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Report: Snapchat Is Building Its Own Ad Platform

Snapchat is launching an API that will let advertisers buy more and better mobile ads, Digiday reports.

[Photo: Flickr user Thomas8047]

Snapchat is working on an application-programmer interface that would let brands buy more targeted and sophisticated ads on the popular mobile messaging platform, according to a Digiday report.

The new advertising platform would likely let advertisers target particular groups of consumers, automate ad buys, and measure how users interact with their ads. It could also allow for more advanced types of ads, like those that direct users to install apps, or buy particular online products, according to the report.

Snapchat declined to comment on the report.

The platform would likely be similar to existing APIs deployed by other social networking services such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. It would also be a potentially significant change for Snapchat, which in the past has relied on old-fashioned direct ad buys, working directly with brands interested in reaching its young, tech-savvy audience.

Snapchat also traditionally hasn't offered advertisers the same degree of precise ad success metrics that other apps and websites have provided—something that advertisers have been willing to accept as they experiment with ways to reach the messaging platform's coveted base of young users. Last year, though, Snapchat found that 60% to 70% of its users stopped watching ads on the app just three seconds in.

The new API would also make it possible for ad tech firms to work with Snapchat's platform to build more advanced ads for their advertiser clients, letting Snapchat take less of a hands-on role in the development of individual marketing posts.

According to the Digiday report, Snapchat is talking to a number of such companies with the hopes of developing a trial platform that could be ready as soon as this spring.