Some of the major media brands like The New York Times are actively using Snapchat as a marketing tool to attract younger audiences. Let’s see what problems are they facing and how they’re making stories vital?

 

Snapchat’s modern and playful way of exchanging messages won many hearts already: 150 million users open this app everyday, which is bigger than Twitter’s daily activity, according to Bloomberg. It lets you create content that is raw and fun, urgent and creative, relating to your audience on a totally human level.

While it’s been rather easy for digital media companies to adapt to this new marketing tool, many traditional media companies were struggling to find the right strategy at first. Many of them prefered launching a Discover Channel, because it gives them a better visability to millenials. There’re already 23 publishers, including media giants like Cosmopolitan, The Wall Street Journal and National Geographic, that are using this tool to develop their brand.

Snapchat has defined rules they need to follow, when publishing content through Discover, however, it gives enough possibilities to be creative and get tremendous amounts of content views. For example, Cosmopolitan fascinating long layouts, videos and photos as a part of their “Daily Editions” attracts 3 million readers per day.

 

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What is more, recent redesign of Discover will most likely increase user loyalty towards branded features. Now users can subscribe to publisher’s channels and all of the unread stories will be put under your friends’ updates. It not only helps brands to get noticed, but also gives them another metric to measure their success.

 

The New York Times’ Snapchat Stories

While Snapchat Discover seems preferable, there’re media companies that choose regular old accounts to share their stories instead. The New York Times started using Snapchat in early 2015 just like most of the other media publishers. Figuring out how their brand might look like there wasn’t easy and they’ve tried dozens of concepts on this app. They’ve tried to adapt their famous section “Room for Debate” to Snapchat users, gave exclusive access to the red carpet of Met Gala, tried to share educative material by answering questions like “what is the definition of the word “couture”. This is just a small list of their fascinating experiments and they aren’t planning to stop innovating.

This spring they’ve decided to practice a new concept and reach out to their own storytellers so that they could flex their writing muscle and share something personal in a Snapchat style. The Times share a couple of Snapchat Stories every week, inviting one of their editors, photographers and other creatives to lead their account. They cover stories in many different ways, so you can see a report from the catwalks of New York Fashion Week as well as from the food editor’s kitchen, where he cooks his Thanksgiving meal.

The New York Times see Snapchat as a platform for reportage, so each of their stories have a structure, a point. This new format allows them to share “unfiltered”, truthful, casual content, which shows each editor’s personality yet upholds the company’s standards.

The Times’ team admit that they’re still trying to figure out what the use of Snapchat really is, but it’s undoubtable that it helps them to attract new audiences, especially the millenials, that weren’t a part of their readership yet. They also continue looking for new ways to tell a story, which can bring more viewers. What is more, just like many other publishers The Times is exploring ways of monetization.

 

Can brands monetize on Snapchat?

Finding a way to earn money through Snapchat and measure ROI of certain campaigns is actually harder than it seems. For now the choice is pretty limited for media companies and mostly includes “hacks” like screenshots through Emoticode or storytelling/affiliate offers other than Snapchat’s official tools.

However, the app’s team is currently working on improving its monetization capabilities. One of the recent changes is incorporating video ads in between your friends’ Snaps. Snapchat’s team don’t want to overwhelm the users, so they won’t see an ad between every story their friends share, but they will definitely notice the changes. Will paid ads change the way consumers interact with the platform?

For now 74% of users admit that they love Snapchat mostly for a snap and chat with friends, not celebrities and brands’ updates. It’s actually understandable, because that’s what this app is originally made for. All of the current features appeared much later. As for advertising, 87% users admit that they never buy something after they saw it on the app. 12% already feel like there’s way too many ads on Snapchat, so will they be able to tolerate the changes? Hopefully, yes, because it’s a price that they pay for using the app free.

All in all, Snapchat has awesome perspectives, but there’s still a lot of work to do on their way up. They still need to make the app more marketing-friendly and offer better ways to target, advertise and analyse. Ahead of major changes brands should keep searching for new ways to create attention-grabbing, valuable and relevant content.

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