In a blog post published last week, Snap Inc. announced a new feature that will enable users of its flagship application to search for content within their Stories feed. Previously managed by a curation team, public Snap Stories shared to the Our Story feed will now be searchable in select cities. According to Snap, users can search over one million unique Stories to find the content that interests them.
With Story Search, Snapchat users can watch clips from behind home plate during a baseball game or listen in from the front row of a major music festival by viewing the Stories of users that are right there.
The introduction of a search tool marks the first major update to the application since it removed its Auto Advance feature from Stories in October and introduced Group Chat in December of 2016. Additionally, the update has arrived just days after NBC announced it would once again partner with the mobile application to feature content during the 2018 Winter Olympics. Story Search is also the first feature to be introduced since the company went public in early March, indicating a possible shift in the company’s strategic direction. According to an article on CNBC.com, shares of Snap closed at $24.48 on the first day of its IPO. Since then, shares have dipped only slightly, indicating long-term value should the company maintain its popularity.
Snapchat isn’t the only social platform to recently focus on search and content discovery. In February, Pinterest unveiled new search tools, including its offline search camera, Lens.
What This Means for Marketers
For marketers, Story Search presents both opportunities and challenges. Sharing content that can be found by searchers can help to increase organic exposure, especially during events that draw searches from users. Additionally, brands, influencers, and publishers can leverage their Stories to give both followers and searchers an inside look at exclusive events.
This exclusive access, however, may add pressure to marketing teams to share a brand’s-eye view from major cultural events or risk missing out on the conversation. Testing and analysis can help content creators prioritize Snapchat over other live event social strategies, such as Facebook Live or Instagram’s Live Stories.
The search feature may also indicate expansion opportunities for advertisers. Paid Story Search would enable savvy advertisers to reach audiences with Snapchat ads during popular events or when they search for relevant content. What remains unclear is if Snap will release search data or trends to help marketers plan content around events or topics.
As always, it is crucial for marketers to align Snapchat strategies with overall business objectives before investing significant resources into the platform. Story Search may be a way for both small and large organizations to participate in major cultural events, but doing so presents the risk of appearing out of touch without a defined plan.
IMAGE SOURCE: cnbc