The disappearing act messaging app known as Snapchat has been the underdog darling of the social media game ever since it showed its little ghost face back in 2011. Ever since then this teen-dominated medium has been doubted by many seasoned digital marketers and social “gurus”. But the app really made a name for itself when CEO Evan Spiegel turned down a $3 billion offer to sell Snapchat to Facebook. Since then the app has grown to a point where over 700 million “snaps” are sent daily.
Introducing Snapchat Discover
Snapchat has always been regarded as a unique platform that, if properly leverage, can be the key to tapping into the minds (and wallets) of the next generation of consumers. Well, Snapchat is taking that bet with the release of their new digital content platform called ‘Discover’, rumored to launch Tuesday 1/27. ‘Discover’ will feature news and content from major publishers including ESPN, CNN, Vice and Warner Music. Snapchat is offering news sources like these a chance to promote hand-picked content in a medium that is reaching a very unique audience. Of course the content will be coupled with paid advertising, but you already knew that, right?
At first glance, this seems like a strange move for Snapchat. A messaging app turned media publisher? At first, I didn’t get it. But if you think about it, Snapchat is offering these publishers a direct line into the minds of an audience that is very difficult to tap into these days. And because Snapchat doesn’t have a discovery or browsing system in place, it’s very difficult to find new users to follow, making this very exciting for brands who haven’t been able to crack the Snapchat code.
Snapchat’s snapping up the Internet’s content creators
Not only is Snapchat opening its doors to already-established, aforementioned publishers, but they’re also poaching real journalists from publications to join their editorial team. What!? Snapchat with an editorial team? That’s right.
According to Digiday, Snapchat has already hired the Verge’s Ellis Hamburger and popular blogger Nicole James. Also on the roster are:
- Matt Krautstrunk, video editor – LinkedIn
- CJ Smith, content producer – LinkedIn (former MTV and VH1 producer)
- Greg Wacks, creative strategist – LinkedIn
- Dom Smith, video monkey – LinkedIn
- Kyle Goodrich, animator – LinkedIn
With resumés like these, I imagine this is going to be the team that is tasked with coaching the news sites on what content to create and how to create it for the Snapchat ‘Discover’ platform.
This is a very unique audience that is being exposed to a whole new slew of content they might not be ready for. On one hand it’s very risky of Snapchat to go down this road. On the other, it sounds like they might actually be giving users what they want and if they execute it the right way, it could be an extremely lucrative channel for digital marketers and publishers.
What does ‘Discover’ mean for Digital Marketers
So obviously we’re not all major publishers like CNN or ESPN, but I have to guess that Snapchat won’t leave this platform closed off to the public forever. There will come a day when Snapchat ‘Discover’ is as widely used as Facebook for brands and content publishers.
There are three things digital marketers and content producers can learn from studying the launch of Snapchat Discover.
- The importance of matching audience and medium – if ‘Discover’ succeeds, what are those publishers and team of content creators doing right? If it fails, well…
- Audiences and customers are malleable – audiences can adapt to new things. The big question is how much and how fast?
- Know your customer – Snapchat knows their users are seeking out brands on their platform. Is ‘Discover’ giving them what they want? Or are they selfishly trying to increase advertising revenue?
The challenge then becomes, how will digital marketers and small-time content producers adapt to this new generation of whippersnappers. Let us watch Snapchat and learn from what they know.