News

POV: Snapchat Discover Tab

Mindshare Point of View

Snapchat the once obscure short-lived picture messaging app, which now boasts 100 million active users per month, launched its latest feature Discover last week.  The launch proceeded several months of anticipation, especially from the millions of users collectively sending 400 million Snapchat snaps a day. The update adds a series of channels where media outlets can share streams of photos, videos and articles. Outside of Snapchat’s own channel, 11, other channels launched included: CNN, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, ESPN, Food Network, National Geographic, People, Vice, Yahoo! News and Warner Music Group.

Snapchat was quick to emphasize the feature is not social media as it doesn't rely on "clicks and shares." The company is instead positioning Discover as a tool to help bolster the Snapchat community's creativity.

"Discover is different because it has been built for creatives," the company wrote on its blog. "This time we built the technology to serve the art: Each edition includes full-screen photos and videos, awesome long-form layouts, and gorgeous advertising."

Details and implications

As for the user experience, once you enter a channel the usage closely resembles Flipboard (a news aggregation and sharing app) as you swipe left or right to expose different pieces of content. Each piece of content starts with a brief preview which can be video, text or photo and you must scroll down to engage with the full piece of content which can also be video, text or photo. Content on each channel will be updated every 24 hours.

Each channel also has its own ads and sponsored content which the publisher has control of, and will result in various paid opportunities. One thing to note is that you can skip through the ads the same way you would skip through any other page, so it’s easy for consumers to ignore ads all together. Also, there's currently no way to share content from Discover outside of Snapchat, though you can copy and paste text and photos none of the content links back to a website or social media.

Summary

The addition of the Discover feature is a swift move for Snapchat, as it provides a novel news source for the mobile generation. Not only is the content engaging, it is concise, ideal for anyone looking to scan a few essential stories whenever they get a minute. Discover, also makes Snapchat more appealing to an older generation, who historically perceived Snapchat as a medium for teenagers to share trivial pictures.

It will be interesting to see if more channels roll-out and if more paid advertising opportunities are introduced. Furthermore, as the service progresses out of infancy and gathers user data, whether a tailored user-specific service ensues.