Video production for online consumption has long had to take multiple platforms into account, and Snapchat is becoming increasingly important as a video hosting outlet. This development has taken place against the backdrop of Snapchat’s dynamic growth as a social media platform. Snapchat has recently been valued at an estimated $19 billion, and has around 100 million daily users, having been launched as recently as September 2011.
The ad in question was taken out by the American Action Network, an outside group tied to the Republican leadership in the US House of Representatives. The ten-second ad is part of a wider “live story” curated by the photo and video sharing app and linked to a “Roast and Ride” event organised by Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa. The American Action Network took out the ad as part of a campaign asking the US Congress to pass legislation on trade promotion authority, which would allow lawmakers to determine trade objectives.
American Action Network communications director Dan Conston said that the choice of Snapchat to host the ad allows the network to “deliver an engaging ad experience to an audience of influencers and younger, hard to reach voters.”
Snapchat does indeed find favour among younger users; the company itself says that its users are the highly engaged type of audience that advertisers like to hone in on because in order to view content on Snapchat, users are required to hold a finger on the screen of their device.
Snapchat’s hosting of the ad is part of a broader strategy of reaching into the political sphere. In April, the company brought in Peter Hamby, previously a national political reporter with CNN, to become its first head of news. In May, Snapchat hired in Rob Saliterman to head up its political ad sales team. Saliterman had been head of political ad sales at Google in the US, and had previously worked in the White House Communications Team during George W. Bush’s presidency.
Snapchat has previously declined to allow advertisers targeted ads based on such user data as gender and age, but sources familiar with the company’s strategy say that it has been developing a strategy to allow advertisers to show ads to users of a certain age profile only.