As a closed platform, Snapchat doesn’t send traffic to sites, so the effort can be hard to justify unless they’re getting a lot of views and ads. And with 16 separate channels in Discover, each publisher now has to work all the harder to compete for attention.
Publishers that aren’t in Discover are still finding ways to use the disappearing-message app to connect with followers, though, and with fewer resources. As Mic, The Washington Post, The Verge and The Huffington Post described, the advantage of Snapchat Stories is that it lets them connect with millennials (and often their most loyal readers, given you have to make an extra effort to follow an account) in a raw, personal way that’s not possible on Discover or other social platforms.
The news publisher for millennials adds to its Snapchat Story daily, using a variety of formats including news updates in under a minute; behind-the-scenes at a news event; and interactive quizzes and games. Recent posts included McDonald’s customers’ reaction to its new all-day breakfast and images from the Democratic debate in Iowa, including Mic reporters setting up in the spin room. “Any kind of access — we know that’s what our audience craves,” said Joel Pavelski, head of programming of Mic.
Mic makes a point of using Snapchat to engage with followers, whether through games or soliciting feedback, as it did recently when it asked people about microaggressions they’ve experienced. Snapchat data is hard to come by — publishers say Snapchat tells them how many views and completed views their stories get — but Mic said 2 to 5 per cent of its viewers reply to its Snaps, or as much as 12 per cent when the feedback is solicited. Nearly half (45 per cent) of its followers come back daily, suggesting a loyal user base.
Given Snapchat’s success in hooking millennials during the debate, Mic believes it’s important to be there. “Snapchat’s coverage is going to be really useful, and it’s kind of the wild, wild west,” Pavelski said. “Right now, the time for experimentation is really exciting.”
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