Snapchat is officially wide open for business.
On Thursday, Snapchat debuted a self-serve tool to buy ads on the mobile app that makes it easier for more advertisers to spend money on its platform. That means if a brand can’t afford the types of buys that merit a Snapchat sales rep or doesn’t want to pay to buy ads through a third-party software provider that plugs into Snapchat’s advertising API, they can now purchase ads without those extra requirements.
Snapchat has been testing the self-serve ad-buying tool, called Snapchat Ad Manager, with more than 20 brands and plans to open it up to all advertisers in the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany and Australia next month.
A self-serve ad-buying tool is table stakes for a digital ad seller looking to grow its advertiser base. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn all offer their own self-serve tools. Within six months of letting advertisers buy its ads on a self-serve basis, Instagram’s advertiser base grew from “hundreds” to more than 200,000 advertisers, and that number has now ballooned to more than 1 million.
Advertisers will only be able to buy Snapchat’s vertical video Snap Ads through Snapchat Ad Manager, not Sponsored Lenses or Sponsored Geofilters, but those Snap Ads can feature attachments like displaying a web page or opening up Apple’s or Google’s app stores when people swipe up on the ad. For more information about Snapchat’s various ad formats, scroll down to our interactive guide at the bottom of this article.
While advertisers can only buy Snap Ads through Snapchat Ad Manager, they can target those ads using any of Snapchat’s targeting options, including the Facebook-like ones it introduced last year and the retargeting-lite ones it added last month. In addition to buying ads, brands can use Snapchat Ad Manager to monitor their ads’ performance, such as how many times an ad was served, how many times people swiped up on it and the average cost per swipe.
Advertisers using Snapchat Ad Manager will also be able to track their campaigns through a new section for advertisers in Snapchat’s existing app. Called Snapchat Mobile Dashboard, the section functions similarly to Facebook’s Ads Manager app, but unlike Facebook’s version, brands don’t have to download and use a separate app to check up on their campaigns. And it means that for brands to monitor their campaigns from their phones, they have to go through Snapchat’s app, a way to make them more familiar with the user experience.
For brands that have a bunch of people managing their ad buys, Snapchat will also roll out a hub called Business Manager that can be used to delineate roles and permissions for the various members of a marketer’s team and to manage ad accounts and billing information. It’s very similar to Facebook’s Business Manager tool, to the point of sharing the same name.