PR and marketing pros using (or considering) Snapchat for content distribution are in for a welcome surprise.
Snap, the platform’s parent company, recently announced that users will soon be able to share Snapchat Stories outside of the app—meaning you can push your Snapchat videos and images to platforms such as Facebook and Twitter or include links in emails and newsletters.
Stories eligible for sharing right now include those Official Stories and Our Stories found in the Discover tab, as well as Search Stories, though Snapchat says those are just what’s included “at launch,” which indicates that the types of Stories you could share will expand over time. This feature is also going live to anyone running the redesigned Snapchat app as of today, which includes test markets like Australia and Canada, and will become available for iOS and Android over the next few weeks to the rest of the world as the redesign expands globally.
Official Stories (those publicly shared by verified users) will be available for 24 hours, and other stories—including publishers’ content—will be available for 30 days.
Users will be able to share Official Stories and unpartnered Our Stories as well as Search Stories, a spokesperson said. To do this, users should open the app and press and hold the Story’s icon in the Discover portion of the app. This will pull up more information about the story including an option to “share” it. Once a user chooses “Share Story” they’ll see the options for where they’d like to share the link for the Story outside of Snapchat.
Users can share these stories on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and those who don’t use Snapchat can view the content on Story Player, via Snapchat.com.
[FREE WEBINAR: Join us Nov. 12 for our Unifying the Digital Workplace Webinar]
Snap says that part of its motivation for launching this feature is to allow users to share content from within the app to demonstrate to people who aren’t already on the platform what it can do. It’s also aiming to make it easier for outside parties, including media outlets, to incorporate Snap-based content in their reporting.
Snap’s announcement serves to do more than just show off what Snapchat’s potential is, however. The platform is struggling to compete for user growth and attention as competitor Facebook has expanded its own Stories features, as well as additional sharing capabilities on Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp.
Last week, Facebook announced a desktop upload tool for its Stories feature, hoping to entice Facebookers to create content on more than just their mobile. Today, Instagram rolls out a new GIF integration, which lets users animate Instagram Stories with selections from Giphy’s library. Even WhatsApp makes a Stories feature now, which as of this month integrates with Instagram Stories so you can cross-post content.
It’s easy to imagine Snapchat fuming at all of this. The platform didn’t just popularize the concept of Stories—it pioneered them. And now, in a social media landscape crowded with copycats, Snapchat is slipping behind.
By enabling content to be shared outside of Snapchat, the platform not only hopes to attract more users, but also hopes it can sweeten the deal for brand managers who want to expand their content’s reach.
Snapchat’s move to court publishers comes amid major content-strategy-related changes. As part of a staff reorganization, the company laid off about 24 employees, mainly from its content division, last week. Snapchat plans to fully roll out its app redesign, which will divide publisher and friend content into separate feeds, by the end of Q1 2018. The redesign could improve discoverability and ultimately lead to more views of publisher content and Snapchat ads.
Pushing Snapchat Stories to other online platforms can also help Snap appeal to its partners who might be disappointed in lackluster views within the app.
Business Insider reported:
Consumption of publisher content on Discover Edition — which hosts publishers’ digital magazines on the app — peaked in July 2017 at 38 million daily users, according to The Daily Beast. This represents just 21% of Snapchat’s 178 million daily user base. Low Discover Edition engagement could cause publishers to allocate fewer resources to the section.
Snapchat said its app redesign, which separates branded content from images and video shared by friends, can also help boost views to marketers’ Stories.
On Jan. 18, Snapchat’s new platform content head Mike Su emailed publishers to introduce Snapchat longtimer Josh Stone as its new manager of media partnerships, a new role overseeing day-to-day work with Discover publishers. Su, a former exec at Snapchat Discover partner Mitú, also announced a first-time publisher summit and affirmed the platform’s strong interest in helping publishers be successful on the platform, multiple publishers confirmed. There were no details about the summit or a date set.
“As Evan [Spiegel, CEO of Snap,] mentioned on our previous earnings call, content is one of our top three priorities in 2018, and your success on Snapchat is at the heart of that. So we’re going to push harder and be more proactive with helping you succeed on Snapchat. This means finding more ways we can work together, more ways to support your business goals, and being more proactive with sharing insights and best practices to help your teams improve content quality and reach more of your audience, while continuing the support the team has already been providing,” Su wrote.
Snapchat’s decision to court brand managers might be seen as a welcome change to many communicators in the wake of Facebook’s announcement that branded content will be less prominent inusers’ news feeds.
However, Snap’s goal of growing its platform to stand against Facebook and Twitter is a tall order.
Snap is mum about whether it will look to sell advertising against publicly shared stories in the future, but that could be a way of making money for a company in dire need of new revenue streams—its expenses currently far outstrip its revenue. But given that its user base is small in comparison with competitors like Twitter and Facebook (around 180 million, versus 330 million and 1.4 billion, respectively), it’s unclear how much of a difference ad sales would make. Snapchat would still have to convince users its content is intrinsically more interesting than (or, at least, equally interesting as) its competitors’, and convince content creators that it’s worth publishing to its platform over Facebook, YouTube, or anywhere else. That’s an especially difficult challenge in a competitive environment where other platforms, like Facebook, can now seemingly copy anything Snapchat does, rapidly and effectively.
Are you more likely to consider Snapchat’s Stories as a distribution vehicle? Share your thoughts in the comments.