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Snapchat Debuts In-App Adverts

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Horror film Ouija becomes first ever advert on messaging service

Instant messaging app Snapchat has announced its first-ever advert as the company looks to benefit from the huge popularity of its services.

The firm presented a 20-second advert for horror film Ouija to customer in the United States, marking the first time commercial content had been seen on the app. The trailer will appear in the “Recent Updates” section of a user’s app.

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“It’s the first time we’ve done anything like this because it’s the first time we’ve been paid to put content in that space,” the company wrote in a blog post. “It’s going to feel a little weird at first, but we’re taking the plunge.”

The launch of adverts on Snapchat had long been resisted over concerns about what data the company was keeping on its customers. These concerns have become exacerbated following the well-publicised celebrity iCloud image hacks, and reached a worrying new point last week when 13GB of images purported to have come from Snapchat appeared online for purchase.

The company says it has no plans to secretly collect information on its users, as they want to only display content that it interesting to its customers.

“Some companies spend a lot of time and collect a lot of data about you to figure that out,” the blog added.

“We won’t put advertisements in your personal communication – things like Snaps or Chats. That would be totally rude. We want to see if we can deliver an experience that’s fun and informative, the way ads used to be, before they got creepy and targeted. It’s nice when all of the brilliant creative minds out there get our attention with terrific content.”

Regarding motivations for the news, Snapchat says the reasons behind introducing ads are purely commercial, stating that, “The answer is probably unsurprising – we need to make money.”

“Advertising allows us to support our service while delivering neat content to Snapchatters. We promise that we’ll use the money we make to continue to surprise the Snapchat community with more terrific products – that’s what we love to do!”

Snapchat has enjoyed a phenomenal growth since its launch three years ago, and famously turned down a $3bn acquisition offer from Facebook last November. The company records little revenues, but has benefitted from a being part of a series in major investments in messaging and social media services.

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