Snapchat API Technology: What Advertisers Need to Know

By BKV in Direct Marketing on December 15th, 2016

Snapchat, Social Media, Advertising, Digital Marketing

Leveraging its continued popularity among young users, Snapchat recently announced upgrades to its advertising options. Specifically, third-party ad partners can now use Snapchat's application programming interface, or API, to test or deliver ads.

The following is an overview of the new interface, and discussion of how you can use it to access Snapchat's very active young audience.

Snapchat API Basics

The most important thing to understand about Snapchat API is that it allows ad partners to sell advertising inventory through bidding platforms and algorithms. Therefore, as is the case with Google AdWords and other programmatic third-party platforms, brands can now acquire ad placements through automation.

Initially, the list of third-party ad partners that Snapchat is working with is limited. The vendors are: 4C, Adaptly, Amobee, Brand Intelligence, Brand Networks, SocialCode, TubeMogul, Unified and VaynerMedia. As the program evolves, it is likely going to incorporate many more advertising partners.

Benefits of API to Advertisers

A primary benefit of API is that it simplifies the ad-buying process and makes it more efficient. It will take some time for these advantages to become clear, as ad partners are not yet up to full speed in delivering through Snapchat.

Additionally, advertisers can now see their ads delivered in the middle of people's post streams, as is the case on Instagram and other social channels. The ability to conduct A/B testing is also huge. Companies can gauge the relative effectiveness of two different creative messages to see which generates the greatest response. This type of comparison testing hasn't been possible prior to API integration. Testing allows a business to quickly eliminate low-performing ads, focus on the best execution and achieve an optimum return on investment.

As Snapchat ad partners get settled in, advertisers will gain access to real-time ad reporting functionality similar to what you get from other prominent third-party ad networks like Google.

Getting into Snapchat API Advertising

The first step in getting into Snapchat advertising is video production. You need to plan and create short videos that mesh with the content being created and uploaded by the tool's user base. As you create your video, consider your target audience, including factors such as age, gender, location and device utilization. Knowing your target helps in filtering the user base for more efficient ad delivery. Then, get in touch with a current vendor or wait for more vendors to execute your ads.

Social Media, Snapchat, digital marketing, advertising

What's to Come

Currently, it is mostly major brands that are launching ads through API. The limited vendor network helps Snapchat test the effectiveness of its program on a limited scale.

As time goes on, advertisers can expect much broader accessibility, improved behavioral targeting features and retargeting options.


Snapchat API technology is in its infancy, but it helps to understand the current structure and value that this advertising platform offers. As Snapchat ramps up its access and features, savvy marketers will be ready to connect with the channel's large user base.

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