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Snapchat Commercials Are Here And You Can’t Skip Them

Business

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Snap is hoping that a new product will drum up support from advertisers and investors.

This past April, Snapchat confirmed it would test unskippable ads within its TV-like shows, and now the six-second ad placements are going live.

The new ad format mimics commercials one could expect to see when watching TV and will appear in the middle of shows produced by partners including NBCUniversal, Disney, and Viacom in the platform’s Discover section.

Per Ad Age, the six-second spots can’t be linked to longer videos or e-commerce experiences like the company’s typical video ad units. They also and won’t appear outside of Snapchat Shows. For users, this is good news meaning they won’t have to succumb to forced ad-viewing when viewing their friends’ content—at least for now.

Among the first brands to test the waters with the unskippable ads include Samsung, Snapple, STX Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros. according to Mobile Marketer. Below is a screenshot of the ads in action, promoting the upcoming film “Deadpool 2.”


Image via Ad Age

As Ad Age explains, unless a user attempts to tap on the ad, the bar that displays the number of seconds remaining is hidden from the screen. This is a strategic move to keep viewers tuned in for the full six seconds of the spot.

For this reason, ads were immediately skippable with a simple tap of the finger. Recently, however, a growing number of brands have complained of seeing less than two-second average view times on their video ads. The lost faith among advertisers has led to declining ad revenue over time.

For reference, since first going public in March of last year, the stock price of Snap Inc. has declined by more than 50 percent. In the first quarter of this year alone, the company reported its shares fell 15 percent. The company also took a $40 million hit on unsold Spectacles, something Snapchat hopes can be remedied through its latest efforts to bring new export formats to glasses through the beta version of its app. According to TechCrunch, a black border instead of a white border could be selected, for example, but above all, a landscape option would bode better when working with key video players like YouTube, which optimizes for the 16:9 format.

In addition, Snapchat witnessed its slowest user growth to date (2.13% last quarter compared to Facebook’s 3.42%). Per The Verge, in response, Snapchat is currently rolling out its re-redesign of the app out to iOS users. At a glance, the updates will involve Snaps and Chats being presented in chronological order again and Stories from friends being moved back to the right-hand side of the app.

At the end of the day, Snapchat isn’t alone in its endeavor of finding a balance between keeping advertisers, investors, and users happy. Last month, Facebook added to the number of places it would display pre-roll ads. Nonetheless, there are a lot of questions that will remain unanswered until the rollout is fully underway, namely, will the number of people driven away be offset by revenue these ads stand to generate? Or, will high-quality content keep users engaged for six-second commercial breaks?

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