Snap Casts Wider Net for Advertisers With New Self-Service Tool

By Georgia Wells and Jack Marshall Features Dow Jones Newswires

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Snap Inc. on Thursday announced new tools to help a broader base of marketers quickly buy ads on Snapchat, an important step in its ambitions to rival online ad giants such as Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google.

A new self-service product called Snapchat Ad Manager lets marketers buy any of Snap's ad formats, including videos, and target them to certain groups of users, Snap said in a statement.

Previously, marketers had to buy ads directly from the Snapchat sales team or through Snap's ad partners, which cater to more-specialized advertising such as those targeted based on weather.

With the new tools, marketers will be able to purchase ads themselves using a credit card starting in July, Snap said -- which could encourage a broader base of companies to experiment with its ad offerings.

Similar buying tools have helped propel mammoth online advertising businesses for Google and Facebook by attracting spending from small- and medium-size businesses in addition to major companies. Other online platforms, such as Twitter Inc. and Pinterest, followed in their footsteps by offering their own self-service ad-buying tools.

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Ad revenue growth is important for supporting Snap's valuation of more than $25 billion because nearly all of Snap's revenue comes from advertising. Snap recorded 2016 revenue of about $404.5 million.

Snap said it built the new tool with needs of smaller businesses in mind. More than 20 brands, including online sneaker marketplace GOAT and movie ticketing app Atom Tickets, had early access to the ad manager. Snap plans to roll out the tool in countries including the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany and Australia.

Snap also announced a mobile dashboard where advertisers can review ads and live metrics about their campaigns from within the Snapchat app.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 04, 2017 09:14 ET (13:14 GMT)