Discover Gives New Advertising Opportunities to Brands on Snapchat

Snapchat has partnered with various news outlets to launch Discover, which features news stories as well as sponsored ads, giving marketers another way to reach users on the platform.

News – from CNN, ESPN, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, and National Geographic, among others – is now available in the form of Snapchat Stories. Two swipes to the right bring users to the new feature, which has been in the works since last year. Each of the “channels” has a sponsor, whose ads are often included in the Story.

Snapchat first opened up to advertisers in October and Discover is the latest opportunity for brands to leverage the platform, which is extremely popular with the coveted Millennial demographic. With a 57 percent growth over the course of last year, Snapchat is the fastest-growing messaging app.

It is also rapidly becoming a hub of native content. AT&T is set to launch Snapchat’s first ever scripted series, “SnapperHero,” which will star some of YouTube and Vine’s biggest stars. SnapperHero will feature 12 videos over four weeks, and will star a high-profile group of social media influencers, including Freddie Wong, Anna Akana, Harley Morenstein, Jasmeet Singh, Simone Shepherd, and Shaun McBride, who have a combined YouTube audience of more than 15 million.

Snapchat is famous for having content that disappears after just a few seconds, so serial content seems counterintuitive, but Liz Nixon, AT&T engagement marketing director, says that the series will be specifically tailored to reach Snapchat’s young, social savvy audience.

“For SnapperHero, we are tailoring the creative to be authentic to how people are already using the surface,” says Nixon. “For example, we’re linking the episodes together through the Stories feature to give a sense of continuity. We’ll also be heavily featuring hand-drawn art throughout the creative to enhance the story and make it authentic to the platform. It’s different from a series for YouTube or Vimeo by intentionally avoiding an overproduced look and feel that would look out of place next to the content people are already consuming on Snapchat.”

Each 100- to 200-second episode will also feature a 10- to 30-second recap of previous storylines so new viewers can catch up.

“SnapperHero” will be at least partially crowdsourced. Influencers will take suggestions for episodes directly from fans across social. “We’re asking fans to submit their ideas for ‘SnapperHero’ directly to the Snapchat handle as well as through tweets and on Instagram using the SnapperHero hashtag,” says Billy Parks, chief content officer of Astronauts Wanted, the production team behind the series. “We’ll also compile any ideas that fans submit directly to the influencers’ social channels.”

Whether or not AT&T sees any return on investment remains to be seen, but marketers should take notice of the burgeoning power of Snapchat with Millennials and teens.

“Today’s consumers have turned to alternative media types to tell their stories, so it’s interesting that media companies and even brands are now adapting to this consumer behavior,” says Matt Scott, senior vice president of business development and strategy at Crowdtap, a platform focused on people-powered marketing. “Marketers will want to watch Snapchat’s Discover update closely to see what works for publishers in this space, and how they can also adapt their storytelling to be more in line with consumer behavior, both within Snapchat and beyond.”

Discover, along with SnapperHero, puts more emphasis on audience than platform, which Sebastian Sobczak finds most interesting about Discover. Sobczak is one of the co-founders of tsu, a platform centered on divvying up its ad revenue among users. Similarly, Snapchat is sharing the revenue from Discover with its publishers.

“It’s indicative of where social media is heading: toward further emphasis on the content creator, rather than the platform itself,” Sobczak says. “Social media is evolving to a place where users become their content, not only socially, but economically.”

Discover will fit in with Snapchat’s ephemeral theme. “Every edition is refreshed after 24 hours – because what’s news today is history tomorrow,” Team Snapchat wrote in a blog post. But while episodes of “SnapperHero” will also disappear after 24 hours, a scripted series suggests that Snapchat has its eye on content with more staying power for the future. 

Snapchat didn’t respond to ClickZ‘s request for an interview.

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