Some are reportedly starting to ask that very question in the face of metrics that raise questions about their potential efficacy.
Take Snapchat  and its ad offerings, for instance. Snapchat is one of the most popular social platforms in the world, and brands have been eager to take advantage of the opportunities Snapchat is increasingly giving them to advertise to Snapchat users.
“We still buy it, and are figuring it out,” the advertiser told Sloane. Another agency executive, who also spoke to Sloane anonymously, added, “The interstitial vertical video ad is challenging. People just tap through. That’s the behavior.”
Obviously, this is almost certainly raising concerns for brands hoping to effectively reach young consumers through Snapchat, but while the company wouldn’t comment on the average video view times reported by one of its advertisers, it does believe that its ads are effective.
A Snapchat spokesperson pointed to an eye-tracking study the company conducted, which found that Snapchat’s video ads captured more attention than the video ads on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Snapchat is also quick to point out that its video ads take up the whole screen and play with sound on by default, whereas video ads on services like Facebook don’t.
But the question remains…
Just what can advertisers hope to accomplish with video ads that don’t typically get more than two to three seconds of view time?
Snapchat apparently thinks those two to three seconds are capable of creating value.
One executive who works with Snapchat and spoke off the record told Sloane, “They want to create meaningful brand experiences, in as little amount of time as possible. You can’t make a sale in three seconds, but you can start a relationship with somebody.”
Even if that is true, however, brands will eventually have to determine just how meaningful and valuable those three second relationships are.
If they ultimately don’t see lift and can’t trace action back to these ads, Snapchat, which is reportedly preparing to go public in 2017 at a valuation of $25 to $35 billion, could find that advertiser interest in its platform is as fleeting as the snaps that its users send.
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Early mobile video ads were ugly, glitchy and impractical. They were slow-to-load, pushing 3G network technology to the max.