Snapchat Stories, Hands On; Thoughts on Snapchat Monetization

Some thoughts brewing for a few weeks Re: Snapchat Business Model:

It's almost inevitable that Snapchat will introduce Ads to its service -somehow-. With an $Billion-Dollar IPO on the way, its biggest challenge is moving beyond an app and becoming a platform with a healthy revenue. I was thinking of Sponsored Snaps, where you'd find in your Snaps feed clearly labeled Snaps and videos that are, well, Ads. The first problem would be what the ROI would be for the companies, since it's not a guarantee that A. Users will tap on them if labeled clearly and B. If they will hold and actually pay attention to the Sponsored Snap. A controversial but effective move would be for the snaps to not require holding once tapped.

Another issue, probably more important, is the impression that Snapchat isn't as private or secure as its users would think, once they think about how Snaps are just showing up on their feed. Again, the clear labeling would help with that, but it would incite conversations of just -how- private or self-destructive your snaps are.
Today, Snapchat announced Stories, a way to recap your day in snaps and videos. They also don't delete after 8-10 seconds (20-something seconds this time). It's an interesting feature that will allow your friends to know what you've been up to, as long as you let them. How they can monetize this is not quite clear yet, but it's exciting to see them redefining social sharing in a way that remains consistent with their core features. I think a key extension of this feature would be sharing of Stories outside of Snapchat through Facebook and Twitter, their main competitors as of today. It was that component that made Instagram the ubiquitous entity it is today.

Stories, while not completely innovative on its own, is very attractive in its current incarnation and Snapchat's branding. It's a blend of an early Facebook with Vine (Instagram Video, etc) that could prove to be very successful, again, if it's well-executed, and sharing (beyond screenshots) is enabled.