Snapchat Launches Discover

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Snapchat now has a Discover feature, which will let you see content from brands like ESPN, CNN, Vice and Warner Music. According to the blog post and video (embedded below), users will be able to watch daily stories compiled by artists, publishers, and even Snapchat’s own editorial staff. These stories will feature “full screen photos and videos, awesome long form layouts, and gorgeous advertising,” reads the post.

In other words, the new Discover page is an always-on, daily refreshed channel guide serving up disappearing content alongside brand advertisements. Media partners include National Geographic, Vice, Yahoo News, People, Daily Mail, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, CNN, Food Network, and ESPN.

This could be the most important feature update in the company’s history to date, especially if we’re talking about the startup’s goal to monetize the social network faster than has traditionally been the case.

This new Discover page puts media at the forefront of Snapchat’s product. Brands and publishers are delivering content to users as opposed to relying solely on content users create to power usage of the company. It comes at a crucial time as Snapchat starts to focus on advertising.

This is far from the first time we’ve heard of Snapchat Discover. We’ve seen Snapchat prepare for this in a few ways.

Snapchat started out as a friendship-based network, requiring at least one user to have the other’s phone number saved and then sending a request before content can be shared, but Our Stories was a new way for Snapchat to see how its users react to non-friend content.

Our Stories is a collaborative timeline that lets users at a specific event add their snap to an aggregated stream of content from that show, event, etc. People from all over the world then have the ability to watch that event play out live through the snaps being sent from users who are there.

Snapchat has also been preparing for the way in which brands will turn an ad into a conversion for them. For some brands, that will be all about pushing the user out to a website. But for folks selling music or movies, Snapchat needs a way to give users a path to purchase.

All the way back when Snapchat introduced My Story, in October 2013, the company experimented with a click-to-buy button that would appear just below the snap after it was consumed. For musical artists, this button sent you straight to the song’s listing on iTunes.

We’ll be following along closely as Snapchat continues to venture into the media and advertising realms.

Check out a deeper dive of the new product here.