Snap opens up marketing API to appeal to broader set of advertisers

Snapchat is opening up its marketing API to all brands, agencies and tech platforms – meaning any company big or small will be able to use Snap's tech to either automate their ad efforts or build and sell tools for brand use.

Advertisers themselves have been able to access the app's self-serve buying tools since last year. However, the latest announcement from Snapchat means that privileges previously only reserved for a handful of tech partners – like the ability for brands to integrate external data sets to better target audiences or the chance for retailers to automatically optimise or suppress ads for products based on current stock – will be democratised.

The move from Snap follows a strong revenue performance and user increases in its recent Q4 results filing, both of which its leadership put down to its adtech investments and increased traction with both large and small advertisers.

Snap boss Evan Spiegel said in its first annual earnings call this week that over 90% of ad on Snap were bought programmatically during Q4, with Snap's director of revenue programs James Borow today saying it had been "listening closely" to third-party developers.

He said that the marketing API will "give every developer tools to build the Snapchat ad solutions that perform best for them and their customers," hinting that Snap hopes the rollout will go some way in attracting new advertisers to the platform amid growing competition from Instagram and others.

The move from Snap comes just one day after it was reported that the Venice Beach-based firm's head of sales, Jeff Lucas (who was tasked with leading its ad sales arm during the rollout of its programmatic ad system) has departed. Snap hasn't commented publicly on any plans to replace him.

Snaphat, which now has over 187 million users worldwide, has had a rollercoaster of a year. It's been almost 12 months since its parent firm's IPO and since then it's experienced intense rivalry from Instagram, staff cuts, shiny new AR products for brands and a controversial new redesign.