- Beer, wine and spirits brands are returning to advertising on Snapchat after pulling back from the image-messaging app because of concerns about its underage audience. Heineken, Mast-Jägermeister and Campari are placing ads on Snapchat amid better guarantees that minors won’t see their campaigns, Digiday reported.
- Snapchat has developed ways to detect whether its users are lying about their age when they register to use its app. A user who self-declares an age of 25 but is mostly friends with 13-year-olds, for example, won’t be targeted with alcohol ads, Frank Amorese, media director at Heineken, told Digiday.
- Snapchat, which has used Nielsen data to verify 180 campaigns in the past three months, found it reached the correct demographic with 94% average accuracy, a spokesperson told Digiday. About 54 million of Snapchat’s 87 million U.S. users are over 21, according to Snapchat Ads Manager data.
The return of major alcohol marketers like Heineken, Campari and Mast-Jägermeister to Snapchat, which has 186 million users worldwide, is a significant indication that the image-messaging app has taken steps to ensure that its audience data is more accurate. Alcohol brands have faced criticism for ads that glamorize drinking to minors, and Snapchat certainly wants to avoid bad publicity and calls to boycott its app for hawking booze to teens.
Alcoholic beverage producer and distributor Diageo this year suspended all Snapchat advertising after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the U.K.’s advertising watchdog, said the company failed to ensure that one of its Captain Morgan rum campaigns wasn’t seen by individuals under 18, the U.K.’s legal drinking age, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. That suspension had a chilling effect on liquor advertising on Snapchat.
Snapchat competitors Facebook and YouTube also have been very proactive about their ad targeting to avoid showing alcohol ads to minors, advertisers told Digiday. A YouTube account that is used to watch sports highlights for half the time and kids programming for the other half likely indicates that two different people are using the same account. In that case, YouTube will avoid placing alcohol ads in video streams to that account, Digiday reported. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube and 11 alcohol companies in September signed a pledge to improve age targeting while also respecting different cultural norms, per Campaign.
While alcohol advertising will potentially target a large number of Snapchat’s users, the app’s key advantage has been its popularity among U.S. teens, although Instagram is proving to be a formidable competitor. Eighty-five percent of teens report using Instagram at least once a month, neck and neck with Snapchat’s 84%, per Piper Jaffray’s recent “Taking Stock With Teens” survey. While Instagram is the most-used platform, 46% of teens name Snapchat as their favorite, compared to 32% for Instagram.