DUBAI: Snap has announced the launch of a new ad product, First Story, after initial tests in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Snap said that First Story “has been a highly requested feature from advertising partners” as it allows brands to reserve the first ad a user sees between their friends’ stories.
The feature was tested in the UAE and Saudi Arabia — “two of the largest markets for Snap Inc. in the MENA region,” according to a statement — ahead of this year’s Eid.
After a successful trial period, the company has now announced the global roll-out of the feature.
“Snap serves a highly engaged audience in MENA and the success of the First Story ads trial is testament to this,” said Sandra Essa, product marketing lead — brand at Snap Inc. in in the Middle East and North Africa.
“By reserving the first slot within friends’ stories, brands can capture Snapchatters’ attention at scale in a way that was not before possible, providing a unique opportunity to make an impression right from the start,” Essa added.
Early advertisers using the feature include both international and local brands such as Maybelline, Unilever, Ounass, Level Shoes, The Royal Commission for AlUla, and Parfums Christian Dior.
The RCU, which launched its Snapchat account @ExperienceAlUla last year, has been working closely with the platform to shape its strategy and connect with audiences, said Melanie De Souza, executive director of Destination Marketing at the RCU.
In March, the UN World Tourism Organization awarded AlUla Old Town the title of Best Tourism Village. “We saw an opportunity to showcase its heritage, art, and oasis through an interactive AR experience and Snap lens, amplified by Snap’s new First Story feature,” De Souza explained.
The campaign connected with 9 million Snapchat users on the first day and achieved a swipe rate of 1.2 percent.
Level Shoes was the first partner to test First Story ads in the UAE. The campaign achieved a reach of over one million, a swipe rate of 1.1 percent and 18 times return on ad spend.
First Story is aimed to complement other Snap offerings like First Commercial and First Lens, which enable advertisers to reserve the first six-second non-skip commercial and first sponsored AR Lens respectively seen by a Snapchat user.