In Snapchat Vs. Facebook, the gloves are off and the competition is heating up.
As the fight for advertising revenue intensifies between the two social media giants, the tactics will get dirtier, and the prizes will become bigger. Yet, in the midst of all this, one question remains: what will the fighting mean for journalistic publications that use these platforms to boost their profile across social networking sites?
Facebook on top
As things currently stand, Facebook dominates the dispersal of news, but that’s not to say Snapchat isn’t innovating. In fact, one of the major developments in dissemination of media articles on social media was spearheaded by Snapchat’s story feature that allows publications to provide readers with a form of digital magazine. This was adopted by Facebook-owned Instagram, and the effect on journalism has been revolutionary.
But that’s not to say that social media wasn’t already being revolutionary. These platforms, regarding of their current standing and/or ranking, have set in stone new rules that dictate the success—and survival—of the media industry. They have singularly changed the way news is written and reported, reshaping in the process how audiences are reached and what defines competitiveness. Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are now, in their own ways, playing the role of editor-in-chief.
However, all is not well in this dynamic. Sure, sites like Facebook and others drive a great deal of traffic to media pages but, with media titles being encouraged to publish directly onto social media sites – rather than their own – they are beginning to cede control, and revenue, to these internet giants.
Snapchat grows up
Enter Snap. Snapchat has adopted an interesting take on revenue raising with Snapchat Discover. It allows publishers to sell adverts in unique channels, before splitting the revenue. This means that the publications don’t need to risk as much as they have traditionally done so. They can rely on Snapchat and Snapchat Discover to generate all of their advertising needs.
But, as Snap and Snapchat chase their goals of growing, this comes at a cost. The platforms are also expecting publishers to adapt and make changes. In particular, the social media brand is now chasing television fans by adapting Snapchat Discover to be more like the tube. As it does so, Snapchat expects – nay, demands – that long term media partners follow suit and keep up.
Essentially, Snap’s plans will prioritize the placement of original content – i.e., television-esque shows that are designed exclusively for Snapchat Discover – over other media. This has been a long time coming, and news and media publications are already dancing to Snap’s tune. Since the launch of Snapchat Discover a little over two years ago, media partners including Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan and Vice have used the platform to publish daily magazine editions of these sites. However, this move may also start to force the hand of other social media giants in the process.
Ever the competitor, Facebook has ramped up its freebie offerings in a bid to make sure publications don’t all flock to the same social media platform. To do this, Facebook plans to offer publishers money to create and publish more videos for Facebook and owned applications – such as Instagram – to compete directly with Snap and Snapchat.
According to Facebook, this is all part of a responsible push to help publishers and news organizations to make more money at a time when revenues are falling sharply. Some of the incentives in this latest land grab include an experimental advertising unit for live video, a greater than ever variety of adverts available for articles on Facebook Instant and better-than-before analytics for measuring the performance of native advertisements.
Despite these pro-media changes, however, there is a sense among publishers that all is now what it seems. The inclusive and sharing approach seemingly being taken by Facebook and Snap could be little more than competition between the two platforms, designed to wrestle users off the other, without packing much punch behind the promises on offer.
This year at F8 – Facebook’s annual conference – the social media giant failed to convince publishers and media organizations that it had their backs with regards to revenue growth. Facebook, in an off record discussion, remained characteristically secretive about when and how the benefits would flow in. It seems that, no matter how much Snapchat and Facebook claim to fight for the benefit of publishers, the only winners – for now at least – will be themselves.
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