Viral publisher First Media joins Snapchat with repurposed Facebook video

First Media — the millennial women-focused publisher behind brands like Blossom, So Yummy and Blusher — has finally made the leap to Snapchat. But its strategy is unlike that of Snapchat Discover publishers of years past.

First Media’s first video on Snapchat for Blossom had a view time of 1 minute and 50 seconds early on and then averaged out to 1 minute and 30 seconds with more than 20 million views after 24 hours. The video, shared on Nov. 28, was just under five minutes and was simply repurposed from Facebook videos. Now, with another video on Dec. 5, Blossom’s channel has more than 3 million unique viewers and 25 million views (where a view registers after each individual snap. First Media had 13, 20-second snaps in each video).

Despite Snapchat’s and First Media’s mutual focus on serving millennials, the publisher was not interested in publishing on the messaging app until just recently. Discover turns four next month, but it’s changed drastically from being a platform for just 11 media partners to now more than 100. The big incentive for First Media’s decision to join Snapchat Discover was no longer having to create original content.

“We’re seeing that Snapchat is starting to see itself as a distribution platform and wants to give the best content to its users. They understood they need to be easier with the creators and allow them to repurpose content that’s already out there. That’s a big shift from being 100 percent original,” said Yuval Rechter, head of digital at First Media.

In light of that change, Discover has gone from having only highly produced, exclusive content to allowing channels that simply curate funny memes or puppy videos from elsewhere on the internet. The shift has made Discover much more crowded — and simultaneously, has allowed different publishing strategies to thrive. Publishers no longer need teams of 10 full-time workers producing exclusively for Snapchat in order to make the content work and be profitable.

Snap’s content team itself has been focused on the metric of view time and recurring unique viewers, according to three publishers working with Snap. The logic is simple: the more time Snapchat users spending watching video, the more ads they can be served within a video, making more money for Snap and for the publisher.

First Media’s initial Snapchat strategy is relying on repurposed Facebook videos that it believes will best fit the app’s young demographic. Rechter estimated the company’s spent around $500 on producing for Snapchat so far, accounting for a video editor and some content operations. The first video was comprised of 13, 20-second snaps and focused on at-home hacks, such as how to clean jewelry.

“We looked at things that we thought would be applicable to the younger demo — a much younger demo than Blossom on Facebook — and it’s a very young female audience,” Rechter said.

In fact, First Media found that the vast majority of their viewers for the first video — about 97 percent — were female. The second video, published on Dec. 5, had an audience that was 75 percent female. Both videos had the majority of its audience between 18 and 24 years old.

To Rechter’s surprise, 90 percent of the first video’s viewers were based in the U.S. That’s quite unlike its audience on Instagram, where 20-30 percent of followers are based in the U.S.

Launching without an existing presence on Snapchat, First Media promoted the new channel on Facebook and Instagram. Instagram was one of the most successful pushes thanks to the app’s swipe-up feature that directed users to the Snapchat channel. It got Blossom “hundreds of thousands of views,” Rechter said.

The second video received far fewer viewers than the first — 5 million compared to 25 million — but the average view time was similar. Rechter said the lower interest may be because of the content being focused on food hacks for TV ads, something that a younger demographic may not be as exposed to compared to Blossom’s older audience on Facebook.

First Media plans to keep posting on Snapchat Discover every Wednesday. The publisher also hopes to launch another brand, So Yummy, on the platform in the future. They haven’t been paid, yet, for the content they’ve distributed despite ads appearing in the middle. Unlike YouTube, Snap is choosing to pay more slowly. Rechter said he’s hoping to be able to sell some of the inventory themselves.

Snap’s “audience usually does not go on any other platform. They’re being exposed to some of our content for the first time,” Rechter said.

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