Content on Snapchat may quickly disappear, but the brand would like to stick around for a long time, and to do that it needs to monetize itself. So 25-year-old company co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel headed to France to showcase its new ad platform at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in a chat with Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles.
Snapchat claims that 60 percent of smartphone users ages 13 to 34 use Snapchat, VentureBeat reports, so advertisers are very interested in how the company—currently valued at $19 billion—plans to move forward. Spiegel told the 3,000 attendees in Cannes how Snapchat is handling things a bit differently on the advertising front from his competitors.
For instance, Spiegel is not a fan of how some other sites use data to hyper-target ads to individuals. “I got an ad this morning for something I was thinking about buying yesterday,” Spiegel told the crowd. “And it’s really annoying.” He noted that it’s important that Snapchat not be seen as “creepy.”
As another brand differentiator, video ads on Snapchat’s new 3V—”vertical video views”—ad platform will be seen vertically rather than horizontally. This will keep consumers from needing to flip their phones when an ad begins on Snapchat. The company is also inserting video ads in the middle of the stream rather than at the start.
Video is already a major part of Snapchat’s popularity. The app now has 100 million daily active users who watch about 2 billion videos, according to the Guardian. In addition to his visit to Cannes, Spiegel also appeared in a Snapchat video (above) explaining 3V’s video ad units and approach to all those interested.
In recent days, Snapchat has made a deal with Live Nation to use video from its festivals and concerts for its Live Stories feature, MusicWeek reports. Each Live Story stays up for 24 hours and collects about 20 million viewers. KFC Australia has also signed with Snapchat to promote its new taco, which received 3,000 views in its first three hours on Snapchat.
Whatever Snapchat is doing so far, it’s working. The company now has 450 employees compared with 45 last year, and has become a significant way information is passed along consumer-to-consumer during events as varied as the Charleston shootings and the NBA Finals. Spiegel would like to keep things moving in the right direction as Snapchat plans on eventually going public, the Guardian reports.
On stage back at Cannes, meanwhile, Spiegel also explained the origin of Snapchat’s unusual logo, admitting that he designed it himself on his computer and chose bright yellow because no other major app used that color. “I drew that on my computer in my dorm room in an evening,” he told Coles. “When we started to research, we looked at the top 100 apps and noticed that none of them were yellow.”
He also said he created the social app—which allows users to send and receive messages, pictures and messages that are instantly deleted, as he recently explained in a “What is Snapchat?” video designed for parents—after a run of bad luck including being kicked out of his college fraternity, breaking up with his girlfriend and seeing a website business venture he was involved in fail.