It was bound to happen sooner or later: Snapchat has begun serving up ads in its app, according to a post published to the company's blog Friday. The reasoning, of course? To make money.
According to Snapchat, its goal is to make ads that don't get in the way. It won't attach ads to Snaps or Chats, and it won't seek to run targeted ads. Instead, Snapchat says, "We want to see if we can deliver an experience that's fun and informative, the way ads used to be, before they got creepy and targeted."
Snapchat ads will appear in the app's Recent Updates section, and according to the company. "you can choose if you want to watch it. No biggie." Ads disappear after you watch them; if you don't watch them, they disappear after 24 hours.
Why this matters: Social media companies have been working hard to find ways to advertise to their users in a way that makes sense for their service: Facebook offers up sponsored items in the newsfeed and smaller ads in the sidebar, for example, while Twitter sells sponsored tweets and keywords (the latter appear with trending topics).
However, social media companies--like much of the Web--have focused their energy on selling ads tailored and targeted toward users based on the things they like, the sites they visit, and so on. It'll be interesting to see whether Snapchat can successfully buck this trend. By limiting the number of ads to one ad on an occasional basis, though, Snapchat may be able to play up the exclusive nature of Snapchat advertising, and be able to charge a premium.
And the first ad is...
According to the Huffington Post, Snapchat's first ad, served up Saturday, was a 20-second ad for the upcoming movie Ouija--a fitting choice given the fact that Halloween is less than two weeks away. It's nearly impossible to identify any patterns after only one ad, but the decision to promote a horror movie in late October may give an indication of how Snapchat plans to approach advertising: Promote things that are timely, relevant, and have mass appeal.