I was born in 1993, which means I have an abysmal attention span; somewhere between the late ’80s kid who used dial-up internet connection and the late ’90s kid who was kept preoccupied at the dentist with an iPad. The speed with which we receive information today and the accompanying sensory stimulants- sounds, lights, colours- have made me an inherently restless person. I rarely click and watch full videos that are shared out by friends on Facebook anymore. When I’m on social media, something needs to be jarring or “hyper-relevant” to my life for me to stop scrolling for even a second.

Source: Social media addiction in Ireland and how it’s literally re-wiring our brains, ShaneOleary.me

While many channels still lend itself best to high-quality, long-form content, Snapchat Discover has carved out a niche type of content that resonates best with this restless younger demographic that might quite well need to be jolted to be aroused at all.

Discover is a curated news platform featuring a myriad of publications that could appeal to different interests and demographics. However, the common thread is the content is short-form (less than 10 seconds), often animated, with text overlays and filters, and sometimes playing on the humour and themes often prevalent on Snapchat. In other words, Discover is a seamless extension of how people actually use Snapchat. This means that users will be oblivious or even receptive to ads if brands do a good job seamlessly integrating and really understand the Snapchat culture. Here is a great article by Sprinklr on 6 brands that have done a good job of this in 2016.

As an avid Snapchat user, I see brands fall short of understanding what works well on Snapchat all the time. Here are some tips for brands using Discover:

  1. Don’t lift-and-adapt your TV ad: Since a TV ad is expensive to produce and high-quality, it seems like a no-brainer to cut it and adapt it to different media. Especially for global brands, marketing teams might receive marching orders to find efficiencies with expensive content like this H&M festive ad that was adapted globally. Cutting your TV ad to 10 seconds is not a Snapchat strategy. It is going to disrupt the user’s experience on Snapchat and possibly create a negative experience for them, which is far worse than indifference to your ad. Produce a piece of scrappy content instead, which segues to my next point…
  2. Quick and dirty video production: The style and tonality of your videos needs to look a teenage boy shot it with his iPhone in the parking lot of a 7–11. I exaggerate. Well, I’m only slightly exaggerating… flip through your Discover stories, especially those targeted towards the millennial demo (who spend the most time on Snapchat), and you’ll see that you won’t have to blow through your wallet to create something that fits well on the platform.
  3. Join the conversation: Snapchat is a great place to be a part of culturally contextual events for a brand that wants to showcase its personality without having to create the offensive viral memes of Instagram, or having to rely on #pointlesshashtags on Twitter. Curating content that is locally relevant is possible if the brand adopts a ‘quick and dirty’ mentality, producing content locally vs. lifting-and-adapting, and creating it quickly using scrappy means.
  4. Speak the Snapchat language: Don’t let your ad live on a digital publication that simply matches your demo, have it live on a publication that has a similar look and feel, tonality, and even similar music as your ad. Understand the Snapchat humour, and spend some time flipping through stories before you brief your ad agency on what to create so you have a sense of what most seamlessly integrates onto different publications. Don’t try too hard to impress the teens on Snapchat… cos you know, thas jus not cool brah.

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