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Snapchat is bringing ads to Spotlight and ‘My AI’

The company is testing sponsored links in chats with its generative AI chatbot.

Snapchat is introducing ads to its Spotlight feed.
Snap
Karissa Bell
Karissa Bell|@karissabe|May 2, 2023 1:00 PM

Snap is bringing ads to two if its most buzzy features: its TikTok clone, Spotlight, and its OpenAI-powered chatbot “My AI.” The company announced the new ad formats during its presentation at the NewFronts advertising event.

Snap began testing ads in Spotlight last year, but will now begin to roll them out globally. The addition could be a significant boost to Snap’s advertising business, which has taken a hit in recent months. Spotlight, which rewards creators for popular short-form videos, has more than 350 million monthly users according to the company.

The addition of ads could also open up some interesting possibilities for creators on Spotlight – mainly, the potential for revenue sharing arrangements. Though Snap hasn’t disclosed any such plans for now, the company did recently expand other ad revenue sharing programs, so it’s not hard to imagine the company might one day consider such a move in Spotlight as well.

Separately, Snap is also bringing ads to My AI, the chatbot it recently rolled out to all users. There, My AI will be able to surface sponsored links directly in chats with users. The company says the sponsored links are meant to be relevant to the conversation. For example, the chatbot, which can already provide recommendations for local restaurants based on the app’s Snap Map, may surface a sponsored post from a local restaurant or food delivery service in response to a question about where to eat dinner. Likewise, a conversation about travel or video games could bring up sponsored links from an airline or game retailer.

The company describes the My AI ads as an early experiment, but the fact Snap is choosing to bring ads to the chatbot so soon after its launch is notable. The company says it’s seen high engagement with the feature, which unlike friend-to-friend chats doesn’t keep conversations private. But the company’s recent decision to put the bot at the top of everyone’s chats has also been controversial, so introducing ads at this stage could also potentially turn off some users. Regardless, the experiment will be an interesting test for how social media companies can potentially monetize generative AI features.

Snapchat is bringing ads to Spotlight and ‘My AI’