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Snapchat Discover: Are Chat Apps The Next Big Content Portal?

snapchat discover

The main principle of internet marketing is the same in 2015 as it's been for many years: content is king. If you want to get targeted visitors to your website who are ready to do business, you've got to have engaging, valuable content first and foremost.

When it comes to actually getting your content in front of people, however, there are many new ideas out there. Social media and syndication networks are ever-evolving methods of content distribution. Now, Snapchat's new "Discover" feature might represent a cutting-edge portal for content and native advertising: chat apps.

Snapchat Discover Brings Editorial Content to Users

Snapchat is an incredibly popular mobile messaging app that boasts over 100 million users. It essentially allows users to text each other with accompanying photos that disappear within seconds. Snapchat isn't necessarily a marketing-free zone, though. Brands as diverse as McDonald's, General Electric, the NBA, Acura, Heineken and HBO have all launched interesting campaigns that allow their followers to receive fun and informative snaps from them.

Now, Snapchat is taking that concept even further by diving head-on into the content game. According to the Snapchat blog, Snapchat Discover will allow users to "explore stories from different editorial teams." This means that certain companies will be able to publish browseable news articles, images and video within Snapchat. In keeping with the temporary nature of typical snaps, content published in Snapchat Discover will be refreshed every 24 hours - once it's gone, it cannot be accessed again.

Only certain brands can currently publish to Snapchat Discover. They include:

  • CNN
  • Comedy Central
  • Cosmopolitan
  • The Daily Mail
  • ESPN
  • Food Network
  • National Geographic
  • People
  • Vice
  • Yahoo! News
  • Warner Music Group

Snapchat Discover may cause more than a few groans. After all, many users hate sponsored content - most people have simply learned to put up with it on Facebook and Twitter. In Snapchat's defense, the content in Discover is only accessed if a user actually wishes to see it, rather than having it forced upon them in a newsfeed. Also, Snapchat is careful to separate itself from its social media competitors. They state, "Social media companies tell us what to read based on what’s most recent or most popular. We see it differently. We count on editors and artists, not clicks and shares, to determine what’s important."

Is This the Next Big Thing For Content?

The idea of using chat apps like Kik or WeChat for content marketing might sound slightly ridiculous right now, but Snapchat Discover may be an indicator of things to come. There's evidence that people are getting tired of massive social networks like Facebook where users have hundreds if not thousands of connections. Many people, especially teens, prefer to have stronger social bonds with fewer people. Chat apps do exactly that - they offer the unique interactivity of a social network without being bogged down by hundreds of news feed updates and event invites from people that users barely know. Indeed, most of the people who use Snapchat are women under the age of 25.

The numbers also speak for themselves. Facebook's messaging service, WhatsApp, now has a whopping 700 million active monthly users, and those users are definitely sharing content. For example, media company Buzzfeed experimented with a button on their site that would allow a user to automatically share an article on WhatsApp. They found that the number of people sharing content on WhatsApp "rapidly exceeded" the number of people who shared to Twitter.

So, while Snapchat Discover isn't open to everybody yet, chat apps should still be on the mind of any content marketer. They may eventually prove useful not only as a method for users to share your content, but also as a publishing platform in the future.

T.J. Anderson

Posted on 29th January, 2015 by T.J. Anderson

About T.J. Anderson

T.J. Anderson is a Chicago-based content editor and writer, as well as an SEO and marketing specialist.

View all posts by T.J. Anderson