Is Snapchat still worth your newsroom's time?


When Instagram released its Snapchat-adjacent stories feature in August 2016, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said Snapchat deserved all the credit for the auto-advancing mix of photos and video.

Almost a year later, the story feature has been so successful that Snapchat growth has slowed as a result of Instagram adding the experience.

According to Tech Crunch, Instagram stories reached 150 million daily users, which wasn't far behind Snapchat's daily users number.

Buzzfeed also reported that users who were early influencers on Snapchat were leaving the platform. Digiday also reported that 60 percent of users skip ads on the platform, meaning that monetization has been slow to grow on the platform.

While many large news brands have created engaging content on Snapchat's Discover section, smaller publishers can't get in the section, which makes their content harder to find.

And recent data from customer acquisition firm Fluent found that 61 percent of users don't follow a news brand on Discover.

With all of this bad news for Snapchat, is it worth news media organizations spending a lot of time on Snapchat? If you're a smaller newsroom, it's probably better to invest more time into Instagram and Instagram stories than Snapchat.

Facebook has added several new features to Instagram, including the ability to add links to stories for verified Instagram accounts. This feature has rolled out slowly, but at least with Instagram there is the opportunity to get traffic back to your site, unlike Snapchat.

Many news brands have found tremendous engagement from readers on Instagram, including sites at GateHouse such as the Northwest Florida Daily News and the Providence Journal.

The Northwest Florida Daily News reposts photos from the community, which yields more follows to the accounts. The Providence Journal also does a lot of posts about food, which is a huge engagement topic in their community.

For newsrooms that have tried Snapchat, the most successful approach is to treat it as an experiment, where staff moves quickly into the space, but moves on if it's not working.

Penny Riordan manages digital content partnerships for GateHouse Media. She works out of the Center for News and Design in Austin, Texas. Prior to joining the company, she worked at for four years, where she led social media, blogging and UGC efforts for the company. She also launched a Patch site in Maryland. Riordan also has worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Maryland and Connecticut.

Riordan, Snapchat


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