Dive Insight:

Snap at this year’s NewFronts doubled down on its potential to advertisers, pointing to stats including the over 750 million monthly active users on Snapchat, who create over 5 billion Snaps each day. The slew of announcements sees the tech firm extending its monetization capabilities as it works to right the ship from a turbulent first quarter, which saw revenue drop 7% year-over-year to $989 million.

Among new tools, Snap’s new First Story feature allows advertisers to up the odds of making an impression with app users, positioning video ads as the first to be seen between Friend Stories. Similarly, YouTube at its NewFronts presentation this week announced the YouTube Select tool would extend to its TikTok lookalike, Shorts, and allow advertisers to purchase ad slots at the start of a users’ viewing session. 

Snap’s First Story feature rides on the heels of similar ad placement offerings, including First Commercial and First Tool. In the U.S., First Story offers a potential daily reach of over 50 million, per information shared with Marketing Dive. Early partners for the new format include Louis Vuitton and Warner Brothers, among others.

To further entice advertisers, Snap announced the immediate availability of ads in its Spotlight feature for all advertisers globally. According to the company, more than 350 million users watch Spotlight content every month, and viewership has grown 170% year-over-year. Initial Spotlight ad placements will be served automatically, but advertisers will be able to manage their placements through Snapchat Ads Manager. 

The company also announced it will use major sports sponsorship packages to bring exclusive content across Snapchat’s Stories, Spotlight and Camera features, including moves timed to NBCUniversal’s broadcast of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and the Women’s World Cup. It will also continue its partnerships with the NFL, NBA and WNBA.

In addition to generating greater advertiser appeal, Snap is looking to boost its content capabilities, launching Snap Star Collab Studio to offer a streamlined way for brands to find and partner with the platform’s top creators and public figures. Snap also promised to roll out additional tools to foster collaboration, including an expanded API and greater fluidity for paid amplification. Four initial partners for the tool were named, including Studio71, Beeline by Brat TV, Influential and Whalar.

Snap also used the NewFronts to further flex its plans surrounding artificial intelligence and its chatbot, My AI. Among new endeavors within the tech, the company has begun early testing on sponsored links within My AI conversations to promote businesses who are relevant to the discussion. The company is similarly in early testing for an additional My AI tool, which would provide mobile video powered by conversational intent to Snapchat users.

The company has been heavily investing in AI lately. In April, Snap announced that it would extend its chatbot beyond a subscriber-only offering and grant all users access, though it was quickly met with some intense feedback from users, mainly surrounding its invasiveness. At the same time, the company also unveiled other features, including personalization capabilities, AR lens suggestions and Snap Map recommendations.

(Copyright: MarketingDive Snap tests My AI sponsored links amid expansion of ad formats | Marketing Dive)