Snap Launches First Commercial Option on Snapchat Shows

Snapchat is adding a new option for advertisers called “First Commercial.”

This offering lets advertisers specify being the first ad a user sees that day in their first Snap show session. It will only be available in the US initially.

First Commercial Functionality

First Commercial slates an ad to show regardless of what the user chooses to watch, making it more of a “mass audience reach” play.

For example, one user might pick a drama show, and another might pick the news – but if they’re in the audience for “First Commercial,” they will both see that advertiser first.

First Commercial Specs and Shelf Life

First Commercials render as non-skippable ads that can be shown on Snap shows. They last for 6 seconds, and the buy for them is a 24-hour shelf life.

They will be available platform-wide, showing on shows that are both Snap Originals and those that are owned by larger news entities.

The First Commercial option is currently only available through direct sales, but will expand in the future as programmatic offering. They offered no indication of price ranges for the placement option.

“There’s just a good amount of marketplace demand for a premium takeover, giving brands an opportunity to reach the audience that we deliver on a daily basis.” – David Roter, VP of Global Agency Partnerships

Snap’s Hiring Signals Continued Future Video Focus

Those who have followed Snap’s recent moves are expecting this to be one of many forthcoming options for new ad units. There are two main pieces of Snap’s current position driving this assumption.

The first is their recent hire of Peter Naylor as their Vice President of the Americas. His primary focus is growing its ad business in the region.

His background?

SVP and Head of Advertising Sales at Hulu, which means he is steeped in understanding video consumption and selling practices.

He is joining right as Snap reports a a doubling of watch time on Snapchat shows between Q1 2019 and Q1 2020. There are currently 60 Snapchat shows with 10 million monthly viewers.

Snap’s Q1 & COVID-19 Strength

Last week, Snap announced its first quarter ever of positive cash flow with revenue up 44% over last year.

They also saw notable growth in daily active users, with an increase of 20% in that same time period.

This position has continued into this quarter, with homebound users finding their way to the platform more often as COVID-19 continues on.

Engagement has hit all time highs, with more than 50% growth versus where it was trending in February.

Snap Select’s Growth

Snapchat has claimed it owes much of its recent success to innovating its video offerings.

One such example was its release last year of Snap Select, which allows brands to buy 6-second non-skip ads in a bundle that play on Snap’s premium shows.


The program will be expanding into more bundled program options. Unlike the new First Commercial functionality, Snap Select is already available in its self-serve ad options.

In November, it also launched longer commercial options to compete with YouTube’s TrueView offering. The 3 minute ads can be skipped after 6 seconds.

Image credit: Snapchat