Snapchat Is Slowly but Surely Letting More Brands Run Long Video Ads

Universal, Paramount promote full-length trailers

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Brands are going long on Snapchat—at least with video. After beginning to test the first "swipe to view" video ad with Activision's Call of Duty in November, a series of brands are now experimenting with ads that promote clips longer than 10 seconds.

On Wednesday, three entertainment brands—Fox, Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures—ran video ads that encouraged users to "swipe up" to watch longer videos. The promos ran in The Daily Mail, National Geographic and Cosmopolitan's channels within Discover, the section of the app that publishers use to crank out daily content. Snapchat and publishers share the revenue from Discover ads.

Unlike the typical Snapchat ads that are capped at 10 seconds, the studios' promotions prompted people to view longer clips. Universal Pictures promoted the movie Neighbors 2 with a full-length trailer that is two-and-a-half minutes long.

Fox's ad plugged a minute-long teaser for Grease Live, the network's reboot of the 1971 musical that airs on Jan. 31.

And Paramount's promo served up a 90-second trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane, a sci-fi mystery movie that comes out on March 11.

A Snapchat rep said the longer ad format is still in a testing period, and it isn't surprising that entertainment marketers are some of the initial brands to experiment with the videos. Universal Pictures was the first brand to advertise on Snapchat in 2014. And Twentieth Century Fox bought the first Sponsored Selfie this fall, while Sony Pictures bought a Snapchat Discovery channel in October.

Snapchat's newest offering is the latest example of how the app is courting big advertisers to compete with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The ephemeral app reportedly has 7 billion video views per day, not far off from Facebook's 8 billion.

The Venice, Calif.-based app is also reportedly building an API into its platform that will let brands measure and target their ads.

Snapchat's moves will no doubt be interesting to watch in the coming months, particularly on Super Bowl Sunday when the NFL creates a live feed of the game that will include interstitial ads from sponsors Budweiser and Pepsi.

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.