How are publishers using Snapchat to attract younger audiences? - Reuters News Agency

How are publishers using Snapchat to attract younger audiences?

Let’s take a look at how VGTV garnered nearly one million unique users on their Snapchat Discovery channel.

By  Ella Wilks-Harper | Nov 12, 2017

Reuters Institute research found that over a third (33%) of young people use social and digital media as their main source of news. That’s why many publishers are experimenting with Snapchat to tap into this emerging audience. Snapchat’s Discovery portal enables users to subscribe to individual publishers, such as The Washington Post, Le Monde and VG (Verdens Gang).

Last year, the platform increased its traffic among 18-24 year olds. This trend follows an upsurge in the use of smartphones and push by publishers to use mobile alerts. 

Reuters Institute research found Norway has a high penetration of Snapchatters, particularly among under 35s. Last month, VG almost garnered a million unique users on their Snapchat channel. On average users consume 9 out of 11 snaps and a staggering 80% of daily users are under the age of 25.

Helje Solberg, ceo and editor of VGTV, spoke at the International Newsroom Summit 2017 about the many ways the channel are experimenting with the platform to attract younger, loyal news consumers.

Snapchat has disrupted the system and ripped up the textbook”

Helje Solberg, ceo and editor, VGTV

The challenge? Without likes or comments, publishers using Snapchat rely on screenshot metrics.

However, Solberg described screenshots as good engagement. In terms of monetization, Solberg said, “It remains to be seen, however, how easy or difficult it is to monetize. Do we make money on it? Yes. Are we profitable? No. But it is still an investment”.


Here are 3 things VGTV are currently doing:

1. Creating digestible content

Journalists at VG take material from main channels and shorten text heavy stories into bitesize content for snapchat.

Other digestible content includes encouraging sources of stories to send in ten-second long selfies, which expand and add value to content.

Do we make money on it? Yes. Are we profitable? No. But it is still an investment”

2. Making use of visuals

Using graphics and visuals, Solberg believes that storytelling is made easier and more compelling.

In her presentation, Solberg showed how VG covered a story about the possibility of white sharks one day arriving in Norway due to climate change.

The team’s Snapchat coverage incorporated visuals, sound, humour and exaggeration to encourage the reader to tap on to the next reader. Additionally, the last snap of the story encouraged the reader to share the story at the end.

“The key to social media is shareable content. Millennials are attached to the smartphone and have a preference for video and a dynamic feel for visuals,” Solberg explained.


3. Focusing on context 

Despite content being limited to a 24 hour shelf-life, the VGTV team are experimenting with giving contextual, background snaps onto their channel.

Solberg explains that this focus on explainers is because of the younger audience. She said,  “Often we shorten background info into a single snap or multiple snaps with text. We see the engagement with these is very high. They tend to be our most screenshotted snaps”.


Main benefits VGTV gains from Snapchat
  1. It offers insight into what works with younger audiences which are then applied to other VGTV platforms.
  2. Helps to discover what makes a good story on mobile.
  3. There are advertizing opportunities to build brand image.
  4. To explore a new business model.


Want to know how other publishers are experimenting with Snapchat and other emerging platforms? Read the Reuters Institute’s latest research