Snap is launching an Audience Network to extend the reach of ads beyond its platform — and it could be the answer to its plateauing user base

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Business Insider
  • Snap is launching the Snap Audience Network, an ad network that allows advertisers to take their ads beyond Snapchat to other third-party mobile apps so they can get more reach for their Snap campaigns.
  • Media buyers see the move as a way around Snap's plateauing user base but also wonder whether its ads will translate well to other platforms.

Brands will soon be able to run their Snap ads beyond Snapchat.

The company is launching the Snap Audience Network, an ad network that extends its full-screen mobile-ad format, called Snap Ads, to other apps, giving advertisers more reach for their Snap campaigns.

The company announced the network here at its first Partner Summit for content and developer partners.

The Snap Audience Network also lets third-party developers and publishers monetize their apps. Starting Thursday, developers can apply to access Snap's Ad Software Development Kit at SnapKit.com. The program will launch with iOS integrations to start and be available in the US only.

"The Snap Audience Network is designed to bring our popular mobile-ad format, Snap Ads, to third-party apps," said Ben Schwerin, Snap's vice president of partnerships. "This will help our partners grow and offer advertisers new ways to reach the Snapchat community."

Advertisers see the move as an answer to Snap's plateauing user base

Snap follows in the footsteps of other platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, whose audience networks launched in 2014 and 2016.

In a briefing on Wednesday, several Snap execs told reporters that the Snap Audience Network would offer users more privacy than traditional ad networks, but they did not share more about what kind of data it would use to target people on apps outside of Snapchat.

Snap has struggled to grow its user base, which has limited its appeal with advertisers, and the network is a way to address this issue, said Mike Dossett, a vice president and director of digital strategy at RPA.

"It begins to solve the pressing problem of slowing user growth and associated revenue potential," Dossett said.

Advertisers who have been concerned about Snap's footprint could now be willing to spend more, driving higher revenue for Snap, said Meghan Myszkowski, the vice president of social activation at Essence in North America.

"If they can expand the reach and still drive accuracy with targeting as well as solid metrics, I think it's worth a very critical eye towards deeper advertising investment," she said.

But one ad buyer said that while Snapchat's vertical format has become ubiquitous, the Snap Ads creative may not translate well to other apps.

"I worry about the ad experience, since Snapchat itself is so specific compared to other platforms, which might require an advertiser to have an ad experience for Snapchat and a different one for the Audience Network," he said.

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