TL;DR: Despite what you might have heard, Snapchat isn’t dead. In fact, this is the beginning of a major shift that will bring Snap users more value than ever. Snap, Inc. has plans to overtake major television networks with content that is authentic, raw, uninterrupted and straight from the source. And where the eyeballs go, so does the money.
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This is it. The moment you’ve been waiting for all awards season. The most glamorous red carpet event is finally here. Only this time you’re experiencing it from the best seat in the house. No, not on the front row nestled between Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington. Although, it may feel like you are (without the hassle of wardrobe fittings and spending hours in the hair and makeup chair). Instead you’re experiencing it straight from the celebrities you admire most as they give you an exclusive, uninterrupted view of Hollywood’s most elite from their eyes. You’re getting a first look at their swanky attire up close and personal. Panicking with them over the thought of losing their million dollar Harry Winston jewels. Even celebrating their evening as you both enjoy late night pizza. Not a single network television host (or commercial) in sight.
Sound Too Good to be True?
Snap, Inc. — the artist formerly known as Snapchat — has officially taken power away from the network and allowed users the opportunity to curate their very own event experience filled with authentic, raw, emotionally-driven content straight from the source. Simply put, Snap is overtaking TV and bringing its audience of 150 million active viewers with them. And where the eyeballs go, so does the money.
Own Your Network
Snapchat is aiming to become the first screen for its engaged audience. While Twitter depends on a user seeing something and then reacting, Snapchat provides us with a primary perspective from the authority. Why? Because we don’t want to be limited to a network’s point of view in the form of a cheesy, sometimes painfully awkward, talk show host. Snapchat brings us to the actual routines, thoughts and chaos of athletes, politicians, sponsors, the makeup artist in the green room and allows us to opt into our own networks.
There’s no doubt a significant shift in the way we use Snapchat has developed. An app that was once used to send photos to friends is evolving into a consumption platform with Discover growing from 12 partners to more than 40. To take it a step further, Snap is determined to lure TV production studios to create original series on the app. Networks like BBC, ESPN, NBC and, most recently, MGM Television were eager to invest in this opportunity as an effort to tap into Snapchat’s millennial-heavy user base. PBS has even produced two short interactive films for distribution on Snapchat making POV the first documentary series created specifically for the app.
Curated Commercials for Advertisers
The transition from active creation to passive consumption adds a new element for advertisers as we disregard the one size fits all mentality. Now we can fine tune and micro-target thanks to our own personal surveillance devices (smart phones). Snap can build upon what has worked for cable TV with curated programming by bundling similar users and putting ads on their channels, something this phone-first generation is already accustomed. For example, the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau brand channel could programmatically tailor content for foodies and partner with the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival to buy a slot. The festival then creates content for the ACVB that complements their foodie-centric series. This becomes a win-win as the brand doesn’t have to create every piece of original content. They can curate it, too, while still delivering what that user wants.
Friends with Benefits
As other social networks utilize hashtags, explore feeds and ever-changing algorithms, we’re likely to see Snapchat’s interface for discovering other users and brands become more complex. On Instagram, you’re shown content based on who you follow and posts you’ve engaged with. On Facebook, sponsored ads featuring that bed you’ve been eyeing follow you around like a creepy ex-boyfriend. How does Snap tap into this sophisticated approach at discovery? Their high user engagement activity is a good starting point. Let’s say you’ve just opened Snapchat to catch up on the latest puppy videos your friend never fails to post. That’s when you get a notification that another friend is currently watching Planet Earth Part III on the Discovery Channel’s Snapchat channel. Since you’re already there to watch puppy videos, why not pop over to that channel and get more face time with other adorable animals? After a few minutes gushing over baby penguins, you want to know what other furry critters are out there. Surprise! Snapchat has curated a selection of relevant channels based on what you and your friends are watching. All while chatting back and forth making sure Nicole didn’t miss the latest episode of “Are you fur real?”
Creating a deeper social viewing experience seems like a natural next step for the platform and one that may happen sooner rather than later. Big things are coming from Snap, and if your brand currently does not have an account, now’s the chance to build your audience before it gets more and more expensive. To help you get started, here is a list of must-follow brands and influencers on Snapchat that continue to impress:
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