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Here’s Why You’re Not Excited Enough About Snapchat’s “Discover”

By January 28, 2015No Comments4 min read

Yesterday, Snapchat released something they call “Discover.” It’s a new feature that allows users to receive content provided by media companies. Current participants include National Geographic, Vice, ESPN, and more. Eleven participants in all. It’s a very serious play on the company’s part because it puts it in a very aggressive place with the overall user interface of the app. It completely changes how the app is even used.

“Snapchat is basically handing these brands the under twenty-five demo.”

This is a very exciting step forward for Snapchat, and I am beyond thrilled. It only makes me think I’m more right, because it shows two things that I have always been preaching. One is the explosion of content and companies becoming media companies, putting out their own content. And secondly is the importance of mobile being first. Not TV, not desktop. Mobile. Native apps are evolving and maturing to that understanding. The phone is the first screen now.

One of the things that is most interesting in this update is that it allows Snapchat to control what content is at the forefront. In a world where the algorithm is more likely to control this, (like in Facebook’s case) this is big. Snapchat has gone out and made deals that allow them to curate some of the top content providers in the world in this one spot. It actually gives them a lot more power in the micromanagement of what shows up on the Discover page.

A lot of people are going to run to this with huge excitement. A lot of people are going to pay attention to this and be interested. The brands that are launching as partners have an enormous relationship with Snapchat, and they are getting great equity for it. Why? 71% of Snapchatters are under twenty-five, and there are 100 million users active monthly. Snapchat is basically handing these brands the under twenty-five demo.

“It’s an entirely new cadence, a new method of consumption.”

This might be the update that finally wakes up the forty-five to sixty-five year olds who are just not realizing how serious this app can be. It absolutely dominates the under twenty-five year old demo like we saw above. Ultimately, that is where you want to be. I can assure you that these eleven media companies have absolutely gained a level of traction with that demo purely because of this move. There is going to be enormous exposure for them.

Of course, like anything else, this feature will evolve. I’m curious to see if we start getting another ten or fifteen or even thirty media companies added. Are you going to be able to move the icons around and have your own customizable homepage? Have the content providers you want? Are they going to give other content providers that are not media companies an opportunity to play in there?

Time will tell. It’s a huge step forward, and there is a lot to play with in there. It has restrictions, but that’s part of Snapchat’s DNA. It’s a smart move, a big leverage point for those eleven partners. Can’t wait to see how they cash in. The swiping up and down, the tapping through stories, the new motions it provides: it’s an entirely new cadence, a new method of consumption.

This is not a small feat. It’s a big deal. And I couldn’t be more excited.

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