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Snapchat adds ‘creepy’ ad targeting, letting companies track you online

Snap Pixel lets companies gather useful information about you

Aatif Sulleyman
Thursday 02 November 2017 12:15 GMT
The Snapchat app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration taken September 15, 2017
The Snapchat app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration taken September 15, 2017 (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

Snapchat has embraced sophisticated ad-targeting technology that the company’s CEO once described as “creepy”.

The firm is rolling out a tool called Snap Pixel, which lets advertisers track what you do online after viewing one of their ads, and gather information about you.

Other major platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Google, offer similar tools to advertisers, but Snapchat has previously criticised these.

“I got an ad this morning for something I was thinking about buying yesterday, and it’s really annoying,” Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said in 2015.

He then added: “We care about not being creepy. That’s something that’s really important to us.”

Snap Pixel lets advertisers create pieces of code on websites that track what you do after you see one of their ads on the app.

It’s essentially designed to help companies measure the effectiveness of their ads and optimise their spend.

They’ll be able to access and analyse data collected within 28 days of you viewing or engaging with an ad, reports Adweek, but will initially only be able to use Snap Pixel for measurement purposes.

By the end of the year, however, companies will be allowed to target specific groups of people who have visited their sites.

“There’s a whole population of people who are exposed to these ads that we’re going to be able to learn about – how are they interacting with the ads and how it’s driving them to the site,” Laura Joukovski, the SVP of media at TechStyle Fashion Group, told Adweek.

Snapchat will also allow retargeting, which lets ads follow you around the web, but users will be able to opt out of this.

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