Is It Time to Start Paying Attention to Snapchat?

If you want to reach teens, definitely

We’ve all heard of Snapchat at this point, but whether or not it’s useful for PRs has yet to be fully determined. Up to this point, it’s been mostly that photo sharing app that allows teens to send secret messages that disappear before their parents catch on. But now, some big companies are partnering up with the service — and it could prove to be worth their time.

The word “Discover” has been trending on Twitter on and off today because Snapchat has announced a new Discover tab where content created with partners including CNN, Vice, Food Network, Comedy Central and BuzzFeed will appear.

Now, according to GigaOm, Snapchat is also bringing on journalists — among them Ellis Hamburger, Nicole James and former MTV producer Greg Wacks — to create content.

So we know you’re already updating your media lists, but give the strategy a think. “Snapchat took a 36.8 percent share of teens versus 31.8 percent for Twitter’s Vine and 8 percent for WhatsApp,” reports The New York Post.

So it’ll be interesting to see how this tab plays out. Will it be designed to appeal to the young audience that already enjoys the site? Or is Snapchat looking to attract an older demographic by offering something different? Here’s their description: “Discover is new, but familiar. That’s because Stories are at the core – there’s a beginning, middle, and end so that editors can put everything in order. Every edition is refreshed after 24 hours – because what’s news today is history tomorrow.”

Then there’s the question of what will happen to the current crop of 100 million (!) global users once Discover goes live. Remember when more and more people started joining Facebook? You started to hear talk about an exodus of young people who didn’t want to end up friending their parents.

As it is, BuzzFeed has a round up of young people reaction to the elimination of a previous feature, “Top Friends,” which let users know who they’re in touch with most. Summary: Now you can’t see when your girl/boyfriend is up to Snapchat shenanigans.

Which brings us back to the original assumption about Snapchat: that it’s mostly a digital space for teens and there’s seemingly little utility for PRs and their clients. As with anything, you’ll have to keep an eye peeled to see how the platform develops in the coming months. But however things go, the last thing you want to do is anger the teens who now populate it. As you can see from that Buzzfeed list, they are quick to respond and respond strongly.