Snapchat 3Vi Ads Explained

Snapchat 3Vi Ads Explained

Snapchat has faced some hard criticism around its ad platform. It’s been said they are too pricey, can’t be scaled, and offer fuzzy analytics, at best. But, like any young social network, there is always push and pull between user experience, business objectives, and scaling technology.

Despite any criticisms, it’s hard to argue that Snapchat’s growth has been anything short of remarkable. One area worth noting is Snapchat’s 3V ad experience. It’s been exciting to watch this area of the platform change over time, with updates in the last few months making it a fascinating time for the company.

What’s a 3Vi Ad?

3Vi stands for Vertical Video Views and Interactive, and allows users who see ads on Snapchat to swipe up on the creative to access some type of call to action (CTA), like installing an app, watching a longer video, or visiting a shopping page. In addition this format reportedly caters to any style of branded article that incorporates text, photos, and GIFs leaving the door open for publishers on discover to potentially advertise branded editorial content.

Ads are typically presented on Snapchat Discover, between publisher-led content on the platform. This type of direct-response marketing shows a response to advertiser needs with trackable attribution data points. Check out the Screenshots below of Marvel’s Contest of Champions Ad unit. Users watching the three second video can swipe up on the “Play” CTA overlay to access the App Store, where they can access and download the app.

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Snapchat Charges Premium for 3Vi Ads

A recent article from Digiday reveals that Snapchat is doubling prices on views for new interactive video ads to four cents a view (CPM) for its latest ad 3Vi product, with Snapchat counting views as “any amount of time,” charging advertisers the “second the ad loads” with views registering in “milliseconds.” That’s a minimum of $40 CPM just to get started,

It’s unclear if Snapchat Discover and Live channels counts only unique 3Vi views per usage session. I have seen the same advertisement on Snapchat’s Discover and Live channels over time, or on two different publishers channels at the same time. During one usage test session I was able to replay the same ad continuously for Cosmopolitan, and Seventeen Discover channels and I am starting to witness less of this activity over a span of 12 hours. I did however, go back to the Food Network and Tastemade publisher’s channel on Discover a number of times in a single session, and never witnessed the same ad unit twice, indicating that it could be publisher specific. During one testing session, I either observed a different ad or no ad at all. Regardless, I believe it’s important to note, that 3Vi Ad units are still being sold on a per view basis with a pricing model that still needs additional validation.


Snapchat Ad Targeting Capabilities

Last month at  Advertising Week Europe, Nick Bell, Vice-President of Content at Snapchat, highlighted recent updates to the platforms overall ad targeting capabilities. He stated that advertisers could “now target by age, gender, location and context.” Elaborating on how the company has been making a huge investment in the development of its ad tech. Business Insider also reported in December, that Snapchat was expanding their targeting capabilities by investing in solutions provided by 3rd party data partners Nielsen, and Millward Brown.


What’s Next For 3Vi?

Ad Week reported last last month that after slow testing, Snapchat was open for ecommerce. The article cited Lancome and Target as two brands who “started running shoppable ads” inside “Cosmopolitan’s Discovery channel.” Users were able to “swipe up” to visit a mobile store where they could then purchase products shown in the advertisement. This type of interactive ad placement on Snapchat opens the door for attribution tracking for e-commerce sales and app downloads, leading to more accurate insights into Snapchat’s ad campaigns return on investment.
While Snapchat’s current 3Vi pricing model is driven by ad views, don’t be surprised if site traffic, sales, or download attributions become the campaign cost driver. This type of pricing model could allow advertisers to drive additional efficiency in their ad spend, and with reports that the company itself is working on a API, Snapchat could potentially integrate these type of delivery optimization or bidding options on a web-dashboard in the near future.


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