Snapchat's first sponsored message arrived today, and it was a video ad from Universal Pictures previewing its movie Ouija. The ad was sent to users' "Recent Updates" feed where messages from friends typically appear.
Snapchat said Friday that ads would be coming, and was frank about why: "We need to make money," the company said.
It was unclear how many of the apps' estimated 100 million users received the sponsored snap from Universal. Users had the choice to click on the ad or not, "No biggie," as the company said in its recent blog post.
It was a 20-second video trailer for Ouija that played when users pressed their screens as if they were viewing any other message. But this one was clearly marked sponsored. The ad was available to play more than once until a user left the app, and then the sponsored message disappeared from the feed.
It's no surprise the first such paid promotion on the platform would come from an entertainment company marketing a movie. Facebook launched autoplay video ads earlier this year with a promotion from the movie Divergent, out of Lions Gate Entertainment.
Movies appear to be a relatively safe choice when testing new ads on a platform, which sometimes face user resistance. Not all brands, especially consumer product ones, are willing to risk being the first to try their hands at marketing on a previously ad-free social app.