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Snapchat and creative optimisation: Two key tipping points in 2017

Much will remain the same next year but some key trends will go mainstream, says MediaCom's MBA global team.

When 2016 started we didn’t know about Trump or Brexit or the deaths of Bowie or Cohen. But what we could predict was that video was going to explode across our business.

As the year draws to a close, it’s safe to say that 2017 will bring its own surprises, but also that two key trends will reach a tipping point where everyone in our business needs to take action.

So while there will be much more of the same – more digital, more social and more Facebook – there are a couple of key growth areas that will reach their own moment of maturity.

SNAPCHAT GOES MAINSTREAM

The first thing that I think will change dramatically is the position and perception of Snapchat as a marketing platform. Smart brands are already experimenting but what will happen in 2017 is that Snapchat will hit a scale where all brands need to understand its audience and how best to take advantage of this audience and scale to work for their target consumer.

This will require both marketers and creatives and planners to truly understand the new (instant gratification) consumer mindset that Snapchat has made popular.

Snap Ads always begin with an up-to-10-second vertical, full-screen video ad, with Snapchatters able to swipe up to see more. Such actions could reveal a range of content be it a long-form video, article, app install ad, or a mobile website.

“Smart brands are already experimenting but what will happen in 2017 is that Snapchat will hit a scale where all brands need to understand its audience”

With 150 million daily users – many of them in an older segment that its original user base – buzz created by its video recording $130 Spectacles, and a planned IPO of parent Snap possibly as early as Q1, Snapchat is reaching a stage of maturity that demands that brands take it seriously as a video platform.

In this it will join, the soon-to-merge, Verizon-owned AOL and Yahoo! as one of two potentially powerful but growing rivals to Google and Facebook.

Brands, holding companies and agencies will be hoping that these new power platforms, which are far more open than the walled gardens of tech’s big two who they are challenging, can become a viable alternative, able to deliver scale for their campaigns.

eMarketer is already predicting that Snapchat is poised for explosive ad revenue growth, predicting that this year’s revenue of just under $370m will grow to more than $935m next year. Earlier this year, analyst figures revealed that Snapchat had overtaken Twitter in terms of daily users.

THE RISE OF DYNAMIC CREATIVE

The second key change will be the rise of dynamic creative in programmatic. This already happens to a limited extent but in 2017, it will reach the point at which every brand will have to consider how far to follow their data and how many iterations are sensible for their goals and their plans.

This will require them not just to simply serve all needed connections but also develop new creative techniques to take full advantage of the opportunity at hand. Brands will have to start to work out how their big ideas, hero brand content and assets can have dynamic approaches at their core, every single time they are viewed.

The technology and the partnerships needed to build the reality of the personalised ad are in place but the question that many will have to resolve in 2017 is: just because you can create two billion versions, should you?

An FMCG brand is unlikely to need hyper targeting at this level while a luxury car manufacturer, for example, might want to be more targeted but perhaps still not to the extent that the technology allows.

In 2017 we will start to create best practice in this area as more brands discover the advantages and benefits of creative optimisation and the power of data to deliver that. Finding the right balance between the technological potential and the marketing benefits (and the creative approach) will be key for many brands.

Next year will bring its own political surprises and doubtless a few media ones too but we can be certain that many, many hours will be spent understanding the power of Snapchat and creative optimisation.

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