Snapchat continues to be one of the fastest growing social platforms, particularly among the often coveted Millennial audience. Earlier this year it introduced Discover – content from publishers and brands – and is experimenting with ad formats. But unlike more established social platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter, it so far has not offered tailoring based on the audience. This has changed, with Bud Light launching the first ads targeted only at those of legal drinking age in the US.

Snapchat is a key social platform, with Chief Executive Evan Spiegel recently confirming the app has 100 million monthly active users. In the UK, Vodafone also stated that it accounts for 75% of its customers upload bandwidth. Snapchat is certainly a hot property and one that continues to grow.

But Snapchat also comes with problems for brands. It’s core audience is aged 13-34 – too wide and diverse a range for many brands. And it doesn’t collect significant profiling data (like Facebook) or capture it by mining text updates (like Twitter). For ad formats to be successful on social platforms they need to be relevant and tailored to the audience – so that it doesn’t feel out of place in an environment where they are mostly consuming content from people they follow or know. Snapchat will need to get this right if it is to make advertising a success on the platform.

The first attempt to do this launched last weekend, with Bud Light using age-gating to show its adverts only to an audience of legal drinking age. The Brand sponsored Stories content from the Whatever USA festival. Bud Light ran interstitial ads between content, and these ads were only shown to people aged over 21 (according to the date of birth they gave Snapchat when they signed up).

Social networks offer an interesting (but challenging) opportunity for alcohol brands – they are able to better target the exact audience that is right for their brand and can place the right content at the right time. However, it is important that they act responsibly and are not seen to be encouraging irresponsible drinking or to target those under legal drinking age. As Snapchat explores how it can offer tailoring and targeting to its ad formats, the ability to age-gate adverts means that it can begin to offer alcohol brands with access to a potentially lucrative target audience.

Matt Rhodes

About Matt Rhodes

Head of Digital Strategy for work. Marathon runner and charity trustee for fun.

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