Discover makes Snapchat the youth-media heavyweight

Leo Burnett's global head of social and mobile says Snapchat's new editorial area changes the game completely for brands seeking young consumers

If you're not 16 years old, you might have missed it. But Wednesday morning Snapchat flicked a switch and turned their little app into a monster youth-media platform. If you're in any form of media, advertising, publishing or social, then this matters, says James Kirkham, global head of social and mobile, Leo Burnett.

We all know about Snapchat and its incredible dominance in the younger ages, amazing growth trajectory and how it is perfectly formed for a generation railing against their overly manicured Facebook profiles.

Snapchat stories then appeared where more extended narratives enabled brands to at last be able to spy increased opportunity and where the art of storytelling was perhaps more possible than when it disappears in front of your eyes. Well, for 24 hours at least.

New way to explore stories

Now, Snapchat has launched Discover. They call it "a new way to explore stories from different editorial teams" but notably launched with everyone; from Comedy Central to Vice and even CNN.

It changes the game completely because of the absolute embrace of the platform by a generation. This is simply the place for them, the one most trusted app they can’t do without. Born out of classrooms where they wanted to hide their fun, and moving swiftly into the ephemeral space where captivating a moment of true emotion has far more meaning than the preening overly curated profiles of competing platforms.

But Snapchat’s Discover cuts right to the chase by giving this captive audience longer form, editorially driven content from brands they think they want. It means that a partner brand plays precisely into the "real-time" feel of the platform. Audiences will trust that they’re conveying content as it happens right now that very minute. It means an entirely new news agenda can be set as a precedent with the trusting of millions of teenagers who would otherwise swerve television news or be cynical about other sources of information away from their beloved yellow app.

World of possibilities

In a UK election year, just think of the power you can wield if you got this right politically. With so many 18 year olds bored of the old political system and apathetic about current affairs because of the way they’re previously told to consume it, this opens up a world of possibilities for those willing to create content which resonates.

Alternatively for fashion and retail brands this is bursting with limitless potential. An outlet could flag a new trend one day, to keen teens hellbent on finding the latest or hottest attire. But it means they’re able to then flog their product a mere moments later through the same device, using the Snapchat payment system and leveraging all the chatter about the product. It is a fabulously sleek closed eco-system of trend setting, noise generating and smart purchasing which will have other platforms quaking.

Super enthused, massively involved users

A further point of interest is that companies like The Daily Mail, who are (surprisingly?) one of the 11 media companies on Discover at launch, can even strike their own advertising deals with other brands. In other words, if a brand wants to pay to be on The Daily Mail, they can also negotiate being a part of Discovery as part of that contract.

Snapchat Discover means partners and the platform become an editor of choice for millions of super-enthused, massively involved users. This can change the media mix almost overnight, and will be thrilling to see how it evolves over the coming months.

This article first appeared on

Subscribe today for just $116 a year

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to , plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a subscriber


Don’t miss your daily fix of breaking news, latest work, advice and commentary.

register free