Snapchat is reportedly building an ad technology platform that would enable its partners to purchase ads via a simpler and quicker process.
Digiday reports that the photo messaging app has begun work on the API, sounding out advertising agencies as to what they what like to see in the software.
Opening up their own API is critical if Snapchat is to compete with other technology giants in terms of ad revenue. It will give partners a wider choice of ads, including direct response formats, and may even provide them with the option of self-serving their own ads.
Considering that Snapchat launched back in 2011, it came relatively late to the advertising market, only selling its first campaign in October 2014. Since then, its ad offering has been criticised for being overly time-consuming as partners have to work with Snapchat sales staff directly.
Developing its own ad technology platform could prove hugely lucrative for Snapchat, particularly considering its audience of 100 million daily active users and the potential data that it can mine from them. Snapchat will have to be careful, however, not to unsettle its existing userbase with annoying ads or overzealous data collection.
If Snapchat required an example of a technology firm using its API successfully to boost its ad portfolio, it need look no further than Instagram. The photo app saw its revenue boosted significantly by opening up its API, but it has been able to benefit from parent company Facebook’s resources and expertise. Snapchat will similarly need to ensure that its ad technology is scalable and reliable for its partners without such a luxury.
As such, it is unlikely that Snapchat’s API will be available until spring at the earliest, with a later launch seeming more plausible. For now, however, Snapchat is refusing to pass official comment on the API reports.