Snapchat’s User Growth Slows; GIF Providers Struggle To Translate Usage Into Revenue

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Shadow Of Facebook

Snapchat’s user growth was up just 3% last quarter, compared with 14% the quarter prior. If Snap can’t engage users through hardware (i.e., its Spectacles product), it had better come up with a software product Facebook can’t steal, according to Nabil Elsheshai, senior equity analyst at Thrivent Financial. Elsheshai tells Reuters. “If you’re going to make the bet longer-term on Snap, you are betting they are going to come up with innovative products that Facebook can’t copy.” More. In other Snap news, Sriram Krishnan, a top ad exec poached from Facebook, is leaving the company for personal reasons right before its big IPO. More at Adweek.

Unwrapping GIFs

GIFs are crucial to mobile messaging, but the leading GIF providers still don’t know how to turn popularity into revenue. Tenor has deals with Kik, iMessage and Facebook’s Messenger to incorporate its GIF search engine into keyboards, and the number of daily searches for its GIFs jumped from 50 million to 200 million since the beginning of last year. Giphy, a GIF database recently valued at $600 million, had zero revenue as recently as October. “This is a brand-new format that has to be invented,” said Tenor CEO David McIntosh. “There’s no ad inventory today around marketers that want to purchase against emotion, and have assets that they want to buy against.” More at Recode.

Bad Influence

YouTube star PewDiePie’s recent anti-Semitic snafu has advertisers and media companies rethinking the way they vet influencers. Companies from Disney to Nissan backed out of contracts with the YouTube star after he produced racially charged videos. Marketers like working with influencers because they’re cheaper than celebrities and have a built-in following, but according to Kristy Sammis, chief innovation officer at influencer agency Clever, “They’re not coming to the table thinking about how a brand is going to react to their behavior,” she said. “They care more about being themselves than what a brand thinks of them.” NYT has more.

New Moves

Turner Sports is testing a new, three-minute commercial pod format with its NBA broadcasts, which will feature more game analysis and commentary from former players, but in a branded environment. Turner has assembled commercial packages specifically for its E-league video game broadcast, reports Anthony Crupi at Ad Age, though Turner is a part-owner of that league. The change comes after Turner pledged to reduce the commercial load on its programming. However the company remains committed to audience-based selling [AdExchanger coverage].

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