Snapchat deals with Hearst, CNN, ESPN underscore broad appeal beyond millennials
While Snapchat has been a hit with millennials, brands and publishers are finally realizing the potential to target specific segments of its 100 million-plus monthly users with forms of traditional content as CNN and ESPN join the new Discover platform.
Snapchat Discover is building on the app?s growing popularity as a platform for advertisers and a bridge between brands and consumers by selling advertisements against the content and sharing revenue with the publishers. Each publisher will be able to upload content for limited periods, with ESPN planning to transmit media exclusively compiled as a ?daily edition? with five to 10 articles that consumers can swipe through.
?Thanks to the power of sports, mobile has driven tremendous growth and category leadership for ESPN,? said a spokeswoman for ESPN, New York. ?Through our collaboration with Snapchat, ESPN is introducing new ways of storytelling to a highly engaged audience with artful content on a full-screen creative canvas.
?Mobile is central to ESPN?s mission, and our goal is to tell and share stories wherever sports fans are consuming content on smartphone/tablet screens. Snapchat?s audience is 100 percent mobile and has tremendous scale with younger millennials.?
Snapchat has recently been ramping up its content offerings, as seen with its ?Stories? feature leveraged by the World Series and other sports marketers to bring fans real-life snippets and videos of consumers? experiences at games (see story).
The Discover feature builds on ?Stories? by offering users a homepage displaying icons of its ten current media partners, also including CNN and National Geographic. When a user taps the icon, he or she is brought to the curated content, which is updated every 24 hours and may include scrollable articles, photos or video clips.
ESPN, which is Snapchat?s exclusive sports publisher for the Discover platform, will be launching SportsCenter stories as part of its first edition for the app, including National Basketball Association power rankings, a video of the National Football League season in 160 seconds and a video of one of the Harlem Globetrotters? trick shots.
Snapchat users can discover the top news of the day via brands? efforts at storytelling with artful content. Full-screen advertisements will also be included in daily editions, proving that Snapchat is able to drum up emotional connections with users but also cater to advertisers in a manner that feels organic.
Meanwhile, Hearst Magazine?s Cosmopolitan will be offering a similar daily edition providing five articles that users can swipe through for bite-sized pieces of lifestyle content. As Cosmopolitan is primarily geared to young women, targeting millennials is a top strategy for the publisher.
However, Snapchat?s staggering reach of consumers makes it a viable platform for brands seeking to reach demographics other than millennials.
?It's popular to say Snapchat is an under 25-focused platform,? said Mark Beccue, principal analyst at Mark Beccue Consulting, Inc., Tampa, FL. ?But that?s a mistake, Snapchat has 100 million monthly active users.
?Clearly Snapchat serves more than one demographic or psychographic profile, and you also can?t lump all under 25s into a profile either, so Snapchat and brands and the media channels success very much depends on whether they collectively have properly targeted significant segments of Snapchat?s audience.?
platforms for traditional media
Snapchat is attempting to bridge the gap between traditional media and increasing digital consumption on mobile by enabling these publishers to reach audiences that may have previously been difficult to target. On-the-go users are also looking to consume news with more video snippets and clips, prompting other social networking mobile apps to compete with Snapchat.
Twitter is now introducing a new mobile video experience that enables users to capture, edit and share videos directly from the social app. With the tap of a finger, consumers can upload a video clip to their Tweets to share their real-life experiences with friends or display newsworthy media.
The inline editing experience provides for a streamlined capturing process, and allows individuals to record up to 30 seconds at a time. IPhone customers can also upload from their camera rolls, a feature that is planned to roll out to Android consumers soon.
Group Direct Messages are also part of the app?s new offerings.
Meanwhile, photo-bookmarking social site Pinterest is also hopping on the advertising bandwagon by rolling out ads as soon as users log in to the site or visit the mobile app. Pinterest will be using data to send targeted ads to users based on previous searches, which will appear on their home feeds as paid-for ?pins.?
Messaging apps have proven that their advertising potential is not to be taken lightly. As Snapchat in particular continues to gain traction, brands and marketers will be prompted to develop more interactive storytelling content that hits an emotional note with users and also provides a return on investment in advertising dollars.
?Messaging platforms are becoming the conduit for our daily digital lives,? Mr. Beccue said. ?Messaging platforms will become the most important platform to brands and marketers because they will be the gateways to digital media consumption, including media channels, but games, music and social media.
?But the challenge for marketers this year will be fragmentation of the messaging platform market. You are going to have to place a lot of bets.?
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York