- Online publisher the Huffington Post is taking a page from Snapchat with a new feature called "storybook," according to Digiday.
- The first version of storybook ran on Monday as part of an article on Lady Gaga's latest tour and included 10 vertical images and motion graphics for viewers to swipe or click through. The feature was designed for the publisher's mobile site but was also available on desktop.
- "There were some things we were doing on Snapchat and Instagram — the storytelling mechanisms and animations that we can play with on those platforms — that we wanted to bring to readers on our owned and operated platform," Emily Ingram, senior product manager at the Huffington Post, told Digiday.
The Huffington Post’s new storybook feature is a clear indication of Snapchat’s growing influence over design and the user experience. At one point, Snapchat's content model might have been viewed as gimmicky or insular, largely limited to ephemeral video messaging between users. However, as the app has exploded in popularity and continued to build out its offerings both on the user-facing end and for publishers and brands, it's started to redefine how many think about digital storytelling as consumers start to look for similar experiences elsewhere.
Snapchat Stories became so popular that Facebook blatantly borrowed the name and experience for Instagram. Now, publishers may be joining in on the action as well. Snapchat has also helped popularize the once-maligned vertical video format. The Huffington Post is just one of many publishers that have since embraced vertical, including The Washington Post, Hearst and News Corp, which all sell vertical video ads.
Storybook might come as a sort of test for whether standalone efforts to build Snapchat-like content will work for publishers. As consumer habits migrate more toward mobile, publishers are looking for ways to engage past the printed word, but it's unclear whether viewers will watch an entirely separate feature rather than simply turn to Snapchat's own Discover portal.