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Does Snapchat Have A Viewability Problem?

Short answer, yes.

In recent weeks, there have been a number of articles about Snapchat’s paid ad offerings shining a light into what they’re actually offering brands for the hundreds of thousands of dollars they’re paying for these 10 second spots. While earlier this year we outlined a process for measuring Snapchat, now that paid content is starting to take off, we’re starting to hear more from brands themselves on how they are performing.

Digiday’s Garett Sloane reported on two stories about brands who weren’t too pleased with the results of ads on Snapchat, including getting one particular brand to leak the stats of their series of four snaps within one of the Our Stories feeds.  Their results can been seen in the chart below, but they’re not too favorable to the brand.

Snapchat-snapstats

Completions rates are crushed within seconds (if anyone even saw more than one second at all). And while some celebrated the view time (one anonymous source said the average view time on its ads was four seconds, with a completion rate of 34 percent) most seem to have been reaching out with much skepticism.

When we look at Snapchat Ads we need to come to terms with two realities:

  1. People send more time Snapping with each other, and creating their own stories for smaller circles of trusted friends than they do browsing through Snapchat’s Discover or Our Stories feeds.
  2. Click-to-view was announced too soon and while completion rates are higher, viewability has suffered. We measured an average overall completion rate increase of 20% on stories greater than one minute long, looking at data from more than 200 stories from audiences in the thousands to the hundreds of thousands. While Snapchat is still the only truly intent-driven social network (meaning that content isn’t passively loaded in the feed, but a user has to actually choose what they see) they eliminated a key feature before they really got heavy into selling ads.

It’s pretty clear to us that if a brand pays for scale on Snapchat, it comes at a pretty high cost of viewability.

There’s no previous engagement, no priming that the user might see that ad, it’s just stuck in the middle of a bunch of other people’s Snaps. Brands are not driving users to their own Snapchat account, many are simply using hashtags from other platforms.

And while the first ads on Discover were sharable and you could draw on them just like any other snap, now advertisers who are spending six figures on content are shutting off the sharing feature in the Snapchat CMS. That would be HUGE for advertisers! They’re clearly too scared of not having a pristine product, when in reality they could be building interactive content for people to share with one another.

Native Snapchat Ads are in need of a serious content overhaul, and while Our Stories and Discover are nice, Snapchat has relied on traditional personalities and media publishers

Let me share some numbers we’ve found:

Take for example one particular Snapchat campaign we at Delmondo ran this year for one of our clients. Across 48 hours, three Snapchat influencers generated more than 500,000 views on their Snapchat stories. Each influencer posted more than two full minutes of branded content inside of Snapchat.

When you take into account the minimum and maximum view times, we can also calculate the viewability just like Snapchat. In fact, in that project our client achieved a minimum of  250 hours of branded content viewed, and a max of 1000 hours. 

Here’s another example, another Snapchat story from one of our creators that went highly viral. Notice how the influencers never seem to drop below 80% (in fact, we have run more than a dozen branded Snapchat campaigns over the past four months and haven’t had a single one measure below an 80% completion rate).

Here’s what that interaction looks like over time:

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 2.12.40 PM

Now if your brand just wants to post plain old ads, that’s cool, Snapchat will give you some big numbers (4 seconds viewability woo!) but let’s face it, you want real, meaningful engagement.

You can see why Snapchat influencers offer greater interactivity, and more viewability for brands on Snapchat today that current ad offerings.

For more insight into Snapchat Analytics, you can download our new eBook, The State of Snapchat Analytics for free here.

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