Snap has been stepping up efforts to curry favor with publishers, especially as publishers continue to feel the impact of Facebook’s news feed changes. Its newest pitch: commerce.

Snap has begun testing a commerce function within a handful of Snapchat Discover publisher channels, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of Snapchat’s test. A handful of Discover publishers have already tested this option, which lets users swipe up and buy a product from the recently launched store inside Discover that also offers Snapchat merchandise like sweatshirts and hats. Snap is not taking a cut of the revenue generated from sales at this time, according to a source.

Beyond the publishing partners that have tested commerce within Snapchat Discover, two other Discover publishers said Snap has approached them about commerce to let them know it’s coming and to gauge their interest.

Snap declined to comment on the record, but has previously told Digiday that commerce on Snapchat is a big priority for the company. This includes working with advertisers like Nike to sell products in Discover.

The Discover publisher commerce test comes at a time when the relationship between publishers and the biggest social media platform, Facebook, is at a low point. On April 10, Snapchat is hosting its first Publisher Summit in New York City, which is part of a broader charm offensive Snap has unleashed on publishers.

“As Evan [Spiegel, CEO of Snap,] mentioned on our previous earnings call, content is one of our top three priorities in 2018, and your success on Snapchat is at the heart of that. So we’re going to push harder and be more proactive with helping you succeed on Snapchat,” said Mike Su, Snap’s platform content lead, in a letter sent earlier this year to Discover publishers announcing the Publisher Summit.

Another way Snap has tried to help publishers make more money on Discover is by setting branded content guidelines for Discover for the first time, sources said. They allow publishers, for the first time, to distribute branded videos as Snap Ads units. News of Snap’s branded content approval was first reported by Ad Age.

According to one Discover publishing source, Snap sent publishers the following rules for branded content:

  • Branded content must live within the Snap Ad unit. These Snap Ads may be thematically and aesthetically aligned to adjacent editorial.
  • Snap Ads containing branded content will be labeled as an “Ad” like all other Snap Ads. Additional disclosure may be necessary, please consult your legal counsel.
  • Brand integration within editorial content as well as advertiser branding in tiles is still prohibited.
  • All other standard Snap Ad specifications and functionality remain unchanged. This includes ad performance metrics, acceptance of third party tags and ability to run measurement studies.

Snapchat is also allowing publishers to work with advertisers to run “promoted stories” separate from their Discover editions, sources said.

“There’s an interest on [Snap’s] end on how to work with partners to drive more revenue and make it more meaningful,” said an exec at a Snapchat Discover publisher. “It’s a constant conversation, and there’s definitely a feeling of a commitment to the partnership and figuring all of this out together.”

All of Snap’s moves contribute to the amount of money Snap pays to its media partners. In 2017, Snap paid more than $100 million to Discover content partners, according to Snap’s year-end earnings report. One Discover publisher said Snap-related revenues for the company grew by more than 50 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year.

“Snapchat’s been a more valuable partner for a while now — and that’s especially the case for the group of Discover partners that figured out how to drive audience and engagement and were early to the platform,” said an exec from this Snapchat Discover publisher. “You’re talking about millions of dollars in revenue that you can directly associate with Snapchat and with being on Discover.”

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