Snapchat is going all in on automation.
More than a year after Snapchat’s parent company Snap officially launched its advertising API for approved developers to build software to programmatically buy ads on Snapchat, the company is opening up the automated ad-buying toolkit to all advertisers, agencies and third-party developers, Snap announced on Tuesday.
Through Snap’s Marketing API, companies can develop their own programs to buy and target Snapchat’s vertical video Snap Ads and Sponsored Filters. They can access the API — which is no different from the one previously only available to approved ad tech firms — and its corresponding documentation on Snap’s developers site.
“We’ve been listening closely to third-party developers as we transition Snapchat ad products onto our self-serve platform. Today we’re opening up our Marketing API to give every developer tools to build the Snapchat ad solutions that perform best for them and their customers,” said Snap’s director of revenue programs, James Borow, in an emailed statement.
For advertisers, the Marketing API removes the need to go through Snap’s direct sales team, pay for third-party software or manually place each ad buy using Snap’s self-serve ad-buying tool, Ad Manager. For agencies, it can reduce the reliance on outside vendors to manage clients’ Snapchat campaigns and increase their flexibility and control over those campaigns. And for developers, it can enable them to erect new ad-buying dashboards to serve more niche needs than what may be satisfied by larger, more general ad tech firms.
And for Snap, the Marketing API could further fuel its advertising revenue. Over the past year, the company’s ad revenue has grown in tandem with advertisers’ growing adoption of Snap’s programmatic tools to buy its ads. To that end, the recent loss of its global ad sales boss may not be such a hit to Snap’s business because of his focus on direct sales and the company’s growing emphasis on programmatic sales.
Last week, Snap said that 90 percent of the Snap Ads sold in the fourth quarter of 2017 were bought programmatically through its ad API or self-serve Ad Manager. The company is expected to double down on programmatic this year by making more of its premium ad formats available through its automated ad auction, Snap execs said during last week’s earnings call.
“The engine that drove the growth in the fourth quarter and will continue to drive our growth really is the auction platform. That’s really where things are heading,” Snap CFO Drew Vollero said last week.