With over 100,000,000 active users and stories that get 1 billion views per day, Snapchat is no longer an app just for teenagers. In fact, the introduction of their newest feature, “Discover,” gives brands and advertisers a whole new way to reach people on their mobile devices.


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If you need a Snapchat 101, this article does a pretty good job of explaining it all. The TL;DR version is that users share photos, videos, and messages on their phones that self-destruct after you view them. My friends and I use it for everything from snaps of our cocktails to videos of our kids running around, so the user base has started to grow from just teens to a more mainstream audience. The beauty of Snapchat is in the “10 seconds or less” concept – for that moment you’re looking at a snap, you can’t do anything else or you’ll miss it. It captures attention in a way that no other medium has thus far.

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Discover is Snapchat’s latest brainchild, an internet magazine style publishing platform with twelve channels. Snapchat partnered with major media publishers like CNN, Yahoo! and People to deliver daily video, audio and written content that expires after 24 hours. It’s single serving news, tailored to the channel you choose. Cosmopolitan is giving dating tips and photos of hot guys. Yahoo! has video of Katie Couric reading short headlines to introduce the full written stories, just a swipe below. And Comedy Central leverages Throwback Thursday to show clips of older shows that they syndicate. Every publisher has created a sort of “mini-magazine”, available for only that day, and they all intend for you to come back tomorrow.

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It’s unclear if Snapchat ever plans to expand these channels to other brands, since they’ve incorporated a “big fish, little pond” approach to advertising in the past. What is definite is the advertising potential – major players like BMW,  McDonald’s, and Victoria’s Secret have already been advertising on the Discover platform. Snapchat is offering ad revenue share to its publishing partners, with the potential to earn 50-75% commission on the ads they sell. Advertising rates for Snapchat in the past are rumored to be as high as $750,000 per DAY. To back those numbers, they claim 2/3rds of their active users open the app every day, and that the first day of Discover pulled views in the millions.

But the payoff potential is huge – it’s no secret that the younger generations get their news, entertainment, and sports from different avenues than traditional media. So where you may never reach a 19-year-old on CNN, that same teenager could rely on the CNN channel of Discover to get all of their news for the day. Someone who would never dream of buying a CD when Spotify is available could shell out the money after seeing a new artist’s music video on the Warner Music channel. In between the beautiful photos from National Geographic, a person who would never give a second glance at a sidebar ad could encounter an interactive ad from Nikon. Because the content they’re producing is so creative and fun to interact with, the ads are going to have to step up their game and match that content to fit in.

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So what if you don’t have a million dollars to advertise on Snapchat? Other brands are using the Story feature to build their brand. Users have to go through a two-step process to even access your content; first, they’ll have to follow you on Snapchat, then they’ll have to decide whether to view your story when it pops up in their feed. The advantage to this? You’ll be reaching the most engaged, biggest fans of your business. Taco Bell is using Stories to introduce new products, give sneak peeks at upcoming promotions, and share special discounts. Birchbox shows off products they’re testing and give previews of future video tutorials. MTV is currently giving an insider-look at New York Fashion Week with behind-the-scenes photos and videos.

Snapchat stories offer brands an interesting opportunity, because they don’t require the same polish that Instagram requires, and there’s no algorithmic filter like Facebook to block you from your followers. Snapchat can be a great way to show your fans the behind-the-scenes on how you make your product. You could use it to give a face to the smiling customer service reps that interact with your customers. You could tease sneak-peek videos of upcoming events. The potential for Snapchat, as of right now, is endless – even if each snap only lasts a few seconds.