Facebook should seriously start keeping a closer watch on its smaller social media network rival Snapchat. Its ad business is expanding, and interestingly, it is starting to look a lot like Facebook’s ad business, reports Mashable.

Facebook Snapchat
Photo by AdamPrzezdziek

Snapchat copying Facebook’s strengths

On Tuesday, Snapchat told Mashable that this month, it is testing two features (deep-linking and auto-fill) in Snap Ads — the video ads that are added between Stories or on Discover — to make it simpler for advertisers to meet their targets when it comes to user sign-ups, app downloads and direct sales.

Advertisers can take users out of the Snapchat app through deep-linking and into other apps directly if the user has the app downloaded on their device. Snapchat already provides a similar experience through its integration with Uber, but now advertisers can pay for access.

For instance, a streaming video service could buy a Snap Ad; then after users watch a 10-second video, they are directed to swipe up. Users may also be directed to another app instead of showing the conventional web view.

The auto-fill feature lets advertisers which offer a form for user sign-ups to fill some part of the form automatically, notes Mashable. The ad can get any data users have already granted for Snapchat, like a phone number, email address, name, birthday, etc.

These important additions by Snapchat come at an essential time, as advertisers are still deciding whether to spend on it or not. Also Instagram (a Facebook property) is expected to introduce ads into Stories soon.

Facebook well ahead, but Snapchat is growing

In early 2017, Snap (Snapchat’s parent) is expected to go public and make billions of dollars in what could be the most appealing profile tech IPO of the year. However, it will probably not dominate ad budgets anytime soon. The company accounts for only 2% to 4% of overall digital advertising budgets currently, according to multiple ad advertising agencies. In contrast, Facebook gets 75% to 85%.

However, agencies say that brands are increasingly interested in Snapchat ads. The advertising budget of many youth-facing brands is already in the double digits, notes CNBC. With the addition of the new features, the numbers will surely go up.

It’s interesting to note that Snapchat, which became popular because Facebook was copying it on consumer features, is now following in Facebook’s footsteps in advertising. Previously, it told Mashable that auto-fill and deep-linking ads are two of Facebook’s strengths.