The ad-free Snapchat we know and love may finally be coming to an end as the company takes its first steps towards monetizing the massively popular social messaging app. CEO Evan Spiegel confirmed the news at a Vanity Fair tech conference on Wednesday, noting that the ads will be incorporated into the app’s popular Stories feature.
You won’t be forced to view any sponsored content, Spiegel said, though he noted that the upcoming ads are “pretty cool.” Apparently they’ll be opt-in, and you’ll be able to skip through ads as they appear. He also added that the company won’t target anyone with specific ads, but wouldn’t say exactly when the first ones will roll out.
The ads themselves allegedly won’t show up in direct messages sent between friends. Instead, Snapchat plans to sneak them into another feature called Stories, which lets you share a collection of photos and videos with all your contacts over a period of 24 hours before they self-destruct. It’s unclear if the company plans to sneak ads into individual user Stories or if sponsored content will be relegated to specific events—called Our Stories. The latter makes a lot more sense, and we could see brands paying Snapchat to insert a relevant ad into a public Story focused on a music festival or a college football game.
We’re curious to see whether Snapchat can incorporate ads without changing the way the rest of the app works and feels. Like we said, there’s no word on exactly when first sponsored posts will roll out, though for now you might as well enjoy the final days of ad-free Snapchat.