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Snapchat's New Money-Maker: Discover Channels for Advertisers

Snapchat is testing a new ad type.

Snapchat is still trying to figure out the best way to make money with its 100-million-plus daily active users. On Monday, it showed off a new idea: A temporary Discover channel full of advertiser-created content.


Sony Pictures Entertainment — the studio behind the new James Bond film “Spectre” — bought a “sponsored” Discover channel on Monday, sharing multimedia content for the new film, which was released Monday in the U.K.

Discover channels are common within Snapchat, but are unique to advertisers. Usually, marketers advertise within Discover by placing ads alongside publisher content. For example, a 10-second video ad might be interspersed with other stories and videos from ESPN. This model has been lucrative in the past.

The sponsored channel lets brands publish content the same way BuzzFeed or CNN might publish within Snapchat. Like those channels, the sponsored content disappears after 24 hours.

Whether or not this is going to become a regular part of the app or just a one-time test is still unclear. Snapchat’s ad strategy, like many other parts of the company, tends to change quickly. But a sponsored channel is a very Snapchat-specific way to give advertisers more space than your standard 10-second video spot might allow.

The company is looking for unique revenue streams in hopes of justifying its massive $16 billion valuation. It has been expanding the Discover section with more publishers over the last few months. That means more content, which means more ads. As Facebook and Twitter can attest, video content is what advertisers seem to want. A Discover channel owned by an advertiser provides just that.

Here’s a look at what the sponsored channel looks like within the app:


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