Snapchat is bringing ads to its short-form Spotlight format

By 05/02/2023
Snapchat is bringing ads to its short-form Spotlight format

Snapchat is adding more ad products in an attempt to help brands reach consumers through short-form video. At its 2023 NewFronts presentation, the app announced that it is bringing ads to Spotlight, its take on TikTok’s signature format.

At launch, Spotlight ads will run between clips on the vertical video hub, which reaches 350 million of Snapchat’s 750 million monthly active users. Spotlight spots are already available for all advertisers globally. Initially, those ads will be placed automatically.

Spotlight isn’t the only short-from Snap format seeing a monetization boost. The company is also bringing a premium ad product to its disappearing Stories. Brands who pay for First Story packages will be able to ensure that their ad is the first one consumers see when they watch their friends’ Stories. Advertising first arrived on Stories last year, but Snap recently expanded the revenue stream so that creators with 50,000 followers and 25 million monthly views can take advantage of it.


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By improving its suite of short-form ad products, Snap is keeping pace with its rivals. YouTube brought revenue sharing to its own TikTok analogue — YouTube Shorts — in a February 2023 push. It revealed updates to that program the day before Snap’s announcement. TikTok has spent the past year courting brands, and it is likely to tease forthcoming ad products at its own NewFronts presentation.

There’s another area where Snap is taking a page from YouTube’s book

The app has a new tool called Snap Star Collab Studio, which will facilitate partnerships between brands like NYX Cosmetics and Snap’s homegrown community. That sounds a lot like BrandConnect, the matchmaking service born out of YouTube’s 2016 acquisition of the FameBit platform.

Digital media companies Studio71, Beeline by Brat TV, Influential, and Whalar have signed up as launch partners for the Collab Studio. Those firms will help brands identify the right influencers for their marketing campaigns.

To create interest in all these new ad initiatives, Snap will add plenty of fresh inventory. It is planning a major campaign for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, which will begin in July. Custom soccer-themed experiences will be made available across Stories, Spotlight, and the Snapchat Camera. More custom content will arrive in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

“Snapchat is all about real relationships, and where over 750 million people come every month to build connections and have fun with friends, families, and their favorite creators,” said Snap President of Americas Rob Wilk. “We’re thrilled to share at NewFronts how those real relationships drive real influence for brands as we announce new innovations and features across Stories, Spotlight, Creators, My AI, and more.”

The My AI news may come as a bit of a surprise, since the chatbot’s controversial launch led to lots of nasty reviews. But despite that hiccup, Snap is still committed to its take on a personalized assistant. Among other plans, the app is looking to bring sponsored results to My AI, though it hopes to make those links as useful as possible.

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