Why advertisers are excited about Snaps new gaming platform

Snap made a slew of announcements, including a new ad-supported gaming platform, at its first partner summit Thursday as it casts a wider net for ad revenue. Although the announcements also included a new ad network, advertisers say the real compelling opportunity is in gaming.

Snap has proven popular with its young audience. Onstage Thursday, CEO Evan Spiegel claimed the company reaches 90 percent of 13-to-24-year-olds in the U.S. But what has been less clear is how Snaps revenue will grow as its audience growth has sputtered.

One way is trying to get its users to use the app even more, which gaming should help with if executed right. The mobile games market was expected to hit $63.2 billion in 2018, according to research from gaming, esports and mobile market analytics firm Newzoo. Snaps market cap had risen by about $600 million Friday to about $15.5 billion.

Advertisers will have the ability to buy non-skippable, six-second video ads on games like Bitmoji Party, an original game that lets users compete as their Bitmoji avatars. The company will soon also roll out third-party games.

Although advertisers were still curious on some aspect of the game integrations, they were eager about the gaming platforms ability to raise engagement in an area of Snapchat thats actually ad-friendly. It also seems to offer brand-safe opportunities, advertisers said.

For Noah Mallin, head of content and experience at media agency Wavemaker, the gaming component is compelling since he said Snap needs to find engaging places for its user base outside of messaging, which is popular but also really isnt an advertising-friendly space, he says.

Whats yet to be seen is how the ad experience will be designed. Mallin said Snap should make sure the ads arent too interruptive. He added the gaming space has tried out constructs like being able to watch one full video ad in exchange for an extra life or the ability to play ad-free for the next several rounds.

Details arent clear yet on brand safety measures in the gaming platform, but advertisers said it seems likely to have friendly spaces for brands.

The tone of it appeared to be very brand-friendly and very brand-safe, said Meghan Myszkowski, VP of Social Activation in North America for media agency Essence. But she noted her agency still needed more details. Well investigate that before we recommend it, she said.

The new announcements in gaming as well as augmented reality — like a partnership with Photomath that will allow users to point the Snapchat camera at a math equation to see the solution appear within the camera — indicate a focus on keeping people on the app longer, said Ilan Ness, chief strategist at digital ad agency Taktical.