With Snap Accelerate, Snapchat seeks mobile startups that built Facebook’s ad biz

A newly public company with mounting concerns over the viability of its advertising business, Snapchat in 2017 resembles Facebook in 2012. Now, to address the issue, Snapchat is taking a page from Facebookas playbook.

Snapchat has rolled out a program to win over the same type of marketer that Facebook relied on to build up its mobile ad business: mobile app developers looking to acquire new users.

Called Snap Accelerate, the program will help mobile startups to advertise on Snapchat by offering them benefits including early access to new ad products as well as credits that can be used to buy ads. A Snapchat spokesperson said the company will not hold participating startups to its usual spending requirements, such as a commitment to expend a certain quantity on Snapchat ads over a certain period of time.

Snap Accelerate is the latest example this year of Snapchat trying to lower the barrier to entry for advertisers and attain must-buy status. After rolling out an advertising API to enable brands to automate their Snap Ad buys through third-party ad-buying tools, the company introduced a self-serve tool for businesses to buy Snap Ads on their own and a self-serve tool for businesses to create the vertical video ads.

By catering to startups, Snapchat is effectively making a bet that its ads can help these companies grow their user bases and, therefore, their businesses. If successful, those companies will not only have more money to spend on advertising but will be more likely to spend that money on Snapchatas ads. Additionally, case analyses of their successes may result other companies to advertise on Snapchat. After all, it worked for Facebook.

According to a page on Snapchatas developer site, the program is aimed at commerce, amusement and gaming startups that operate consumer-facing mobile apps and are interested in direct-response advertising. In other words, it is meant to attract the same types of companies that had flocked to Facebookas mobile app-install ads in 2012 and 2013 to assist that social network not only overcome very concerned about its ad business but also subdue the mobile ad market.

All marketers who apply and are accepted into the Snap Accelerate program will be credited with money they can use to pay for ad creation and to buy ads on Snapchat. They will also receive early access to new ad products and tools, as well as Snapas Marketing API. They will also be able to run a free branded filter around their companyas headquarters for a certain period of time. However, these benefits differ based on which of the programas three tiers a company qualifies for.

The three tiers appear to correspond with a participating companyas size and stage of growth, varying from fledgling apps to startups that have hit a certain level of sustainability. Here is a breakdown of how the three tiers differ.

Kickstart

Company is given up to $20,000 worth of benefits, including credit to use for buying ads and paying for ad creation. Free branded filter is available for three months. Company is given up to $ 50,000 worth of benefits, including credit to use for buying ads and paying for ad creation. Free branded filter is available for six months. Company is invited to Snap-hosted education events. Company is given priority for business and technical support from Snap.

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