Le Monde, M6, Bild and dozens of other publishers use Snapchat to their advantage. Here’s how.
In 2021, it’s easy to think Snapchat was left behind somewhere in 2015 and its place taken over by TikTok. Another common misconception is that the platform is just for teens. Turns out that Snapchat actually has tremendous potential. Snapchat has much to offer, besides a young, fresh audience.
Is Snapchat popular in Europe?
In the period 2010-2019, Snapchat became 5th the most downloaded app in the world, Forbes reported. In 2021 Snapchat is respectively the 12th most popular social media platform worldwide. By the way, another “deserted place”, Pinterest, is situated only two positions lower than it, according to Statista ranking from July 2021. Snapchat could climb even higher in the rankings given its latest results.
In the third quarter (Q3) of 2021 Snapchat’s number of Daily Active Users increased by 23% year-over-year (YOY) to 306M. At the same time, the company’s revenue increased by 57% year-over-year to $1,067M. In October 2021 France was the third biggest Snapchat market worldwide, after India and the USA, reported Statista.
In France, even TV channels reached Snapchat. M6, the second-biggest private broadcaster, began a partnership with Snap inc at the end of September 2021. In November M6 had six separate accounts, where it published extracts of its top shows – the reality show “Les Marseillais vs le Reste du Monde” (“Marseillais vs the rest of the world”) and the culinary program for “Objectif Top Chef” (“Objective Top Chef”). These programs have 226,3K and 99,5K subscribers respectively. It seems the TV group desperately needs to gain new viewers. In May 2021, M6 announced a merger with other TV groups TF1, Bouygues, and RTL into a major new French media group In order to compete with American VOD platforms, the company will focus on the development of French streaming, combining catch-up and live streaming programs.
Among the other European countries, only the United Kingdom and Germany could be seen in the top 10 with 20,1M and 15M Monthly Active Users (MAU) respectively.
“We’re now operating at the scale necessary to navigate significant headwinds, including changes to the iOS platform that impact the way advertising is targeted, measured, and optimized, as well as global supply chain issues and labor shortages impacting our partners. We will continue to focus on delivering strong results for our advertising partners and innovating to expand the capabilities of our platform and better serve our community.” – said Evan Spiegel, Snap inc. CEO and co-founder.
What are Snapchat’s creative opportunities?
Snapchat got famous for disappearing content: short, time-limited “snaps” and “stories” aimed to create a feeling of exclusivity and allow users to share more personal content. However, November 2020 was a time for change: the platform launched Spotlight – Tik-Tok-like feed, where videos are available until the creator deletes them.
According to Spotlight Guidelines, Snaps should be vertical videos with sound up to 60 seconds in length. Usage of #topic hashtags are required. Snapchat also encourages the use of other Creative Tools, such as Captions, Sounds, Lenses, or GIFs. The Snaps have to be appropriate for a 13+ audience, as well. The platform shared creative tricks and tips on Spotlight usage here.
Snapchat ads allow publishers not only to promote their content for a minimum of $5 daily but expand their advertising inventory, setting bids and the concept with advertisers directly.
There are 6 available formats:
#1 Image and Video
Creators should only add an attachment and enable users to swipe up and take action
#2 Collection Ads
Collection Ads allow featuring a series of products that Snapchatters can tap to get more information
#3 Story Ads
Series of 3-20 Single Image or Video Ads are delivered in between Content or through a branded tile in Snapchat’s Discover section.
#4 Lenses AR Experience
Augmented reality experience is one of the most engaging ad forms
#5 Filter Ads
Graphic overlays appearing during the Snap making, easier than AR
#6 Commercial Ads
Non-skippable 3 to 6-second ads. Extended Play Commercials are 3 to 180 seconds, and only the first 6 seconds are non-skippable.
Within the usual posting, publishers can organize contests, promotions, flashmobs, show BTS, which seem to be more engaging. The marketing expert Neil Patel recommended some special strategies for Snapchat advertising. If you want to use Snapchat as the traffic driver, you should add links to the website by tapping the paperclip icon while creating your Snap. The page will open out of the Snapchat app. The Business Insider published detailed instructions on linking in Snaps.
Does Snapchat bring money to publishers?
However, the most important feature of a spotlight is the ability to earn money. European countries eligible for a payout are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
On the 1st of July 2021, Snapchat started to pay “millions of dollars” monthly for the most viral content (more than hundreds of thousands of views within a day) instead of $1M daily. Reportedly, since July 2021 the payments became unstable and rare. This makes leaving the platform for the benefit in favour of competitors, said young creators to CNBC in August 2021.
Of course, rivals are out and about. In July 2021 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a $1 billion budget for rewarding creators on Instagram and Facebook through 2022. Earlier in May Google publicized its YouTube Shorts Fund, which will pay out $100 million to creators of the next Tiktokesque product in 2021-2022.
How do the biggest French, German, and British publishers use Snapchat?
Le Monde – 1,5M subscribers
Le Monde Snapchat account, the 5th most visited French news outlet in October 2021, started a Snapchat account in 2016. “The general idea is that the more they read our edition on Snapchat, the more they are accustomed to our brand. If they want serious news they can go to Le Monde’s website”,- explained then Snapchat Discovery editor, Jean-Guillaume Santi to Reuters. For the start, the average age of print readers was 45 y.o., but the first million followers in 80% were under 25 y.o.
Moreover, breaking news and major events perform 5 to 10 times better than their general content. “For instance, for the French Presidential elections, we published several editions throughout the day. We were there at 8 pm, the time the victory of Macron was announced, and we already had an edition ready, which had a million viewers on the first day.” – described Santi.
Daily Mail – 15,6M subscribers
One of the biggest British tabloids always seemed to be really engaged in Snapchat. It was even joint with WWD, Snapchat, and Daily Mail advertising agency Truffle Pig in 2015-2018. In terms of content Daily Mail’s favorite tricks are candid photos and different provocative topics. Before 2017, when Snapchat tied up its politics regarding content policy, Daily Mail received multiple complaints from users.
In 2015, when Snapchat had just rolled out the Discover function, Daily Mail was among 11 world publishers who tested it, Digiday reported. According to the report, posting time was very important since the beginning: the main bunch of content is published around 3 p.m. when kids leave school or late evening. Although the publisher experimented with the exclusive video content on Snapchat, in 2021 Daily Mail posts are still mostly full of flashy animations, which sometimes come with sounds. Unlike Le Monde, only single linked to the articles snaps are posted and highlighted on the profile. They just put the whole story into one snap, being afraid that the audience won’t catch it.
Today, Le Monde tends to tell longer stories in separate episodes, containing multiple snaps. In each story, Le Monde adds sound parts of video interviews, animated texts, and images. Such “series” don’t contain external links. Shorter pieces are posted as stories and redirected to the website.
Bild – 1,6M followers
The biggest German tabloid doesn’t stay away from the controversies even on the platform for youngsters, just like Daily Mail. When the Discover tab became available in Germany in 2017, Bild focused on the ongoing elections in the country. “We want first-time voters to be as well-informed as possible. And that will be interesting, as we’ll have to come up with ways to make politics interesting to young people. And that’s tough.” – said Jakob Wais, head of new platforms content strategy at Bild then, adding that Bild’s Snapchat mission is to reach young people who are just starting to look for news and haven’t read Bild before.
In 2021 Bild has a mixed approach to the content types: both one-piece stories and these in 2+ snaps with a strong focus on animations, linking to the website. Single images are very rare. Topics vary from Coronavirus updates to the gossip and weather.
Opinions regarding Snapchat could be different. As the company continues to pay people for popular content, there should still be no absolute decline in Spotlight. More than 5,400 creators have collectively earned over 130M dollars posting on Spotlight since November 2020, Snapchat summed up for CNBC. Publishers, who are interested in targeting younger audiences should definitely consider using it because the platform keeps on growing. Independence from Facebook and ByteDance can also contribute to the rise in popularity.
This piece was originally published in The Fix and is re-published with permission. The Fix is a solutions-oriented publication focusing on the European media scene. Subscribe to its weekly newsletter here.