Everything You Want To Know About Snapchat Discover

20/03/2015

How different does your newsfeed look in 2015 than it did this time last year? And how different did it look then, to a year before that?

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Chances are that YoY, it’s become an ever-increasing stream of content from a widening range of sources; friends, friends of friends, personalities & pages you follow, as well as brands (of course). The bottom line is that social media has evolved to become so much more than just a way to stay connected to friends and family.

Social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram now play a much larger and more varied role in our lives – that of our daily content curator. They are increasingly becoming our first stop for breaking news and current affairs, entertainment, search, and so much more.

The big players in social media have known this for some time, and as a result, are all locked in a battle to become your number one source of content – including adapting and innovating their platforms in response to consumer needs.   

Enter Snapchat with their much-anticipated feature, ‘Discover’.

Discover is an extension of the ‘Stories’ feature. Snapchat Stories allow people to string together multiple pictures and videos they've captured to create a unique story, and if they’re brave enough, share it with the whole Snapchat community. There's a catch, though: staying true to the functionality that made them famous, stories disappear after 24 hours.

Currently, just over one billion stories are viewed per day, with the more popular posts reaching as many as 27 million unique views within the 24-hour window. To put that in perspective, the Game of Thrones Season 4 finale had 7.1 million viewers, with an average gross audience of 18.2 million views per episode (including repeats) - the largest audience ever for a HBO series.

Put simply, Snapchat’s scale cannot – and should not – be underestimated in any way.

How Discover differs from Stories is in that it allows users to view content compiled by publishers, brands, and Snapchat’s own editorial staff, instead of other users. This content can be in the form of images, video, editorial, or what Snapchat themselves have promised to be ‘gorgeous advertising’. Content is uploaded in daily ‘editions’ that, in true Snapchat style, self-destruct after 24 hours.

So, what is Discover’s point of difference?

Unlike other social platforms, the content (and advertising) served up through Discover is curated by artists, not by algorithms, giving Snapchat more ‘quality control’ when it comes to what’s deemed important and what’s not. Content is designed to be ‘snackable’, both to fit modern consumption behaviours, but also to stay in-keeping with the style of the app.

For consumers, this means better quality content and a better user experience. For advertisers, it translates to an opportunity to speak to a more engaged, not to mention enormous, audience in a carefully curated, highly relevant space.

Discover has launched in Australia with eleven media partners: News.com.au, CNN, MTV, Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan, The Food Network, Vice, National Geographic, People, Fox Sports, and Fusion.

So what are the implications of Discover, and Snapchat as a platform in 2015?

Snapchat is currently rumoured to have 100 million+ active monthly users, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at. What’s more, much of their active user-base is made up of the highly coveted ‘Youth’ audience. The words ‘Holy Grail’ spring to mind…

The key here is that these users are currently coming to Snapchat to seek out user-generated content – the real test will be whether or not these same users will be drawn to engaging with publisher-curated content as well. If so, this gives us advertisers an opportunity to reach these users in a multitude of new and exciting ways.

On a broader scale, the question now becomes: with Discover and Our Stories, will Snapchat be able to compete with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as a major content curator in the social media world? Only time will tell, but at face value, Snapchat’s ambitious first step into media publishing certainly looks like a smart one.

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