A couple months ago here in the office we were all sharing articles about the public announcement that Snapchat would be releasing an API, and working closely with content creation agencies, and large corporations that control media space/purchasing. All the official rumblings coming from Snapchat were that this hyper controlled release was in an effort to create only amazing one-of-a-kind sponsored content that would seamlessly work its way into our Live Stories, and eventually into our friends stories as well.

When we hear about these things typically we all say “ya, we will probably start seeing that in a year or so.” But that really isn’t the case with Snapchat. The speed with which they have been rolling out product updates should have been a signal to how fast the ads would start appearing. I personally watch all of the Public Live Stories that Snapchat drops in front of me, if only because the content is usually really awesome, and a nice change from some of my (ahemmm…) friends stories.

Last week they started pumping the ads right smack dab into the middle of those Public Stories. And if I can say one thing overall: NOT SUBTLE. The content DOES look super custom created for the vertical layout of Snapchat video. I will give them that. What’s not so subtle? I’m watching a Story about life In Rio De Janeiro leading up to the Olympics, and enjoying the whole thing thoroughly – when boom! Rihanna is on my screen without any notice, talking about her new song on the Star Trek Beyond movie soundtrack?!!???!

I understand that all things have a curve to them. Including releasing new forms of ad space to the world. But I have to say that this initial experience was so jarring that I thought something was broken. No warning, no transition, just BOOM: RIHANNA. Which was followed by a bunch of out of place stills of the cast of the new film. It was all over really quickly, and only minutes afterward did I realize that I had just been force fed an ad unit about the films upcoming release.


(You can see the little “AD’ in the bottom corner – which helps – but also wasn’t on screen the whole time. Cheeky.)

So I pose this question – was it actually truly and totally effective (after all here I am writing about it…) or is this an example of a total fail in the release of what they claim to be super well thought out native ad content? Only time will tell. In the meantime — educate yourself a bit more here: https://www.snapchat.com/ads