What Snapchat’s major redesign and algorithmic feed means for marketers

Snapchat is putting up a wall between content from peopleas friends and content from everybody else — including organic Stories from brands and other media — in a major redesign of the mobile app unveiled on Wednesday that they are able to roll out over a number of weeks.

The redesigned Snapchat does away with the Story tab and divvies it up between a friends-only feed of Stories and private messages and an everyone-else feed of Snapchat-curated Stories from celebrities and publishers as well as the appas original reveals and Our Narratives collections.

The Friends tab replaces the Chat tab that had lived on the left side of the app, and the everyone-else Discover tab merges the previously separate Tales and Discover tabs into a single tab on the right side. Advertisers will be able to reach people through both feeds, though the ways in which brands — as well as publishers and influencers — can organically reach people on Snapchat is changing.

Friends tab

Snapchatas new Friends tab closely mirrors its previous Chat tab that listed the private messages a person has received from people they mutually follow in the app. But now it also includes those peopleas Stories. These Narrative can be viewed by tapping the circular profile photo next to a personas name; Snapchat will indicate if a person has posted to their Story with a blue ring around the profile photo.

Snapchat’s new Friends tab.

Discover tab

Snapchatas redesigned Discover tab looks a lot like the old one, except that itas no longer limited to Publisher Stories and Snapchatas Our Stories and Shows. Snapchat will now intersperse vertical tiles for Official Stories — which are published by those with verified accounts, such as celebrities — and Tales from others with public-facing accounts, including brands whose organic Tale will merely appear within the Discover tab unless the brandas account also follows the user.

Snapchat’s redesigned Discover tab.

Algorithmic control

Both the Friends tab and the Discover tab are governed by algorithm that will decide how to rank their respective content. These algorithms are intended to induce Snapchat feel more customized to each user. If a person often sends messages to a few particular friends a lot or if they view those friendsa Tales more often than othersa, they will show up higher in the Friends tab. The same will go for the Discover tab.

However, Snapchatas Discover algorithm will also be used to surface Stories and Shows that a person may not be aware of but are likely to be interested in based on the other content they check out. That algorithm has the potential to be a good thing in the same way that Netflixas algorithm constructs it easier to find new shows to binge. If Snapchat successfully recommends Narratives and Shows that a person is interested in, that person is more likely to use Snapchat and more regularly, making more a chance for Snapchat to show them ads. But as with any algorithm operated by an ad-supported platform like Snapchatas, the Discover algorithm also has the power to be a bad thing.

With Snapchatas redesign, an algorithm will now have more control over the content that people are exposed to on Snapchat than a person will. And since Snapchat controls the algorithm, it can determine how to exerted it. On the one hand, the algorithm could be used to help brands, publishers and individual inventors tribunal an audience on Snapchat; on the other hand, it could be used to oblige them to do business with Snapchat. Letas take brands as an example.

How Snapchatas redesign may impact marketers

Snapchatas redesign may build the app more pay-to-play for brands, if it wasnat already.

Glass half-full: Peopleas Stories feeds may have previously been so full of their friendsa Stories that brandsa Tale were overshadowed. Now friendsa Tale will be separated into the Friends tab, and the Discover tabas algorithm will take into account whether a person follows an account when ranking its content. As a outcome, brands stand a better opportunity of being discovered.

Glass half-empty: Brands donat inevitably stand a better opportunity of being detected. The new Discover tab removes a personas friends as rivalry, but it features many other challengers. Simply as a person may follow a brandas account, they may also subscribe to a media companyas Publisher Story or Show or to a celebrityas Official Story. And as Snapchat tries to woo influencers to post to its platform instead of Instagram or elsewhere, that will only bring more competition. But not only is the new Discover tab mobbed, it has less room for crowd. Instead of listing Narratives as horizontal entries, it presents each Story and Show as a vertical thumbnail, or atile.a That display means that fewer Tales and Shows can appear on the screen at a time — roughly half as many based on the screen shot above. People might swipe down to see the content that gets pushed” below the fold ,” but they might come across something else while swiping that steals their attention.

How Snapchatas redesign may impact advertisers

Of course, if brands do feel squeezed out by others Stories and Shows, they can always are choosing to position Snapchat as strictly a paid-media platform, in the same route they might look at Facebook. In that vein, Snapchat may seem most attractive post-redesign.

For starters, brands will now be able to reach people strictly when they are — or explicitly are not — viewing their friendsa Narratives. Earlier this year, Snapchat rolled out placement controls for its vertical video Snap Ads so that a brand could choose to only have its ad appear between peopleas Stories, but that included Narratives from regular people as well as celebrities, publishers, brands and any other account. But now that Snapchat is sequestering non-friend Tales within Discover, advertisers can decide whether they do or do not want to appear alongside the Stories from a personas friends.

Snapchat is also changing how it transitions from one Story to the next. Previously, people had to create a Story Playlist by selecting the Stories they wanted to watch, and Snapchat played them in order, inserting ads between some. Now, people will pick one Story to watch, and after theyare done, Snapchat will algorithmically queue up another.

On the Discover tab, Snapchat will automatically transition to the next Story or Show; on the Friends tab, it will pause to preview the next Narrative with an option for the person to skip past it.

This new version of advancing from Story to Story( or Story to Show and vice versa) simulates how Netflix automatically starts playing the next episode of a reveal, potentially stimulating Snapchat more of a lean-back, TV-like experience. Advertisers love anything considered aTV-like, a especially since Snapchatas Snap Ads are typically slotted as interstitials A la TV commercials.

Snapchat will also likely use the redesign to prop up its new Promoted Stories ad format that lets brands buy a tile on the appas Discover tab.

At the moment, that may be a tough sell for some marketers since a Promoted Story can only be bought through Snapchatas direct sales squad and must be purchased as a countrywide, one-day takeover, which means it is expensive. Of course, that may not be the case for long. If brands feel pressed to appear on the Discover tabas main screen and struggle to show up organically, demand for Promoted Stories may increase to the point where Snapchat opens up access so that brands can buy them on a smaller, more targeted scale like Snap Ads.

How Snapchatas redesign may impact publishers and creators

In the same way that Snapchatas redesign may push brands to become advertisers on Snapchat, it may press publishers and creators, or ainfluencers, a to get into business with Snapchat. Publisher and creator Tales will also be limited to the Discover tab unless they follow their fansa accounts on Snapchat. They will be forced to compete for peopleas attention alongside the Story and Shows from media companies and celebrities with whom Snapchat has signed business deals.

In a strictly meritocratic environment, publishers and inventors should be able to compete with Snapchat-sanctioned content and, if their Story are good enough, win peopleas attention. But Snapchatas Discover tab is not a purely meritocratic environment; it is now an algorithmic environment.

As I wrote above, an algorithm currently has more control over the content people are exposed to on Snapchat than the people themselves. Ideally, that means that the algorithm will make it easier for people to experience new content they’ll are keen to. On the flip side, however, the change entails Snapchat’s algorithm could be used to expose people to content it wants them to view. It depends on how the incentives align.

For example, Snapchat pays media companies to produce original demonstrates for its app and sells ad against them. Snapchat may stand to construct more money from people watching Shows than Stories. As a outcome, Snapchat could start ranking ESPNas aSportsCentera Show higher in the feeds of people who follow ESPNas account than that ofA Stories from other sports-related publishers such as Sport Represented or Bleacher Report. That could boost viewership for the “SportsCenter” Show while hurting views of Narratives from other publishers because attention spans, like hour, are finite. Additionally, it is unable to signal to Snapchatas algorithm that these people are interested in Shows in general, spurring it to display other Shows higher in Discover and push down others Stories.

Consider another — purely speculative — scenario. An influencer who posts daily Tales about health and fitness and generates income from branded Snaps assures great traffic from Snapchatas redesigned Discover tab. Snapchat may approach that creator to join its upcoming creator monetization program in which Snapchat might sell ads around inventors’ narratives. As part of the program, Snapchat might tell the inventor to stop posting branded Snaps( again purely speculative ). If the creator balks and doesn’t join the program, she may wind up- seeing dwindling viewership for their Stories as Snapchat ranks Narratives from other health- and fitness-related inventors in the program higher in the Discover feeds of the initial creatoras fans. Loss of spectators leads to the loss of deals with brands looking for more viewers. The creator goes back to Snapchat to join the monetization program.

Read more: marketingland.com

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