Condé Nast is hoping to find millennials on Snapchat. After inking a deal with Snapchat to create stories—the strings of photos and videos curated at venues—around events like Vanity Fair’s Oscar party in October 2015 and setting up a permanent Discover channel for Vogue, the New York publisher is making a bigger bet on mobile content.
Starting this month, GQ, Wired and Self will begin publishing weekly editions to Discover, the section of the app where 20-something publishers crank out mobile content. Time Inc. and Hearst also run multiple channels alongside content from big-name publishers like The Washington Post and The New York Times that reach millions of people every day. As part of the investment in Snapchat, Matt Starker, general manager of digital at Condé Nast, said the company is building a team to help publishers create more content.
“We’re ready to invest in the platform; we like the results,” Starker said. “The way that we are looking at results are: Does it have a big audience, is the audience engaging with our content for a long period of time? The answers were yes and yes.”
Condé Nast is filling roles for designers, visual editors and motion-graphics specialists to work with each publisher’s editorial team. “They’re going to be getting new resources to complement the team—the creative team or the brand can decide how they allocate the new work,” Starker said. He declined to say how big the new team will be but did describe it as “significant.” A current job opening on Condé Nast’s website says a Snapchat channel manager is tasked with creating 15 to 20 stories a week while working with editorial teams on strategy, audience development and analytics.
Condé Nast has previously created special editions and pop-up content for Vanity Fair, W and Self. The publisher plans to scale up Discover production to create more than weekly content, but Starker declined to discuss timing. He also declined to provide stats on past efforts but said “millions” of users look at the editions.
After testing Discover with a mini takeover edition in November, Carolyn Kylstra, editor in chief of Self, said the app opens up a new audience and requires a different approach to content but not necessarily different content.
In terms of analytics, Kylstra said her team looks at the average time people spend in an edition, completion rates and swipe-up rates.
“The content that is interesting that performs and does well on Snapchat is honestly the same type of content that performs on Instagram or Facebook or everywhere else that we exist—it’s just a matter of translating it in the Snapchat language,” she said. “Every edition has Snapchat-specific content in it. It’s become part of our routine.”
“We found the audience there was super engaged and it was a fun, new way to present our content and to expand the brand,” she said.
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