Snapchat wants to compete as a social publisher for live news stories and fresh content — and it seems to be winning.

Could the platform at the heart of the selfie movement become the new face of news? Snapchat recently unveiled its plan to expand the scope of its services beyond ephemeral images and videos, capitalizing on its enormous user base to create something a little more tangible.

With the release of its Discover feature, the company opened its doors wide to brands and publishers, allowing them to create sponsored content specifically for the Snapchat platform (the stories will disappear in 24 hours). It’s worth mentioning that Snapchat’s partners will pay nothing to host their content on the app — instead, Snapchat will be selling advertisement space alongside the new channels to generate revenue.

The Most Popular Kid in the Class

Much like a television station, selected publishers will have a specific channel to broadcast their content to an enormous and potentially lucrative younger audience. It remains somewhat unclear as to how many views and interactions each ad is expected to generate — Snapchat is still a privately held company, meaning that it’s not obligated to disclose any of those details.

What’s clear, however, is that everyone is simply chomping at the bit to get on board. As Erin Griffith reports in a piece for Fortune, as of right now, Snapchat Discover has only 15 channels, effectively making it a beacon of moderation and discretion amidst a limitless sea of cat memes, blog posts about nothing, and rambling, unfocused status updates.

This degree of exclusivity has made the platform even more desirable, and media companies — in true middle school form — are desperately hoping for a chance to sit at what has clearly become the “cool kids table” of social media marketing.

It would also seem that Snapchat isn’t interested in devaluing its appeal anytime soon — back in July, when Snapchat added two new companies to Discover, it kicked out two others to make room. Griffith points out that by maintaining strict limits on the number of publishers allowed on the platform, a small number of brands can gain some serious visibility among Snapchat’s 100+ million daily users, all with next to zero competition for the spotlight.

Visibility Doesn’t Come Cheap

A ghost reading a newspaper.

As Discover has gained traction, the conversation about ad sales has kept up accordingly, despite the fact that people must stay agnostic about the level of interaction that marketing material receives.

And so, while most of the current projections concerning the costs to advertisers come from anonymous sources, the numbers seem to hover between $50 and $100 per thousand impressions. For a bit of context, Snapchat reportedly charges advertisers a whopping $750,000 for 24 hours’ exposure to users through its Our Stories section, according to Adweek. There’s a whole lot of hype and fuss surrounding getting in, so let’s wait and see if Snapchat can keep up the pitch of excitement with results, or whether it’s all down to false scarcity.

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Author Oliver Cox

Having originally joined the company as a writer in 2013, Oliver currently works as a full-time member of L&T's sales team to prospect, nurture and help close sales leads in the US and UK markets. Oliver is a graduate of the University of Liverpool and is a prolific musician and author.

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