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Snap is trying to lure Instagram advertisers by offering them free ads on Snapchat

Snap is offering hundreds of dollars in free ad credits to advertisers who buy vertical video ads on Instagram.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel onstage
Snap CEO Spiegel at the 2015 Code Conference
Asa Mathat / Recode

Snap wants to attract new advertisers — specifically, it wants to attract advertisers who are spending money with its biggest competitor, Instagram.

To lure them over, Snap is reaching out to those advertisers that are buying vertical video ads on Instagram and other competitors, and offering them free advertising credits to give Snapchat a try.

Recode first heard about the new program from a source, and a Snapchat spokesperson confirmed that the company has indeed started reaching out to advertisers who are spending money on competing services.

Snap is directing advertisers to an online application, which requires them to upload a proof of purchase that they bought ads on a Snapchat competitor “sometime within the past three months.”

Snap is then offering those advertisers credits in the range of “several hundred dollars,” according to a source.

Snap hasn’t been shy about its need to increase its pool of advertisers. The company sells almost all of its vertical video ads through a process called programmatic ad buying — in other words, automated software programs that auction off ad spots to the highest bidder. The problem for Snap thus far has been that many of its auctions don’t have much competition, meaning that there aren’t enough advertisers bidding for the ads, and those that are using the service are getting the ads on the cheap, since few other advertisers (or no other advertisers) are bidding against them.

More advertisers would mean more competition, and theoretically, higher ad prices and more revenue for the company. On Snap’s last earnings call, when the company reported better-than-expected results, CFO Andrew Vollero called Snapchat’s ad auction “the engine that drove the growth in the fourth quarter.”

It’s also impossible to ignore the thinly veiled swipe at Instagram, which is without a doubt Snapchat’s biggest competitor. (Remember when Instagram stole Snapchat’s Stories idea?) The program is technically open to advertisers who bought vertical video ads anywhere else online, but Instagram is the most likely place Snap will find new targets.

Snap has offered ad credits to lure in advertisers before. It has a program called Snap Accelerate that gives special deals to VC-backed startups that want to advertise on Snapchat. It also offered ad credits and discounts to advertisers shortly after its IPO.

Snap is fresh off its best quarter as a publicly traded company. The company claimed more than $285 million in revenue when it reported Q4 earnings this week, up 72 percent on the same quarter last year.

Snap stock is up more than 50 percent on the week.

This article originally appeared on

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