Snapchat now lets brands link Sponsored Lens, Geofilter ads to their sites


Snapchat is trying to make its most brand-friendly ad formats more appealing to direct-response advertisers.

A month after Snapchat rolled out Context Cards that append information to people’s Snaps, the mobile app is opening up the feature to advertisers. Brands buying Sponsored Lens and Sponsored Geofilter campaigns can attach Context Cards to their ads so that people can swipe-and-tap to visit their sites, Snapchat announced on Monday. Eventually, the company plans to enable brands to deep-link to their own apps through Context Cards.

A free add-on to Sponsored Lens and Sponsored Geofilter buys, Context Cards are initially available to advertisers in the US and will roll out to other countries early next year. Film studio Lionsgate is the first brand to attach Context Cards to a Sponsored Lens campaign.

As shown in the GIF below, the new variety of Sponsored Lens mirrors the original at first glance — except for the “MORE” call to action at the bottom of the Snap. Swiping up on the Snap will display a Context Card that previews the brand-picked link, and tapping on the Context Card will open the link through Snapchat’s in-app browser.

Snapchat will give advertisers basic stats on how people are using their Context Cards. Brands will be able to see how many times a Context Card was shown to people and how many times people clicked on the Context Card, as well as the click-through rate.

However, brands can configure their Context Cards’ links to do their own conversion tracking. A Snapchat spokesperson confirmed that a brand can include additional parameters in its URL to identify when someone is visiting a page from a Context Card. That way, the brand could track what that person does on the page and elsewhere on its site, such as making a purchase or scheduling an appointment, to measure the campaign’s return on investment.

Context Cards will only appear when people are viewing someone else’s Snap that uses a given Sponsored Lens or Sponsored Geofilter. They will not show when people are playing with a Lens themselves. That limitation can restrict the reach of these ads, which may explain why Snapchat is not charging an extra fee for the add-on.

Context Cards enable advertisers to use ads that are intended to catch people’s attention to also convert them into customers. For example, Lionsgate is using its Context Card to sell tickets for its upcoming film, “Wonder.” Similarly, retailers could use the add-on to add to their holiday shopping sales. A makeup brand could craft a Sponsored Lens that augments a person’s face with a new type of mascara and then link to its e-commerce site, or it could attach the a Context Card to a Sponsored Geofilter that links to a coupon to use in a nearby store.

About The Author

Tim Peterson, Third Door Media’s Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles.

He has broken stories on Snapchat’s ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar’s attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon’s ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube’s programming strategy, Facebook’s ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking’s rise; and documented digital video’s biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed’s branded video production process and Snapchat Discover’s ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands’ early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo’s and Google’s search designs and examine the NFL’s YouTube and Facebook video strategies.

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