- Snapchat parent Snap partnered with measurement company Comscore to tabulate total viewership for Discover, a section of the photo and video-messaging app that has stories from media brands like ESPN, MTV, Vice and The New York Times. Comscore's Media Metrix data that now include Snapchat Discover viewership will be available to Comscore subscribers later this month, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- Comscore won't separate viewership tallies for Discover, but will instead add that viewership to the audience totals of publishers. That means advertisers still won't be able to see audited viewership numbers for specific shows on the messaging app.
- Snapchat already provides publishers with internally produced audience measurements, and the Comscore partnership marks the first time an outside measurement company will tabulate Discover audiences.
Snapchat's partnership with Comscore is a step toward making the platform more transparent to advertisers, although they'll still lack independently audited audience measurement statistics for specific shows. Advertisers that have strict guidelines for media placements may be more open to running ads on Snapchat as part of their strategies to reach a mass audience across several marketing channels. The average time spent watching Discover programming has tripled since the beginning of the year, Nick Bell, vice president of content at Snapchat, told the Journal, but he declined to share audience size.
For Snap, the partnership with Comscore likely will help the company build greater trust with advertisers as it seeks additional ways to monetize its shrinking user base. Snapchat's user base fell by 2 million in Q3 2018 to end the period at 186 million, the second straight quarter of declines. CEO Evan Spiegel blamed most of the decrease on the Android version of the image-messaging app, and said the company is working to fix those technical issues. Snapchat's key advantage has been its popularity among U.S. teens, although Instagram is proving to be a formidable competitor. Eighty-five percent of teens report using Instagram at least once a month, neck and neck with Snapchat’s 84%, per Piper Jaffray's recent "Taking Stock With Teens" survey.
Along with the Comscore partnership, Snapchat is working with more media partners to boost Discover's programming, even as Condé Nast recently discontinued its Snapchat channels for Vogue, Wired and GQ. Self and Teen Vogue still have Snapchat channels to reach the platform's younger-skewing audience. The number of Discover production partners rose to 55 creating 125 shows every week as of October from nine partners creating 12 weekly shows a year earlier, a Snap spokesperson told the Journal.
The social media industry has faced criticism for inadequate metrics, although the concerns haven't impeded the double-digit growth of companies like Snap and Facebook. A group of small advertisers last month filed a lawsuit against Facebook for allegedly failing to disclose miscalculations in its video metrics after knowing about the issue more than a year, according to a separate Wall Street Journal report. Media buyers were mostly unfazed by the lawsuit, which was added to earlier complaints about unfair business conduct and fraud, because the allegations about the timing of the disclosure didn't introduce new information about miscalculations, Digiday reported.