Snapchat Discover: Taking stories more seriously

Snapchat was the fastest growing mobile app in 2014. The GlobalWebIndex reported a 56% increase in usage, a statistic that seems even more remarkable when you recall the way that Snapchat brought in the New Year.

But Snapchat is off to a better start this year with the announcement of its “Discover” feature. Discover allows users to experience content put together by the editorial staffs of outlets like CNN, Cosmopolitan, ESPN, Food Network, National Geographic and People. The content, which is updated every 24 hours, includes everything from news stories, to interactive quizzes, to short documentaries, to recipes and celebrity gossip.

As for ads, I only ran into one. Much to my surprise I was able to slide it away immediately. Even if ads don’t become mandatory viewing in the near future, Discover’s layout paired with creative ad design could keep a user watching for a bit. The BMW ad I saw looked very much like another CNN story.

News on Snapchat has the potential to do a story justice while still being incredibly engaging. When I wrote about the Charlotte Five earlier this month, I appreciated their efforts to reach a younger audience, but understood my classmate Jenny Surane‘s aversion to what seemed to be dumbed down news. CNN stories on Snapchat have a page with audio, pictures or video that serves as a headline, and video or text presenting the highlights of the news below. An attention-grabbing headline page could encourage some users to give the story a try. I look forward to watching as other news outlets join and grapple with the balance between entertaining and informing.


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