You best know Snapchat as a way for high schoolers to send risqué photos without risking collateral damage, but it hasn't stopped the company from becoming a daily staple for a surprisingly diverse number of social media users, not to mention a multi-billion dollar business. According to Snapchat’s latest SEC filing, the app boasts more than 100 million active monthly users, 70% of those being women, and 71% under the age of 25. Past success is no future guarantee, and Snapchat knows as well as we do what happened to AIM, MySpace (and could have happened to Facebook without Instagram?). We think that’s why Snapchat is making a play to expand its audience, and its latest bet is called Discover.
Snapchat Discover is a way for users to access news in the same app they use to send ugly selfies to their friends. It seems counterintuitive, but maybe it’s not. Building on its current popularity, Snapchat has convinced news outlets to pay for advertising in the form of content within the app that—perhaps not so difficult now that it’s one millions of people already use. The user is able to skip paid content much in the same way as editorial content, slipping advertisements seamlessly into the user experience.
Snapchat’s appeal to users historically has been the ability view moments shared by real people, but what happens when businesses and news outlets shove their way into the mix? Are users truly “discovering” something if the entire user base is “discovering” the same information at the same time? Perhaps the name isn’t meant to be taken so literally. The content strategists at Snapchat have an interesting task ahead in figuring out what kind of content works here best. But hey, if Snapchat can reach a $19 billion valuation cashing in on selfies, anything is possible.
Whether or not the social-savvy millennials who make up Snapchat’s target audience take the Discovery bait, it’ll be interesting to watch. Check out Beutler Ink’s tech review below to familiarize yourself with Snapchat Discover and its abilities. What do you think about the app’s plunge into the digital newsroom?