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Snap Opens Up Ad Channels Slowly and Carefully

Until last Saturday, advertisers wanting to buy an ad on Snapchat had to negotiate directly with the company’s ad sales team. But starting Oct. 1, Snap, the app’s owner, began allowing some advertisers to bid on ad space using automated systems run by outside ad tech firms. It was a long-awaited move that makes it easier for a wider range of advertisers to buy spots on Snapchat and do more precise targeting.

But Snap isn’t throwing wide the doors anytime soon, as it endeavors to control the kind of ads that appear on its app as well as the kind of software that can integrate with its servers. It’s a tricky balancing act for the company, which is trying to boost ad revenue sharply ahead of an expected IPO filing in coming months.

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While many advertisers remain enamored of these unique ad products, the data they get about how well a campaign performed is ambiguous and difficult to compare with other ads, said two executives who recently ran lens ads on Snapchat. After a lens campaign runs, the company gives a report detailing how many people used the lens, and how many people sent it to friends. Both campaigns saw big numbers, the executives said, but what still wasn’t clear to them was exactly what it meant in terms of pushing more product.

Andrea Wasserman commented on this article.
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The promise for Snap’s API program is that it could drive down prices, making the app more attractive to marketers.