Who would’ve thought a little yellow ghost would be so visible? With roughly 8 billion views a day, Snapchat now matches Facebook in video traffic.
While many of those views might be eight-second video “stories” of your neighbor’s cat chasing its own tail or a transient four-second photo of the burger your brother ate for lunch, Snapchat’s rapid growth can also be attributed to content sharing outside your circle of friends and family.
Many brands have harnessed Snapchat’s popularity to reach their audience through the “Stories” feature. The 24-hour feed of 10-second video or picture messages (called “Snaps”) caters to the millennial desire for quick, straightforward content. Each video or photo captures a real-time moment, allowing brands to establish a unique, personal connection with their followers.
Among these highly-viewed accounts are magazine brands.
Take New York Fashion Week this past February. Fans could follow brands like Marie Claire, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, GQ, New York Magazine’s fashion blog The Cut, and Time Inc.’s own InStyle for behind-the-scenes footage of the runway shows and events. This exclusive insider access—and even the fleeting nature of the content—is what makes Snapchat so appealing to its users. Brands can offer their followers authentic, exciting visual stories, whether it’s a Snap from an A-list after-party, or just a peek into the magazine’s office culture.
Snapchat’s “Discover” platform is another outlet top magazines are using to reach their audience.
In the first section at the top of the Stories screen—and on it’s own Discover page just a few swipes left—you’ll find 21 colorful icons featuring recognizable media brands such as CNN, MTV, BuzzFeed, and Food Network. This select group of editorial channels offers a more polished, news-centric counterpart to Stories.
Time Inc.’s People magazine is among the elite brands to have a Discover channel, along with National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, and Hearst’s own direct-to-Snapchat publication, Sweet. Each channel features easily digestible editions of the magazines with full screen photos, videos, and articles that change daily. Users can tap each channel icon to open an edition, swipe left to browse Snaps, or swipe up on a Snap to learn more.
This quick, animated, tappable content targets millennials who consume media constantly throughout the day. And while users stay within Snapchat’s world, never clicking through to a magazine’s site, publishers are optimistic about the app’s reach—many staffing entire teams devoted to developing their brand’s presence on the app. Some might even follow Hearst’s lead and boldly venture into the direct-to-Snapchat publishing realm.
At the most recent American Magazine Media Conference, Snapchat CEO and co-founder Evan Spiegel alluded to future developments in the app that would help strengthen the relationship between Snapchat and magazines. His plans include more Discover publishing partners, as well as opportunities to drive engagement with the current publishers and advertisers.
Don’t let the app’s vanishing Snaps fool you—this little ghost isn’t going away anytime soon.