Snapchat Discover is about to get a lot more meme-heavy.
IMGN Media, the digital media company behind the famous Daquan meme account on Instagram, has launched six new meme-focused Snapchat Discover publisher channels. The new verticals include: TryHard for esports, Hannabelle for horror, Mateo Says for Hispanic comedy, Luxury Homes for high-end properties and design, TheSavagePosts for pop culture memes and Sarcasm Therapy, which will focus on female comedy memes.
These six channels — or “publisher stories” in Snap’s parlance — join three existing Discover publisher channels that IMGN already has on the app, including one for Daquan, a soccer-themed one called Soccer Memes and Journal, which is aimed a female comedy vertical aimed at Gen-Z users.
All nine of these channels will publish daily on Snapchat Discover, with each channel posting 18 pieces of content on average per day. Each vertical has a team of two people at IMGN Media. The content will include photos, gifs, videos, polls and more.
With meme accounts, IMGN is able to program for Snapchat more efficiently than more traditional Snapchat Discover publishers in the past, some of which stood up eight- or 10-person teams dedicated to programming for the platform on a daily basis. And with Snapchat ad products proving to be a cheaper alternative to its competitors in digital video, smaller teams are also easier to support.
For IMGN Media, Snapchat is a natural distribution platform because of its young user base and the tendency of that base to share content — which is bread and butter for meme accounts.
“This year, we have set ourselves on a goal to expand to more verticals than just urban culture,” said Barak Shragai, CEO of IMGN Media, which has raised $6 million from investors that include Hollywood talent agency UTA and Dick Clark Productions. “And we have seen a lot of great growth on Snapchat.”
IMGN Media is best known as the operator behind Daquan, a fictional character (and real social meme account) that became famous on Instagram, where it now has 11.6 million followers. In May, IMGN Media created a Snapchat Discover channel for Daquan, which reached 20 million unique viewers globally in September, according to Snap. (The other existing Snapchat Discover channels, Journal and Soccer Memes reached 14 million uniques and 9 million uniques in September, according to Snap.)
With nine Snapchat Discover publisher channels, Snap is quickly IMGN Media’s biggest partner — even though Daquan initially rose to popularity on Instagram. IMGN Media plans to bring all six new verticals to Instagram within the next month, but is starting on Snapchat because Discover remains a curated environment, Shragai said.
“From day one, you can start to get some really good numbers,” he said. “For a new media brand, that’s a very exciting opportunity.”
With Snap running in-stream ads against publisher stories and other content inside Discover, there is also an opportunity to make money from day one. On Instagram, IMGN Media has to rely on selling custom content — which the company has made for clients such as Netflix, MTV and Microsoft, but it’s not as fast as turning a Snapchat Discover channel on and collecting revenue from day one.
“We’re not doing long-form video just yet, so we’re not on YouTube,” Shragai said. “For us, Snapchat and Instagram make the most sense. But with Instagram, while we’re monetizing that well, the revenue doesn’t come from the platform — we’re doing the direct deals with brands and agencies. Snapchat is the only platform for us right now that allows us to monetize directly from the platform from day one.”
Snap’s courting of social media stars and new publishing companies such as IMGN comes as the messaging app tries to reverse its fortunes. In the second quarter, Snapchat lost 3 million daily users — the first time the app has lost users since going public last year.
The focus is now on bringing those users back as well as doing seemingly everything under the sun to get users to visit the app and stick around for as long as possible. This is why Snap is working with more influencers, and commissioning more original Snapchat video shows (including, most recently, scripted programming), as well as opening the Discover doors to non-exclusive shows. For Snap, the more options users have, the better.
With respect to meme accounts, Snap’s decision to work with IMGN Media makes sense, said Brendan Gahan, founder of social agency Epic Signal.
“As Snapchat usage has started to decline, it only makes sense that they’d lean into creators which have a proven track record of being successful on social platforms,” Gahan said. “Snapchat has done a lot of partnerships with ‘traditional’ media companies for Discover, but these channels aren’t necessarily going to be able to adapt quickly the way folks like Daquan that understand the nuances of the platform and how to both grow audiences and businesses there.”
With nine publisher channels, IMGN Media will have a decent amount of real estate on Snapchat Discover. However, with Snap grouping all media content — from publisher stories to video shows to public live stories — together on the right side of the camera, this means also competing with a lot more content for a user’s attention.
“I don’t think [content discovery] will be a problem,” Shragai said of Snapchat Discover. “The platform is trying to navigate content to the right people based on interest and usage, and I think they will continue to get better at that.”