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Snapchat’s pre-IPO holiday ad blitz

As Snap works to ramp up its revenue ahead of its IPO, Snapchat's pulling out all the stops to draw retail ad dollars in what's the most important quarter for ad-based businesses.

On Friday, Snapchat is debuting a Nordstrom sponsored lens which puts your face inside a snow globe. This type of filter enables Snapchatters to do the most personal type of marketing: apply effects and sounds to their selfies, and then send the photo or video of their face, integrated with a brand, to their friends.

What makes it most compelling to marketers: Snapchat says on average, its users play with a sponsored lens for 20 seconds before sending it to friends.

Nordstrom joins a number of retailers working with Snapchat this holiday season; Target and American Eagle have deployed a number of "Snap Ad" video campaigns. The ads play with sound for up to 10 seconds, and then give the option to swipe up or see more content or the option of clicking through to a website.

Man wearing glasses with the reflection of Snapchat logo
Jaap Arriens | NurPhoto | Getty Images

These formats are all part of Snap's plan to diversify and grow revenue ahead of its IPO expected in March. EMarketer projects Snapchat will generate about $370 million in revenue this year, and it's expected to near $1 billion in revenue next year.

That growth is fueled by these ad formats, as well as content deals; earlier this week Snap announced a deal with Turner to create original shows on Snapchat and other content with advertising in it, to run on the platform.

And Snapchat has been quietly rolling out a new ad format tailored for content creators to get viewers more engaged. "Snapcodes" are embedded into TV shows or digital video and can be scanned to unlock an exclusive lens or geofilter. Netflix's "Gilmore Girls," Fox's "Simpsons" marathon and NBC's "Hairspray" have been among the 15 or so shows that have embedded these codes.

While it's a new move to bring Snapchat into television and streaming shows, there's no question video is key to Snapchat's appeal: The company says its users watch more than 10 billion videos per day, up 350 percent in the last year.