Snap Judgement: Snapchat Discover

February 19, 2015

Susie Dagastino

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Snapchat isn’t just for embarrassing selfies and leaked nudes anymore. With their launch of the new Discover component, users can access sponsored posts in a new and interactive way.

For those unfamiliar with Snapchat, it is a photo messaging app that has become wildly popular, particularly amongst millennials. Features allow users to send images and videos that can be customized with text and drawings for a decided amount of time under 10 seconds. Once the time on the image has expired, the message is deleted. For this reason, Snapchat has not always gotten the cleanest reputation. Imagine what pictures would you send if you send if you knew they would be deleted forever.

Regardless, some brands have attempted to penetrate this market, setting up accounts as individuals in an effort to reach Snapchat users. Now finally, brands can monetize the app that has previously been viewed as a private experience. Snapchat has recently released “Discover” – an accessible way where consumers will actually want to see content from advertisers.


The update was subtle, but most users took note immediately. A user can press an unobtrusive button in the top right corner of their “Stories” page. This takes them to a slightly similar experience where users can view information from any of the participating advertisers.


Stories update every 24 hours with new content because Snapchat says “what’s news today is history tomorrow.” They’re exactly right, which is part of the allure of Snapchat.

The component that will make this update successful is that the content is made for Snapchat. The advertisers are not repurposing content for the platform- they are intentional in what they put on the app. It would be absurd to think that a millennial, or anyone for that matter, would patiently watch an entire news story while their phone is constantly dinging with notifications of the next thing that will take their attention.

Their interactive format is eye catching and urges you to view more. The teaser is usually a GIF or interactive video that loops, encouraging you to scroll up to read more or swipe to the left to see the next story. There are usually around 5-7 stories per advertiser and toward the end of the story they invite you to “come back tomorrow.”


Now the kicker is, of course, the price. Advertisers will pay $750,000 for one day of advertising. Minimum. That’s not including cost for staff, production, and other expenses on creating the content. Adweek reported that content could be seen over 10MM views per day from Snapchat’s 100MM user base.

That level of cost is not going to be sustainable for many brands if Snapchat wants to maintain consistent content and draw in new advertisers. It’s hard to ignore that there are only 12 advertisers included in the discover section. They are mostly news and multimedia companies and have not varied since Snapchat has unveiled Discover. Surely Snapchat is talking to other companies about getting involved, but reason stands that they will have to lower their prices to get more advertisers.

The future of this update could offer customization to which advertisers you get to follow. Similar to the app store, you could search for categories such as news, food & drink, health & fitness, entertainment, sports, etc. Users could be able to select which advertisers they would like to follow. Ideally, all advertisers that are followed would be on the main Discover page and you could explore more content in a drop down menu.

Now that Snapchat is able to monetize their business in a new way, it will be interesting to see how they continue their advertising model. They will likely be very sensitive to their user base considering that millennials are unforgiving of ads. However, Snapchat will undoubtedly have new suitors, or potential advertisers, lining the streets to hear more.


Blog header image courtesy of MAHATHIR MOHD YASIN /

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