Snap has already begun experimenting with sponsored links in its My AI chatbot. During the NewFronts advertising event on Tuesday, the company announced that the bot will start surfacing paid links that are relevant to a conversation.
For example, Snap says if you’re using My AI to figure out what to have for dinner, the bot might suggest a sponsored link that leads to a local restaurant or delivery app after providing an initial response. It might even surface links for an airline or hotel if you’re chatting with My AI about planning a trip.
Snapchat just revealed its ChatGPT-powered My AI chatbot in February, which can do things like hold conversations, suggest AR filters, and generate photos. After initially releasing My AI exclusively to Snapchat Plus subscribers, the company made it available to all of its 750 million monthly users in April. So far, Snap has seen 2 million My AI conversations per day among its Snapchat Plus subscriber base.
My AI is much more limited in what it can talk about when compared to ChatGPT, though, as Snap has trained the bot to avoid things that violate its community guidelines, like swearing, sexually explicit content, violence, and politics. The company says it will screen conversations for inappropriate content or abuse before My AI displays a sponsored link and that it will also take a user’s age into consideration.
In addition to bringing ads to My AI, Snap also announced that it’s putting ads in Spotlight, the company’s TikTok-like feed that shows popular shortform videos posted to the platform. The ads will appear between posts as you scroll through the feed, much like they do on TikTok and within Instagram’s Reels. Snapchat is also giving advertisers a way to reserve the first video ad that you see when opening a friend’s story.
Snap’s push into advertising comes as the company looks to recover from a faltering stock price and layoffs. Last year, an internal memo obtained by The Verge’s Alex Heath revealed that Snap CEO Evan Spiegel aims to increase Snapchat’s subscriber base to 450 million by the end of this year, while also boosting revenue to $6 billion in 2023. The release of My AI and a wider availability of ad placements could help Snap move closer to this goal.