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In 2011, the “vanishing content” revolution began with Picaboo, a simple messaging app that allowed users to send photos and videos, text-like, to other Picaboo users. Relaunched two months later as Snapchat, the app’s distinguishing factor was its ephemerality; every message would disappear after 10 seconds or less, inspiring millions of users and brands to begin experimenting with the benefits of temporary content and the attention-grabbing immediacy it created.
Snapchat’s growth led to new features like Our Story, which allowed individual Snaps to be stitched together to create a coherent (albeit vanishing) narrative, and Discover, which made the new communication medium created by Our Story (now simply called “Stories”) available to media outlets like ESPN, People, Vice, National Geographic, CNN, and others. Now, Snapchat’s publishing capabilities have attracted a plethora of magazines, publishers, and traditional media companies eager to capitalize on the app’s ever-growing audiences and high engagement rates.
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The importance of Snapchat Discovery, as both a viable communication tool and an outlet for advertising, should not be understated. BuzzFeed, for example, recently reported that a large percentage of the brand’s total content views (21%) come from Snapchat Discover. Only Facebook native video accounted for a larger percentage of BuzzFeed’s total content views, at 27% (Contagious).
Because Snapchat has only made Discover available to a select few media outlets and publishers, smaller media companies and magazines are now launching their own organic Snapchat accounts to supplement—or in some cases, entirely replace—their primary publishing content.
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The following are three examples of publishers, magazine, and/or media companies who are effectively utilizing Snapchat to develop their brand and capture the attention of the platform’s massive audiences.
Launched as a way to provide Snapchat users with behind-the-scenes access to engaging content and alluring photo shoots, mobile media company ArsenicTV has amassed an audience of half a million followers by marketing to young men. ArsenicTV’s Snapchat account is now the brand’s primary publishing platform and serves as the perfect example of how media companies can leverage Snapchat’s features to attract audiences.
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The millennial-focused news outlet created a personal Snapchat account to provide audiences with additional content and increase brand awareness among the app’s young user base. The publisher now generates high levels of engagement by providing followers with all-access insights into late-breaking events, short news updates, games, and more.
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Complex is a youth lifestyle media platform that curates popular news and culture stories for its thriving digital and paper magazine. Complex’s Snapchat channel serves both as a way for the brand to promote its content and a means for providing users with exclusive access to concerts, behind-the-scenes experiences, and goings-on around Complex’s New York City office.