Snapchat, the popular visual messaging platform, is notorious for not making money. That could change soon thanks to a former Credit Suisse banker.
Imran Khan, who worked on Alibaba’s IPO while an investment banker at Credit Suisse, was hired as Snapchat’s chief strategy officer in 2014, and had only loose instructions for growth, according to Adweek.
The messaging company recently announced that it will be opening the floodgates for advertisers who want to capture the attention of Snapchat’s young users by creating an application programming interface (API) for outside advertisers. The API allows ads on Snapchat to be sold automatically by software.
This is incredibly valuable for advertisers, as 41% of all 18 to 34 year olds in the US are reached by Snapchat each day, according to Nielson data reported by the messaging company. Snapchat offers sponsored filters and vertical video ads on its platform now. The new API will serve video ads between users’ stories.
“Different marketers have different objectives, and we just want to make it easier for them to buy ads on the platform,” Khan told Adweek.
“We want [brands] to have a place where they can tell their stories, you know, in a better way.”
Khan says the millennial audience Snapchat targets so well isn’t the only group of people advertisers could hit. People of all ages use the platform because they love seeing their friends’ stories, he said in the interview.
Facebook, who has been pushing video content recently, has had trouble monetizing that content. Their live streaming platform, Facebook Live, is currently paying publishers to create content for the platform, but has not yet found a way to make money from those videos.
Khan thanked the other platforms for paving the way for Snapchat’s new advertising API, as they made advertisers understand the importance of digital platforms.
This announcement comes just days after the platform announced a redesign of its app. If Snapchat’s efforts pay off, it may have finally found a way to make money from its extremely popular platform, which was last valued at $10 billion, according to CrunchBase.