Insider has found a new way to make money off its old Facebook news-feed videos: by recutting and distributing them on Snapchat.
For instance, Food Insider created a two-minute video profiling Junior’s Cheesecake, which has received 19 million video views on Facebook and another 4.3 million views on YouTube since being released in July 2017. Earlier this week, Insider’s video team edited a Snapchat-specific cut of the video, which has already been seen by more than 4.8 million unique viewers, according to Insider. The Snapchat cut was part of Insider’s daily channel — or “publisher story,” in Snap’s parlance — on Snapchat Discover. Here, Insider makes money from ads that appear within the daily editions.
With Snap opening up Snapchat Discover to include non-exclusive content, this has created an opportunity for Insider and other publishers to distribute and make money off of their social video archives. Specifically, the type of videos that used to dominate Facebook’s news feed but have since been devalued by the platform — shorter than 2 minutes, square and with text on screen — can now be remade for another mobile video platform.
“Facebook is focused on longer videos; YouTube always has been. We started to look at Snapchat as the home for this type of storytelling — and we can monetize it,” said Tony Manfred, head of video at Insider Inc. “That has been a big revelation for us from the publisher channel. This type of storytelling has a home now.”
Manfred said Insider has “thousands” of short-form videos and is constantly scouring its archives for content that would fit its daily publisher channel. This doesn’t mean Insider’s daily publisher channel, which typically features three stories and 21 snaps, is entirely old Facebook videos; but it doesn’t hurt to have such a library, either. “Some of our biggest publisher editions have been led by stories from the archives,” Manfred said.
Insider on Snapchat includes the daily publisher story as well as five weekly video shows including “Cars Insider” and “Art Insider.” Insider is profitable on Snapchat, according to the publisher.
Across one daily publisher channel and five weekly video shows, Insider has 3.7 million subscribers in aggregate across its daily channel and video shows, and is adding about 15,000 subscribers per day, according to the publisher. From a unique-viewer basis, Insider’s daily publisher story alone reached 24 million unique viewers in February, according to Snap.
Insider also said it’s also getting users to stick around: The average time spent on Insider’s daily channel is 51 seconds, and ranges between 1 minute and 95 seconds for its five shows, the publisher said. (Typically, Insider’s daily channel runs for roughly two to three minutes, with episodes of the weekly shows averaging 3 minutes in length.)
As Snapchat opened Discover up to non-exclusive content, publishers have begun to find cheaper and more efficient ways to program for the platform. In many cases, this has meant doing away with 10-person teams dedicated to creating exclusive content for Snapchat, and folding the platform into the daily work overseen by a unified video department. Insider, with its 100-person video team, takes a similar approach.
“We care about all of the platforms,” Manfred said. “And we know that we’re going to need a YouTube cut and a Facebook cut, and Snapchat is right in there too.”
One way Insider has been able to improve viewership and time spent is by focusing on striking images in its thumbnails, which appear to users as they scan Snapchat Discover. Similar to thumbnails on YouTube, eye-catching images are more likely to drive users to click through to the channel or show on Snapchat Discover. And with more content creators on Snapchat Discover than ever before, thumbnails have become a key way of sticking out from the crowd.
“You want to use a thumbnail that’s going to draw someone’s eye, but once they see it, you also want to make sure people understand [the type of content] they’re going to get,” Manfred said.