Snapchat is no longer only for millennials and the ugly selfie you hope the receiver is too slow to screen capture before it “disappears” into cyberspace. While I admittedly get joy from watching my Snapchat score rise with each embarrassing Snap, the marketer in me always questioned when Snapchat would take it to the next level for branded, editorial content. Eventually, brands would move in to reach these consumers. How would brands use Snapchat to advertise? How would they reach the more than 200 million Snapchat users? What would be their goal or message?
Last month, Snapchat launched Snapchat Discover. In a blog post announcing arguably the biggest upgrade Snapchat has ever made, the Snapchat team said, “Snapchat Discover is a new way to explore Stories from different editorial teams. It’s the result of collaboration with world-class leaders in media to build a storytelling format that puts the narrative first. This is not social media.”
Here are three things you need to know about Snapchat Discover:
1) It’s about storytelling: What struck me about Discover is Snapchat’s emphasis that “this is not social media.” The team says Discover is built for creatives and is dependent on editors and artists. There are currently 12 “editions” across various topics including: CNN, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, ESPN, Food Network, National Geographic, People, Vice, Yahoo News and Warner Music Group. Snapchat announced in June 2014 that Stories – a compilation of Snaps that last only 24 hours – was its most popular feature. In fact, Stories drew more than 1 billion views daily. Therefore, what was the most obvious way to integrate brands onto the platform? Through the use of storytelling. I would argue that “storytelling” rather than plain old “content” now reigns as king. There needs to be a beginning, middle and end. What is your message and how can you connect to your audience? Discover is based on stories.
2) It’s timely: Just like Stories, the content on each Discover edition is replaced daily – after 24 hours. News is now old after one day. And since these editions on Discover happen to be from media outlets, they want to share the most timely up to date content. Snapchat enlisted publishers in this ad supported revenue-sharing partnership to emphasize storytelling.
3) It’s not just for photos: Discover allows for customizable content. From photos, to videos, to articles and long form content, Discover is a collage of the publisher’s news for the day. Click on the icon to open the publisher’s stories of the day. Usually an image or video will play with an intriguing headline, guiding you to swipe up to read the full article or the helpful tip, watch the full video or learn the latest breaking news. When you want to go to the next story, swipe left. When you want to move onto the next publisher, swipe down to head back to the Discover home screen. Food Network has the “Tip of the Day.” Today happened to be, “Superfood Breakfast Toast." With a single swipe up, I have instructions on how to make a coconut butter spread with cocoa powder, almonds and honey. ESPN had a series of videos titled, “NBA Top Players Who Beat Lebron for No. 1.” Must admit, that headline pulled me right in to see who could have possibly beaten “King James.”
While some report Discover looks like an online magazine, and others say it is a new medium parallel to Twitter and Facebook, there’s no denying this is big. We’ve come a long way from my embarrassing selfie of #iwokeuplikethis. Now, in PR, will we start pitching reporters articles for Snapchat? We just might.