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HBO’s Black Friday Buy: A Snapchat Story Telling You to Stream Instead of Shop

HBO is urging Snapchatters to stay inside on Black Friday and stream “Game of Thrones” and other original series instead of hitting the malls, in the first Snapchat Story sold as an ad.

The HBO ad unit runs Friday, Nov. 24, in the Stories section of the Snapchat app with the headline, “What You Really Should Be Doing on Black Friday.” The Time Warner-owned premium cabler’s one-day takeover will appear only to Snapchat users in the U.S.

HBO’s sponsored Story links to free episodes of shows including “Game of Thrones,” “Westworld,” Issa Rae’s “Insecure,” and Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Rather than shopping on Black Friday amid herds of deal-hunters, for example, “You should be… hanging out with dragons,” reads one of the snaps in HBO’s promo.

Snapchat Stories, launched three years ago and infamously copied by Instagram, let users and content partners post collections of photos, videos and text that live for 24 hours.

In terms of reach and placement, Snapchat’s promoted Stories are akin to the YouTube masthead; the Snap Stories ads will appear adjacent to user Stories and those from Snap’s Discover media partners. As far as format, they’re like Facebook’s News Feed ads.

Snap is selling sponsored stories for a flat fee by country, as a one-day takeovers. Each Promoted Story can have the look and feel of either a Publisher Story or a user Story, comprising three to 10 individual snaps that auto-advance and can let users “swipe up” to launch a website, view an article, or install an app.

Next year, Snapchat is set for a major redesign. After Snap’s big Q3 earnings miss, CEO Evan Spiegel announced planned changes to make the app more user-friendly including the addition of behavioral-based content discovery and personalization for Snapchat Stories.

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