Is Snapc hat worth your time? With In­stag ram sto­ries, it may not be

Newspapers & Technology Magazine - - Contents - Spe­cial to News & Tech FROM Gate House Me­dia /Pen y Rior­dan

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. Gate­House News­room is a dig­i­tal ed­i­to­rial re­source by Gate­House Me­dia. Our con­trib­u­tors high­light en­ter­pris­ing jour­nal­ism, dish the lat­est in so­cial me­dia strat­egy, de­mys­tify new dig­i­tal tools and com­ment on in­dus­try trends. Sign up for our weekly news­let­ter at gate­house­news­ Gate­House is one of the largest pub­lish­ers of lo­cally based me­dia in the United States, reach­ing more than 20 mil­lion peo­ple each week through hun­dreds of news­pa­pers and dig­i­tal prod­ucts.

Penny Rior­dan, Di­rec­tor of Dig­i­tal Con­tent Part­ner­ships

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