A new and compellingly engaging way to access digital content has been unveiled this week by Snapchat in the form of its new “Discover” feature, which lets you see the latest (and continually updated) daily offerings from brand partners like Warner Music, Vice, CNN, ESPN, Comedy Central, The Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan, Food Network and National Geographic. Snapchat’s own editorial staff also supply content.
The stories on offer (according to the company’s blog post on 27th January) will feature “full screen photos and videos, awesome long form layouts, and gorgeous advertising.” Discover is, effectively, a continually-on, daily-refreshed channel guide, a portal delivering Snapchat’s infamous disappearing content alongside subtle, interstitial brand advertisements (most of which can be skipped). And it’s quite probably the company’s most important feature initiative in its history, putting media at the very forefront of its product.
The new feature represents quite the latest incarnation of an evolving change in Snapchat’s original modus operandi: it began, many will recall, as a friendship-based network that required one user to have the other’s phone number saved. Before content could be shared, a request had to be sent. Then along came “Our Stories”, which allowed Snapchat to test how its users responded to non-friend contact: a kind of collaborative timeline, it lets users send a snap of an event they’re attending to an aggregated content stream from the particular show or event. Anyone from anywhere in the world can then watch the event play out live by viewing the snaps sent by users who are attending it.
The new feature is a breeze to use: just swipe left and a screen of buttons appears, each one of which opens daily “Editions” from specific media partners. You might get a pre-roll first, like “CNN, brought to you by BMW,” but then you’ll see the first chapter of the edition. If you want to explore the content more, simply swipe up; if you want to go back to the Discover screen, just swipe down. The content isn’t in the form of lengthy text articles. Rather, it’s more of a “quick hit” visual about something attention-grabbing – great if you’re on the hoof and you’ve only got a few moments to grab a little entertainment.
We think it’s going to big.