Snapchat is rolling out a new ad format just in time for the holiday season: Promoted Stories, which will let advertisers pay to push their story to more users.
A Story, for those who may have forgotten, is a collection of photos and videos stitched together into one extended thread with each part of the story disappearing 24 hours after it was shared. It's one of Snap's most popular products, and the same product that Instagram successfully copied a little over a year ago.
Anyone on Snapchat can create a Story, including brands or businesses, but they are only visible to the account's followers. Promoted Stories, though, are country-wide, which means a brand could push their ad to all Snapchat users in the U.S., for example.
The new ads will appear on the Stories page inside the Snapchat app.
The new ad comes at an important time for Snap. The company has been public for just nine months and has already missed on its first three earnings reports. The company's business isn't growing as quickly as people expected; a new type of ad could help generate more interest and revenue from advertisers.
Then again, Snapchat has said its early business woes aren't because it doesn't have enough ads to sell - the company has instead pointed to a lack of buyers. Still, Snap's business is very young, and it's hard to imagine new new ad formats will hurt.
These ads are new, but similar to an ad type Snap tested back in 2015. That fall, it sold a promoted Discover channel to Sony Pictures, which pushed its upcoming James Bond movie. Snap didn't ultimately expand that test, and advertisers have since been able to buy 10-second video ads that run at the end of Stories, but have never been able to buy a promoted Story.
HBO is the fist advertiser to test the new format in the United States, and will run a promoted story on Black Friday; online retailer ASOS also bought a promoted story in the U.K. and France.
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