Snapchat can’t catch a break.

Just a few weeks after Kylie Jenner denounced Snapchat and set its valuation on fire, the company blundered again—this time offending Rihanna.

The problem involved an advertisement that appeared on Snapchat Ad Manager. The company had shifted to a self-service ad auction model in 2017, a transition that allowed businesses of all sizes to bid on ads to be displayed on the company’s platform.

Snapchat lauded this transition as the natural evolution of ad buys; companies with smaller budgets could get in on the action, while Snapchat itself could minimize the overhead required to run its ad campaigns.

The problem with this (as was painfully pointed out to Snapchat) is that brands don’t always know what content will show up on their network. The offending ad in question made light of Rihanna’s domestic violence charge against Chris Brown in 2009, sparking outrage from both the singer and social media followers alike.

Snapchat was still licking its wounds from the Kylie Jenner debacle when Rihanna condemned Snapchat on Instagram, causing the brand to lose four percent of its valuation overnight—nearly $800 million in total.

The Dangers of Self-Service Ads

While it’s certainly true that self-service ad networks have advantages over the old system of ad purchasing, companies should think twice before rushing out to automate their ad networks.

Yes, the old-fashioned practice of having a brand representative personally schedule each ad can be time-consuming and costly. Nobody denies that. But the benefit of this system is security. When a brand representative approves each post, there’s much less worry of offensive ads appearing on the network or of drawing fire from social media celebrities who have legions of followers.

This lack of control is the fundamental drawback of self-service ad auctions. The system hasn’t yet seen widespread adoption, and the bugs are still being worked out.

Of course, we’re not saying that companies should never use self-service ad buys. It’s the way the world is moving. All we’re saying is that companies can’t take a completely hands-off approach, even with self-service ad auctions.

Brands should always have a representative review ads before they go public—whether in-house or through a managed services provider. This gives companies the best of both worlds. They get to democratize their ad networks and open the doors to investment from more companies while still retaining oversight over the final product.

Don’t Put Your Company in Jeopardy

Snapchat may indeed be big enough to survive these slams with its value intact, but can your brand do the same? Smaller companies without the market penetration of Snapchat can just as easily fall victim to this type of error, and if the controversy involves a powerful social media influencer like Rihanna, there may be no coming back.