LOS ANGELES, United States — Snap Inc. is opening up its application’s walled garden in a bid to spur growth.
The company will let publishers of some story content on Snapchat share the material on other websites, with a link that hosts the piece on Snapchat.com. The change could help expose a broader set of people to the kinds of videos that appear on the app, potentially increasing downloads or teaching others what works on the app. The company has reported several quarters of disappointing user growth.
People make "stories" by posting short videos for their friends on Snapchat. The clips last for 24 hours. Right now, anyone can save these videos on their phone and share them from there. The new approach eliminates a step using a link, and helps Snapchat track where the content is spreading. When shared via link, the stories will remain ephemeral, disappearing in 24 hours if it’s a story by one user, or 30 days if it’s a story from multiple users.
The change also could make Snapchat stories easier to embed in news stories and publishers’ websites. Easy sharing and embedding helped make Google’s YouTube the leading online video site, and Twitter a common source of news commentary. If Snapchat wants a bigger audience, it’s likely realizing it must break out of the confines of its mobile app and embrace the web in a similar way.
The option will so far only be available to some of Snapchat’s more official publishers, in countries where the latest version of the app is available, like Australia and Canada. The company has been redesigning the app to separate media content from friends’ posts. That update is rolling out slower than expected.
By Sarah Frier; Editors: Jillian Ward, Alistair Barr, Molly Schuetz.