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“Don’t blog about Snapchat” was the recurring mantra / running joke in the IF office over the course of 2016. It was easier said than done because, of the Big 5 social channels, Snapchat dominated the news last year and likewise, the IF blog.

But hey, it’s a new year and seeing as I’m second-up to usher the hallowed IF blog into 2017, what better topic to cover than Snapchat and its slow and steady domination of the social landscape.

Specifically, I want to look at two tasty pieces of news I picked up recently relating to Snapchat’s ad functionality that are going to have a massive impact on brands.

Snapchat ex machina 

The first intriguing update to the channel is the introduction of machine learning to its ad targeting via the introduction of goal based bidding (GBB).

It’s a game-changer for brands because it puts engagement at the heart of paid campaigns, rather than views.

From a practical perspective this means that advertisers can optimize ads to be served to a section of their audience that has the highest propensity to swipe on ads.

You still pay based on CPM, but your ads drive much higher engagement, a critical factor when it comes to using a channel like Snapchat to drive real business value and measurable ROI.

According to Business Insider the only goal advertisers can optimize for are swipes, but this will expand to app downloads and commerce sales in the (wait for it…) immediate future.

All well and good. But as any hard-boiled social veteran will tell you, it’s meaningless without a robust way to dig out quality metrics.

Measuring up

On the topic of metrics, Snapchat is stepping up its game considerably by partnering with 3rd party measurement firm Moat to offer third party measurement for its video ads in France and the U.K.

Beta-launched in the US in June, Moat allows advertisers to weed out bot views from ad metrics whilst differentiating between “Human and Viewable” and “Human, Viewable, and Audible” video ad impressions.

These two new updates to the channel make a lot of sense in light of of Snap Inc filing for an IPO in November last year. 

The writing is on the wall – Snapchat is beefing up its ad offering in 2017 by investing in smarter targeting and 3rd party verification when reporting on metrics.

Simply put, if you’re not already dipping a toe into the last ocean that is becoming Snapchat advertising, now’s as good a time as any to get off the fence and into the game.

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