Snap Inc. will begin testing six-seconds ads on Snapchat this May, which users won’t be able to skip. It’s a drastic move that indicates the company is struggling to pull revenue. ( Robyn Beck | AFP/Getty Images )
In an effort to make its business more profitable, Snapchat is planning to debut six-second ads within its platform, the kind that users won’t be able to skip.
It’s part of Snap Inc.’s search for ways to generate revenue while preventing people from moving on to other platforms, especially Instagram, whose Stories feature — essentially a carbon copy of Snapchat’s core features — continues to thrive.
Snapchat is poised to begin testing six-second ads mid-May, which are going to be called “Commercials,” as Digiday reports. Snapchat has confirmed that this test will indeed occur. Ads are set to appear in some shows, but not in personal Stories or the Discover news section. Sources familiar with Snap Inc.’s plans told the publication that the move is sort of a “testing the waters” phase for the company to see how much ads its user base can tolerate.
For brands and publishers, Snapchat will no doubt serve as a unique avenue for promoting their products and services, and there’s reason to believe Snap Inc. will open up more of the app’s elements to accommodate companies’ various needs. It might allow more brands, for instance, to create custom lenses and filters. In fact, that has happened many times in the past. Unskippable ads, however, are a different ball game than interactive lenses and filters: the latter is fun, engaging, and blends into the core experience the app offers, while the former risks dulling the experience entirely, if not frustrating Snap Inc.’s audiences.
A Rocky Year For Snap Inc.
Even still, this is the kind of move the company needs to pull off given its present circumstances. It’s been a rocky year for Snap Inc., most especially after it went public. The company has been facing many challenges, the most recent of which are the criticisms targeted at the app’s recent design changes. There’s also the matter of some celebrities who had once been heavy Snapchat users recently disavowing the platform. On top of which, the company had to lay off a lot of engineers, as it adjusts its business amid flimsy Wall Street performance records.
Already pissed at Snapchat’s new interface, it’s easy to imagine that most users will be more frustrated at the app for introducing six-second ads that they can’t bypass, but that depends on how Snap Inc. designs and implements its Commercials platform. Even still, not one person in the world has probably said that they like seeing ads on an app they use regularly, especially ones that can’t be skipped.
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