Snapchat will start placing ads on its popular picture-messaging app “soon,” co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel said Wednesday. The ads will not be targeted, and users can opt in or out by scrolling past them.
“People are going to see the first ads on Snapchat soon," Spiegel said Wednesday at an event in San Francisco, according to the Wall Street Journal. "We think they're pretty cool.”
Snapchat users will be able to look at the new ads, or skip by them, as Spiegel said they would not interrupt the app’s most popular feature, an exchange of disappearing picture messages or “snaps,” but would instead appear as a part of Our Story. The series of user-submitted messages offer a look at events like college football or Oktoberfest, and the CEO said more people watched college football through his app than through TV.
“We’re cutting through a lot of the new technology stuff around ads to sort of the core of it, which I think has always been telling a story that leaves people with a new feeling,” Spiegel said, according to the report. “They’re not fancy. You just look at it if you want to look at it, and you don’t if you don’t.”
Snapchat’s 24-year-old CEO said Snapchat collects less user information than Facebook Inc. or Google Inc. does, and therefore would not use targeted ads. The start-up launched in 2011, and now has 100 million monthly users, according to Dow Jones.
Valued at $10 billion, the Venice Beach, California, startup is under pressure from investors to open some new revenue streams. Yahoo Inc. has pledged to invest, along with venture capital firms like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Spiegel spoke Wednesday at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit, also discussing the company's upcoming new service for disappearing news articles and ads called Snapchat Discovery, to launch later this year. Grubhub, Taco Bell and other brands already use Snapchat to host promotions for the app’s young-skewing user base.