Snaplytics Debuts Snapchat Measurement Tool With API Workaround

snaplyticsimgSnaplytics, a third-party Snapchat measurement vendor, came out of beta Wednesday after spending more than a year developing the hardware and software needed to pull marketing insights from Snapchat accounts.

“It’s not similar to fairly straightforward API analytics like with Twitter and Facebook,” Snaplytics co-founder and CEO Thomas Cilius told AdExchanger. “You need some custom elements to sniff out the data.”

Snapchat has 11 measurement partners, including Nielsen, Moat, Millward Brown and Oracle Data Cloud. It also has partner programs for creative content agencies and the nine ad tech companies certified to serve ads to the messenger app.

But those partner programs are built for blue-chip brands that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to sponsor a Snapchat story and require agency production specifically for the platform. Snaplytics aims to serve the everyday needs of brands that may have moderate Snapchat followings but are still wandering the desert.

Ben & Jerry’s is one such Snaplytics client. The ice cream manufacturer launched its Snapchat account in conjunction with a new round of flavors last year, but it’s yet to allocate ad budget to the app.

“We see other brands putting money into high-production videos for Snapchat and hiring actors and influencers,” said Sarah Badger, a marketing and communications manager for Ben & Jerry’s. “In the future we’d like to do that, but we’re still in the phase of understanding how to make it work.”

Before bringing on Snaplytics, the social team was essentially flying blind on Snapchat, unaware of how many followers the account had, when followers were lost or gained or what content drove engagement, Badger said.

“It was kind of ridiculous at first actually,” Badger said. “I was just taking screenshots of our stories before they disappeared [which happens after 24 hours], and hoping it was as close to the 24-hour mark as possible so we didn’t miss stats, and then dumping those numbers – and there weren’t many – into a spreadsheet.”

Snaplytics automates the manual work of fetching Snapchat data and feeding it back into a brand dashboard. It’s non-API based, but as long as the brand’s posts are active within the 24-hour threshold, stats like views, completion rate and open rate are available to the account.

It’s a laborious end run around Snapchat’s deliberately opaque API, but for many brands – other Snaplytics subscribers include Marriott, Vodafone and the city of Las Vegas – demonstrating the basics is a necessary first step to media investments.

Still, Snaplytics and other Snapchat-specific vendors are not a welcome piece of the Snapchat ecosystem, as opposed to platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which support a more robust market of third-party developers and “social listeners.”

Using a third-party tool to manage or access accounts (read: Snaplytics) actually violates Snapchat’s terms and conditions, on the grounds that third-party access is a security concern. Snapchat declined a request to comment.

The messenger app has assembled a tech stack for enterprise-class marketing, but not really for day-to-day brand activity, which falls under the category of “organic account activity” like any individual user.

For example, official accounts – the Snapchat equivalent of a blue checkmark on Facebook or Twitter – get a boost to their discoverability. But for Ben & Jerry’s, there’s still essentially no way – or no free way – to get found and followed on the platform.

Building a Snapchat audience means getting people to click into the account via platforms like Twitter and Facebook, where the brand can display its QR-code style logo, or out-of-home placements featuring the account.

“There are tools and analytics Snapchat can enable for marketers, like what we do,” Snaplytics’ Cilius said. “But I think they’re worried that brands would saturate the platform with non-Snapchat-like content and it wouldn’t be as fun to those 17- to 20-year-olds.”

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