Snap Testing Sponsored Links in My AI Chatbot, Warner Bros. to Launch Snapchat First Story Takeover Ads for ‘The Flash’

·4-min read

Snap took the wraps off new advertising initiatives at its 2023 NewFronts presentation for marketers in New York — including revealing a new test of sponsored links in My AI, which can deliver ads based on a user’s conversation with the chatbot.

The company, which averaged 383 million daily active users in Q1, last month announced the rollout of the artificial intelligence-powered My AI chatbot to all Snapchat users. While it’s still early days, Snap says My AI has the potential to deliver more relevant content and experiences across the app — and execs told NewFronts attendees the company is experimenting with sponsored links in My AI.

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In addition, Snap announced First Story, a new takeover offering that lets advertisers reserve the first video ad that Snapchat users see between their Friend Stories, with a U.S. potential daily reach of more than 50 million users. According to the company, Warner Bros. has booked the first global First Story takeover campaign for “The Flash,” set to hit theaters June 16.

The company also said it is now selling ads in Spotlight — the app’s user-generated content section — to all advertisers globally, and it has launched the Snap Star Collab Studio in the U.S., designed to make it easier for brands and creators to work together on sponsored deals.

On the partnerships front, the company announced a deal with NBCUniversal that will bring custom content to Snapchat from the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympic Games. The content will include daily Snapchat Stories at the Olympics and Paralympics, as well as AR Lenses in the Snapchat Camera and content from a roster of Snap Stars on the ground in Paris. Snap also said it will present exclusive content for this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup across Snapchat’s Stories, Spotlight and Camera.

“Snapchat is all about real relationships, and where over 750 million people come every month to build connections and have fun with friends, families and their favorite creators,” said Rob Wilk, Snap’s president of Americas, who joined the company from Microsoft last month. “We’re thrilled to share at NewFronts how those real relationships drive real influence for brands as we announce new innovations and features across Stories, Spotlight, Creators, My AI and more.”

Snapchat’s My AI experience can suggest relevant AR Lenses, recommend places from the Snap Map and, coming soon for Snapchat+ subscribers, will respond to Snaps with unique generative images. During the NewFronts 2023 presentation, the company shared an early look at how it’s exploring more ways to enhance My AI; for example, surfacing mobile video powered by conversational intent.

Snap has conduced early testing of sponsored links in My AI but didn’t identify partners it has been working with. To determine if a My AI conversation is eligible for an ad, Snap runs safety checks to detect abuse, policy violations and content sensitivity.

The company provided some examples of how the sponsored My AI links work. If a Snapchatter is talking about a video game with the bot, they may receive a sponsored link for a similar game from a retailer. Or, if you’re having a conversation with My AI about what to have for dinner, you may receive a link sponsored by a local restaurant or a food delivery app.

Meanwhile, the ads that Snap is selling for Spotlight will initially be served as automatic placements interspersed within UGC content. Advertisers can manage their placements within Spotlight via Snapchat Ads Manager. According to the company, more than 350 million Snapchat users watch Spotlight content each month and in Q1, total time spent watching Spotlight content rose 170% year-over-year.

The Snap Star Creator Collab is touted as a turnkey service available in the U.S. for brands to partner with Snap Stars (Snapchat’s top creators and public figures). The Collab Studio will offer managed service production from four initial production partners: Studio71, Beeline by Brat TV, Influential and Whalar. Over the course of 2023, Snap says it plans to roll out additional tools that will improve the ways brands and creators collaborate on Snapchat.

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