The messaging platform reached out to ad technology companies and agencies about its API, asking them what they would need from such software, sources said. The conversations with potential partners are laying the groundwork for a system that would be ready for testing by as early as the spring.
“Snapchat’s ambition going into 2016 is to have many more opportunities for e-commerce on the platform and other stuff that is more about building audiences,” said an ad agency executive with direct knowledge of the plans.
Opening up an API is a crucial step for Snapchat, following the lead of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others. It allows for more types of ads, including those with calls to action for consumers, such as installing apps or buying products. These direct-response formats are considered essential for any mobile ad business that wants to cater to a broad base of marketers.
In a typical API, ad technology players and brands use the interface to execute campaigns, automating the process of placing orders, delivering creative, targeting audiences, and ultimately measuring the success of the ads. For Snapchat, this would be a big departure. Until now, it’s been selling ads the old-fashioned way: working directly with brands and agencies. The ad software would help Snapchat with better targeting, allowing brands to reach consumers more easily based on age, gender, location and other audience traits.
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