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Can Snapchat finally become a viable platform for advertisers?

This week, Snapchat made its first real pitch to advertisers and content publishers in the form of Snapchat Discovery, a new feature set to be released in November.

Snapchat Discovery will be a new feature that allows brands and media companies to distribute small pieces of content to Snapchat users that disappear after being viewed. This content can be news articles, short video clips, pictures and advertisements.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, here’s what the new feature would look like:

The product would let users read daily editions of publications as well as watch video clips of TV shows or movies by holding down a finger on the screen, like they do with photos and other messages on the app before disappearing.

Although Snapchat has yet to make the announcement publicly, The Wall Street Journal reports that the app has been approaching content publishers such as The Daily Mail as well as advertisers with a full fledged pitch about its capabilities as a marketing platform:

To help make the pitch, 24-year-old [Snapchat] Chief Executive Evan Spiegel has spent time in recent weeks meeting with ad executives in New York.

In a slide presentation shown at some of those meetings, Snapchat said that users send more than 700 million “snaps,” or vanishing messages, a day; over 50% of the app’s users are aged 13 to 17; and that the average user checks his account 14 times a day, according to marketing news site Digiday.

Brands such as Taco Bell, McDonald’s and Rebecca Minkoff have already been using Snapchat to run competitions, offer sneak peeks at new products and to entertain fans with creative content. Other savvy brands have leveraged the massive social media reach of Vine celebrities, asking them to craft content on their behalf on Snapchat. 

However, these marketing strategies depended heavily on building a following on Snapchat first, or taking advantage of somebody else’s following. By sending content to your fans, you’re essentially preaching to the choir, even if it does keep them entertained and loyal. With Snapchat Discovery, brands could reach people who wouldn’t normally follow them, opening a whole new world of customer acquisition and content marketing. 

Till now, there was no formal channel through which brands could use the platform, or pay to reach its rapidly growing audience. And that audience is an extremely desired one among advertisers. Snapchat is wildly popular among the age 12-24 demographic, eclipsing even Facebook in terms of how much it is used everyday. Any brand that can build up a following on Snapchat can expect to create early customers who will remain loyal for years after. 

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