Snapchat Discover – a new way to keep up to date

5 min

Snapchat’s popularity is well established. As of early 2022, the famous photo sharing social network boasted more than 18 million daily active users in France [1]. Since 2016, several major media outlets have set out to conquer Snapchat users thanks to Discover, an innovative editorial format that allows them to reach a wider (and overall younger) target than their usual readership.


A very selective media space

In France, the Snapchat Discover feature appeared in September 2016. Discover is an editorial, informative format that allows major media companies to create specific content for Snapchat, i.e., short videos giving news summaries in under a minute.

Snapchat Discover is made up of curated short programmes, sometimes serious and other times entertaining, created by major media outlets. The format isn’t intended for brands or influencers, it’s earmarked for media with large audiences such as national and international papers, sports magazines, and alternative online news sources. The media companies in question have had to appropriate Snapchat’s culture in order to reach a younger audience less receptive to traditional formats. After all, the 13-24 age group constitutes a significant portion of Snapchat users.


A new way of producing current affairs

Snapchat Discover is a short editorial format, which aims to be effective and impactful. Snapchat users have no time to waste; they’re used to sending and opening snaps that are only a few seconds long, and which self-destruct almost as quickly as they appear.

Major media companies found themselves faced with a creative and strategic challenge. The goal was to find the right formula to capture the attention of a younger audience, while producing striking and quality content less than a minute long. It was a major challenge, particularly for traditional media such as national newspapers and international press, which have joined the Discover programme in recent years.

In its early days, the Discover feature only allowed for the creation of written content. Then, it expanded to video format, which is more flexible and engaging.

The most popular Discover shows on Snapchat:

  • Offer exclusive content that can only be found on Snapchat
  • Opt for a playful and/or educational tone
  • Grab attention with impactful content that speaks to a young audience

Some examples of media present on Snapchat Discover

When it was launched at the end of 2016, the Snapchat Discover programme had only eight media partners in France. Gradually, with the ability to create video content, other brands joined the adventure.

Some of the most well-known French media companies currently on Snapchat Discover include:

  • 20 minutes
  • Le Monde
  • Europe 1
  • Society
  • Topito
  • RMC
  • Arte
  • Chef Club

As you can see, there are as many traditional media companies (television, radio, and newspapers) as there are pure players, and as many general news organisations as specialised press publishers. This gives Snapchat users the choice among a wide variety of content, on themes as diverse as recipes, weird and wonderful news stories, breaking news, social topics, sport, culture…

A good example of a successful Snapchat Discover program is “Ma tête et moi” (My Head and Me), the daily show by 20 Minutes devoted to young people’s mental health. The programme was launched at the end of 2021, to respond to a growing concern among teenagers and young adults regarding their psychological wellbeing. “Ma tête et moi” takes the form of a short, weekly post, both educational and touching, in which young people with mental disorders come to share their experiences. The programme has been very well received in the Snapchat community, with an audience of up to 255,000 viewers per show [2]. 20 Minutes decided to renew the “Ma tête et moi” experience with a second season that launched in April 2022.


What’s the point of Snapchat Discover?

Snapchat Discover enables media companies to reach an increasingly volatile and demanding audience, as short story-like formats prevail over long articles and long broadcasts. For several years now, the traditional media have been losing ground among young people; social networks have gradually established themselves as a major source of information and entertainment, to the detriment of television, radio, and newspapers. This is particularly true for Generation Z, teenagers and young adults born after 1997.

Snapchat Discover connects the two worlds, and allows the media to develop their creativity to stay in the game. This creativity pays off, as evidenced by audience statistics. Between 2019 and 2020, the time spent on Snapchat Discover increased by 45% [3], a great success for the media companies concerned. Le Monde alone already had more than 1.4 million subscribers on Snapchat in 2021 [4], which makes the social network an important acquisition channel for the national daily paper.


How to appear on Snapchat Discover

Not just anyone can get a spot on Snapchat Discover. No, it’s a program with an editorial vocation, intended for the media only and not for brands. The companies and content curated are selected by human editors and not by algorithms, with demanding access conditions. This makes it possible to guarantee Discover’s primary objective, which is to offer its users relevant content, from legitimate sources.

That said, even if brands can’t launch a dedicated promotional programme on Discover, they have recently been able to take advantage of this channel’s strong audience through the Snapchat advertising network. In 2020, the Snap Select format was launched, which allows advertisers to appear on Discover shows in a six-second full-screen video format. As the name suggests, Snap Select is a selective format, coming in at a higher fixed rate than regular Snapchat Ads.

That said, thanks to the popularity of Discover shows, which can attract hundreds of thousands of users, the ROI of the Snap Select format is very high. Coca-Cola is one the most often cited examples. They increased sales by 3.6% after running a Snap Select ad in 2019. The potential of Snapchat Discover in terms of exposure for brands is therefore far from negligible!


[1] Médiamétrie January 2022