Snapchat adds Facebook-like audience targeting

Facebook Custom and Lookalike Audiences are two of the most powerful tools in a social media marketer’s tool kit, and it’s no surprise that the concept Facebook pioneered has been replicated by Google and Twitter.

Now, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Snapchat will soon get into the act with similar targeting options called Snap Audience Match and Lookalikes.

As the names suggest, Snap Audience Match is Snapchat’s answer to Facebook Custom Audiences. Through Snap Audience Match, advertisers upload the hashed email addresses and mobile device IDs of their customers so that Snapchat can identify them on its service and deliver targeted ads to them on behalf of advertisers.

Lookalikes functions similarly to Facebook Lookalike Audiences, and allows advertisers to target ads to Snapchat users who resemble their existing customers.

The Wall Street Journal’s Mike Shields says that a number of select brands have been testing these new targeting tools. One of those brands, eBay, has been using Snap Audience Match with two of the seven Snapchat campaigns it has been running since May and reports “measurable improvements in consumer engagement and positive return on investment.”

Snapchat users will have the ability to opt out of Snap Audience Match, and advertisers can only use the new targeting features with Snap Ads, not Sponsored Lenses or geofilters.


Catching up to Facebook?

Having surpassed Twitter in daily usage, many believe that Snapchat poses the biggest threat to Facebook’s dominance on the social web. But while advertisers have been eager to embrace Snapchat, the company’s ad business is nowhere near as mature as Facebook’s.

That has been changing this year, however, as Snapchat aims to build a billion-dollar advertising business.

The company has been experimenting with a slew of new ad products and just last month, Snapchat unveiled new behavioral targeting features. In addition to Snap Audience Match and Lookalikes, it is also adding Lifestyle Categories, which allow advertisers to target users who view particular categories of content.

While some companies, like Procter & Gamble, are finding that targeting isn’t as important to their Facebook campaigns as expected, a lack of targeting features has been seen as a negative for Snapchat. According to Sarah Hofstetter, CEO of agency 360i, Snapchat’s basic targeting options are “just not sufficient.”

Thanks to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel’s disdain for “creepy” ads, Snapchat might never match Facebook feature for feature when it comes to advertising. For example, Snapchat has reportedly ruled out supporting retargeting based on visits and conversions on external websites. But now that it is adding more sophisticated targeting options, Snapchat could start to give Facebook a run for its money.

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