Snapchat said to be talking to advertisers as it searches for revenue

The messaging app could soon offer a service for paid videos, news articles, and other items, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Snapchat-Logo.jpg
Snapchat's logo is a ghost, like its ephemeral messages.

Snapchat made its name by offering a service for messages that disappear after they're read. Now it wants to help advertisers leave a lasting impression.

The startup, which famously turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook last year, has been discussing a new service called "Snapchat Discovery," according to a report by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. The service would allow media companies and other advertisers a way to display ads to Snapchat's users, the report says, citing unnamed sources. The service is said to launch in November, according to the report.

So far, Snapchat has talked with at least a dozen media companies, the WSJ said.

A Snapchat spokeswoman declined to comment.

However this effort plays out, it is a signal that Snapchat is arriving at a new stage of growth: Revenue. Snapchat rose to stardom by offering what's called "ephemeral messages," or missives that disappear shortly after they're viewed. But so far it hasn't shown how it will turn that popularity into a sustainable business.

Of course, many other Internet companies have faced this moment in the past. Twitter turned to "Promoted Tweets," Facebook has ads on desktop and mobile, Pinterest has "Promoted Pins."

According to a slide presentation the WSJ said was shown at some meetings, more than half of the app's users are between the ages of 13 and 17. ComScore, an industry researcher, said earlier this month that Snapchat was the third-most popular social media app among people between the ages of 18 and 34. The first- and second-most popular apps? Facebook and Instagram.

These messages became so popular that Facebook created two apps, Poke and Slingshot, in an effort to compete, as have others.

Some advertisers have already begun using Snapchat, though a service called "Snapchat Stories," which connects multiple messages together and can be broadcast to large groups of users. But, like brand pages on Facebook, Snapchat's advertising service will likely help advertisers reach users that aren't actively seeking them out.

About the author

Ian Sherr is an executive editor for the west coast at CNET News. He writes about social networking and manages coverage of video games, Internet giants, cybersecurity, the sharing economy, e-commerce and wearable tech. Previously, he wrote about Apple, the PC industry and video games at The Wall Street Journal. He's also written for Reuters and the Agence France-Presse, among others. He's a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, though he knows what real weather feels like too.

 

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