As Business Insider’s Alex Health reported on Thursday,
Google has looked into buying Snapchat for as much as $30
Who knows whether this deal would ever happen? But in the
meantime, it’s worth examining what such an
acquisition would do for Google
(besides keeping Snapchat away from Facebook).
At top of the list: a marriage of Snapchat
and Google’s mega global video platform YouTube could help Google
make a serious bid for the biggest prize in advertising — the $72
billion TV market.
Owning the youth video market
YouTube is already a
credible alternative to TV for some advertisers. But the
addition of Snapchat, which reaches 166 million users a day,
could give Google a lock on the daily video viewing of
If ad buyers have any complaint about web video compared to TV –
it’s that for all its faults, TV can still rack up big audiences
in short bursts. Need to reach 10 million viewers in one
night? Run an ad on “Monday Night Football” or “This is Us”
and you’re all set.
Snapchat boasts of
average daily users sessions of 30 minutes. YouTube
users now average
60 minutes a day on its mobile app. Facebook, by contrast, is
doing everything it can simply to convince users to spend 3
second watching a video in its Newsfeed.
The combination of YouTube – which
reaches 1.5 billion users a month – and Snapchat could
give Google an unmatchable daily “reach machine”; a direct
pathway to youngsters who log their screen time hours in front
of phones and tablets. It’s easy to imagine a
specialized Google ad buy that connects brands with the majority
of teens and 20-somethings every day, giving Google a legitimate
rival to the reach marketers currently get through TV.
In short, Google could lock up the highly-valued young eyeball
market. The combo of Snap and YouTube would be
like Google owning both MTV and ESPN circa 1993.
The Instagram playbook
There’s also the synergy impact of such a deal. Why has Instagram
proven so popular with advertisers, beside the fact that is has a
huge audience? Its data, and its back-end ad buying and tracking
systems are all tied into Facebook’s.
It’s super easy for brands to buy ads on both platforms and track
how they perform.
If Google stitched together YouTube and Snapchat’s ad buying
infrastructures, for instance, it could help
Snap graduate from being a mere test budget vehicle in
the eyes of marketers and instead become a standard option
that’s always on the Google ad buying menu. Unlike Snapchat,
Google already has all the deep relationships and history with
major ad agencies and marketers. The payoff of the
combination could be huge.
Furthermore, Google could use its newfound clout to dictate the
future of web video ad creative, by
leaning into 6-second ads that you can’t skip. While Snap
users would likely grumble about having to sit through some ads,
that kind of move would help Snapchat better cater to
marketers that currently grouse about its custom ads
Beating Facebook to TV
Plus, Google could make this move just as Facebook is
trying to train people to lean back and watch video and seek
out shows on its platform. That’s not the way most people use
Facebook right now.
Snapchat and YouTube don’t need to train people, becuase people
go to those outlets seeking content (more so in YouTube’s
Snapchat is trying to push beyond communications with a slew
The more originals shows that YouTube and Snapchat crank out, the
more they could use each other’s platforms to cross promote
OK, so there’s a whole bunch of ifs here, starting with the fact
that Evan Spiegel may never be happy being just another thing
that Google owns while he dreams of making drone camera
Snapchat must also prove that its app has the staying power
to continue mesmerizing young internet users. A deal
that gives Google such a stronghold in such a valuable
demographic might even raise regulatory scrutiny. And if the deal
did close, certainly, stealing even a big chunk of TV ad budgets
won’t pay off the lofty $30 billion investment overnight.
But a Snapchat/YouTube hookup could prove to be a powerful ad
player. And for that reason alone, the potential for such a deal
is worth keeping an eye on.