Snapchat got its start as a mobile app for sending photo messages that disappeared after 24 hours, and has since evolved to become a news and entertainment hub that’s popular with young adults and teens. Parent company Snap is building out its video programming to give people more reasons to linger in the app, and for advertisers that seek to reach audiences who are less likely to watch traditional television.

“Marketers continue to love video, and they’ve come to the conclusion that broadcast and cable television doesn’t have a monopoly on video, of course,” Peter Naylor, vice president of sales for the Americas region at Snap, said in this interview with Beet.TV. “We’ve got a huge audience consuming video on Snap against this really brand-safe, wonderful content.”

The app is especially popular with millennials and Generation Z consumers whose spending power is growing, despite the short-term setback from the pandemic. Snapchat reaches more than 100 million people in the U.S., including 75% of consumers ages 13 to 34 and 90% of people ages 13 to 24. As a messaging platform, the app urges people to check in frequently — an average of 30 times a day — to stay in touch with friends and family.

Augmented Reality Innovation

Snapchat has been at the forefront of creating engaging experiences for users, including the rollout of its “stories” format that lets users share a single vanishing message among multiple users at once. The feature has since been copied by other social media rivals seeking to capture the attention of mobile users.

Snapchat also has a growing library of augmented reality (AR) content that includes “lenses” that people use to customize their messages. The lenses overlay 3D digital images on selfies and pictures taken with the app’s central camera feature, and can be sponsored by marketers that seek to inspire viral reach as Snapchat users share AR content in messages and stories.

“AR is a real great use of creative energy because it amplifies your message,” Naylor said. “It lets people get engaged with creative.”

About 70% of Snapchat’s users play with AR content every day, or about 180 million people worldwide, according to the company’s website. Adidas, Gucci, Honda, PetSmart and Sally Beauty are among the brands that have sponsored AR content in Snapchat to engage people with a branded experience.

Brand-Safe Programming

In addition to Snapchat’s messaging features, the app has a section called “Discover” that hosts original programming from established film and TV producers, along with videos from celebrity influencers. Snap has invested in video programming distributed under its “Snap Originals” brand for the past couple of years, seeing an early hit with its “The Dead Girls Detective Agency.”

Because Discover doesn’t have user-generated content that needs to be filtered and moderated to avoid offending people, the platform can be considered safe for brands. Brands can participate in Snap Originals programming through full-screen, non-skippable ads that are geared for viewing on mobile devices, a primary way for younger audiences to consume video.

“These people really aren’t reachable through traditional media,” Naylor said. “Platforms like ours are only going to continue to invest in original content in a way that’s compelling to new audiences.”

The company is adding shows to its roster, including “The Solution Committee,” an interview show starring Jaden Smith, “Honestly Loren” with social media personality Loren Gray, “Life’s a Tripp” starring hip-hop artist Trippie Red and docuseries “Swae Meets World” featuring rapper Swae Lee.

Industry Verticals

Snap has organized its sales team to handle industry verticals as part of the effort to reach more advertisers in a language they can understand, whether they’re selling financial services or consumer packaged goods.

“The modern seller is bilingual, if you will,” Naylor said. “They’re equally steeped in the language of auction and attribution, as well as branding and brand activations.”