities. Before Snap acquired the maker of bitmoji last year, the avatars appeared next to famous lines from movies like "The Terminator" and depicted scenes from "Game of Thrones."

But advertisers shouldn’t get their hopes up. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel told people privately earlier this year he has no plans to make money off bitmoji, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. As Mr. Spiegel explained it, the risk of alienating users isn’t worth the money the company could potentially make off the product.

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Even so, Snap’s recent slowness at launching new ad units won’t help it compete with Facebook and Google, the two tech behemoths that soak up the vast majority of digital ad dollars. Unlike Snap, both offer ad units seen as indispensable by marketers. Snap is still searching for an ad product that is a must-have for advertisers.

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These kind of ad products 'trained buyers to look at [Snap] in a different way,' an ad buyer said. Now, 'as an advertiser that has more money to spend, nothing is popping the way it did.'