It’s no secret that Snapchat has been pulling millennials and Gen Z away from Facebook since it’s emergence in 2011. But with their latest endeavor, Discover, the mobile messaging app is looking to take a bigger slice of the social market.
The seamless new content channel—which has partnered with publishers including National Geographic, Food Network, CNN and Vice—offers an experience that is targeted at a definitively older demographic. But the big question is, can Discover legitimately contend with the social powerhouses in the content sphere? I think the answer is yes.
Content remains the deciding factor of a successful channel and Discover has shifted the dynamic in favor of substance rather than clickbait intrigue.
Where Facebook’s trending stories rely on an increasingly restrictive algorithm to build momentum, Discover signals a return to the Front Page concept, with content handpicked by editors. This effectively weeds out the puppy videos and Buzzfeed quizzes that typically clutter a News Feed in lieu of more substantive content.
As of its launch, the 11 channels are granted complete control and influence over what content is published—CNN can select its most pressing news articles, Food Network curates a delicious array of recipes, and Warner Music Group showcases the latest in the music industry.
And taking a step back even further, the functionality of Discover grants me, the user, the power to dig into whichever content sphere I want to see on a daily basis, while ignoring those which don’t interest me. It returns a sense of control—and it doesn’t hurt that the publishers have created truly beautiful channels, with brand new content every single day.
But why should marketers care about this new platform? Previously expensive Snapchat ads (as much as $750,000 per day) are now significantly cheaper, as advertisers can negotiate deals directly with the publishers.
North American CEO Jon Steinberg told Digiday, “I’m comfortable talking to a client that wants to spend $50,000 [for] advertising on Snapchat.” And with the platform’s nearly 100 million active users, it’s pretty clear why.
And yet, while prices drop, the ad placements become more valuable. Brands can sponsor a publisher's content, thus aligning themselves with content that they know will resonate with a particular audience — all within a seamless, mobile user interface.
Could Discover signal a shift in digital content consumption? Well, as the social world constantly evolves so too does the way it’s accessed. It seems inevitable that, in time, Discover will expand on the current twelve channels—in the process, introducing branded channels into the mix.
I took a quick poll from our social team to determine what channel’s they’d like to see added to Discover as it evolves:
Converse has proven itself to be one of the top contenders in the content marketing world. With ongoing events and their incredible Tumblr page, they have established deep roots in the world of indie music that we would love to see brought to life in a dedicated Discover channel.
We all know and love the buzz-inducing energy drink, but their not-so-secret weapon is their network of killer production houses. The brand virtually owns extreme sports, and they've got movies, TV shows, record labels, and magazines to prove it. With all that content, it would be a total miss to pass up on Discover.
Reebok's latest "Be More Human" campaign is the epitome of inspirational content. Nothing has ever made me want to go out and flip tires as much as their beautifully designed landing page and series of content pushes connected to it. Reebok's Discover channel could be a killer combo of cross-fit work outs, healthy living and general bad assery.
Comics, cartoons, TV shows, movies—what can’t Marvel do? With an enormous and highly dedicated fan base, this could be the perfect chance for Marvel’s marketing to become a little bit more mobile oriented.
I know this one might seem counterintuitive, but Buzzfeed’s video department has been pretty consistently impressive. Discover might offer the opportunity for them to expand on it and explore new formats.