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Snapchatters, how do you like the sound of unskippable video ads?

Snapchatters can now experience the joy of unskippable video ads

Hey, Snapchatters, how do you like the idea of six-second ads that you can’t skip through?

Snap, the company behind Snapchat, is looking for ways to finally turn a profit, and so on Monday, May 15 it started running unskippable ads in a selection of Snapchat Shows. The first ones are promoting movies such as Deadpool and Adrift, according to AdAge, and also touted a range of physical products, among them Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 handset and Snapple drinks.

Snap apparently considers six seconds as a sweet spot for both users and advertisers, giving the latter enough time to get their message across before the average user becomes disengaged. And the longer the ad runs, the more Snap can charge.

To most folks, six seconds is likely to feel like nothing at all and pass by in a few blinks of an eye. In fact, if brands can come up with some truly clever concepts to catch the attention of viewers, it could be a winning formula for all. Perhaps the top creators from the now-defunct Vine platform can offer their services. After all, the very best ones became highly skillful at producing engaging six-second clips.

Digiday recently noted that up to now, Snapchatters have been reluctant to view ads on the platform, with a 2017 study indicating that nearly 70 percent of U.S.-based users “always” or “often” skip such content on the app. The figure is even higher — 80 percent — when you drill down to one of its key demographic groups, namely 18- to 24-year-olds.

With Snap currently struggling with user growth, the company will be watching carefully to see how its community responds to unskippable ads. Following the outcry over more substantial changes to the platform in recent months, it really can’t afford another rebellion among its user base.

Snapchat’s redesign kicked up a storm when it launched in earnest earlier this year, with more than a million people signing an online petition calling for the changes to be reversed.

The level of upset likely took Snap by surprise, as evidenced by news this week that the company is testing ways to reintroduce small parts of the old design.

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Trevor Mogg
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