Snapchat stretches itself

A standard bearer for short attention span social media, Snapchat is introducing functionality to allow advertisers to communicate at greater length with audiences.

Along with Vine, Snapchat has established itself as a video and image social platform for a demographic happy to express itself (or be addressed) in ten seconds or less. Twitter users, of course, long found ways to break the 140 character barrier, by pasting images of texts, by using services like Twitlonger, or of course simply by linking to off-site content. In January, rumors circulated that a much higher native Twitter character count was being considered. Some saw this as an opportunity for marketers to make better use of Twitter.

This week comes news that Snapchat is letting its long-form hair down by allowing marketers to append advertorial content to its standard format video ads. Snapchat had already begun allowing some brands to run video ads exceeding the original 10 second time limit. The new move will allow brands to attach a range of content–text, images, and gifs–to their ad clips. In an example from an AT&T campaign cited by Marketing Land, “people can swipe up from the video to see a listicle of GIFs to promote the ability for people to stream NCAA tournament games on their smartphones.”

Although this is clearly a way to give users longer exposure to brand content, without further elongating video clips, it remains to be seen whether Snapchat users–some of whom, after all, are using the service in preference to more text-centric social platforms like Facebook and even Twitter–want to be engaged by article-type content in what is primarily a visual channel.

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