Snapchat is pitching high-frequency, high-reach ‘Platform Burst’ ad campaigns


Snapchat is sounding advertisers out on whether they’d spend money on its ads on the guarantee that they reach more people more often. 

The pitch is for what Snapchat calls “Platform Burst”, a media buy advertisers can use to ensure their campaigns reach a certain amount of people in the app frequently over three or five days, according to three agency execs who are considering it.  

Over this time period, Snapchat guarantees advertisers that those campaigns will reach at least 40% of their target audience 15 times. The burst of ads over a concentrated period of time could help offset the fact that ads on Snapchat are easily skippable and consequently less likely to be seen. 

“The high frequency of the ads with this media buy on Snapchat could make people more amenable to the messaging if the creative execution is there,” said Simon Gill, the chief creative officer at Isobar. “That’s a simple yet powerful behavioral trait that marketers can exploit by doing this Burst over a few days in a number of different places on the app.”  

There is no fixed price for Platform Burst campaigns but Snapchat execs have pitched early iterations at around £100,000 ($127,000) according to the execs. 

For that outlay, advertisers can split their campaign into different formats across different parts of the app. A Platform Burst campaign could cover Story Ads in the Discover section of the app, Snap Ads in a media companies’ Publisher Stories and the TV-like Snapchat Commercials between Snapchat Shows, for example. 

“Snapchat is pitching this as a great media buy for competitive moments like product launches,” said a media buyer on the condition of anonymity. 

None of the execs Digiday spoke to said they had booked a Platform Burst campaign in the U.K. yet, though all three did say their clients had shown interest going into a competitive holiday season. Snapchat has, however, tested the campaign format in other markets such as the Middle East. and across tech, telco and entertainment verticals.

It’s a steep price to pay for something new at a time when advertisers are looking for the complete opposite. The alternative Take Over ad on TikTok, for example, costs around £70,000 ($88,920) while Twitter’s Spotlight corresponding ad takeover product costs £30,000, ($38,110) according to a rate card reviewed by Digiday and media buyer respectively. 

Whether advertisers are willing to stump up the cash for the media buy depends on how much of their TV dollars they’re prepared to move into online video platforms. And Snapchat is becoming a bigger contender for video ad budgets in markets like the U.K. and the U.S. because it has an audience who seem more engaged with that type of content. Over the last year, commercial execs(at Snapchat have stressed that “more than half of the U.S. Generation Z population are watching Snap Originals. 

“A guaranteed buy like Platform Burst could interest advertisers because it removes the uncertainty of fluctuating costs in an auction,” said Carly Carson, director of social at digital agency PMG. 

In some ways, Platform Burst has a similar premise to TikTok’s Take Over ads that let an advertiser dominant the first post someone sees when they open the app. With the rollout of the new campaign format, Snapchat is widening its moat against TikTok and other challengers for short-form video budgets.

The media buyers interviewed for this article said the rollout of Platform Burst is a timely reminder that Snapchat has been quietly building a robust video business during a year when TikTok has been pushing its own to advertisers. 

“Snapchat’s Platform Burst feature won’t do much to retain advertisers looking to shift to TikTok, however, it may be appealing to those looking to shift linear TV dollars into digital,” said Carson

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