Snapchat has nabbed a heavy-hitter from traditional media as it attempts to win over brand advertisers. Betsy Kenny Lack comes on as head of global brand partnerships for the disappearing messaging app, reporting to Imran Khan, Snapchat’s No. 2 behind CEO Evan Spiegel.
Lack worked for Condé Nast’s Vanity Fair for eight years, under editor in chief Graydon Carter, where she helped make its Establishment List conference a profitable business. Lack, who’s also married to NBC News chief Andy Lack, left Vanity Fair in January. Lack starts at Snapchat in July, according to a source.
Snapchat has been trying to grow its ad business with a focus on top brands in verticals such as entertainment, fashion, retail, finance and auto, but faced challenges because of the quirky nature of the platform. Brands have been willing to spend big bucks on sponsorships on Snapchat, which caters to a young audience that can be hard to reach. Gatorade and Taco Bell, for instance, have sponsored popular animated lenses that people put on their selfies.
Other advertisers like Burberry have bought video ads in the Discover and Live Stories sections of the apps, where publishers and media companies share special content.
But Snapchat has run into trouble with advertisers who want guaranteed views and more data on who’s seeing their ads than the platform was able to provide. (Snapchat says it does offer guaranteed video impressions and has been offering data on viewership through Nielsen.) Snapchat also requires creators to make content that can’t easily be repurposed elsewhere, demanding resources that may not be worth it.
As a buzzy, new platform, Snapchat has been able to charge inflated prices to advertisers who don’t mind paying to be first on the app. But some have complained that their ads haven’t gotten that many views, and Snapchat has since had to bring its prices down to earth, according to a report.
Snapchat has been hiring rapidly to fill out its agency, brand and ad team in the past six months. It recently hired Tom Conrad as vp of product from Pandora and Sriram Krishnan from Facebook, to name two.
Garett Sloane contributed to this story.
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