After initially flagging their moves to partner with college newspapers to produce local campus editions of their publications for Snapchat Discover last month, Snap Inc. has now officially announced the new initiative, which will see them expand Publisher Stories to include school publications.
As explained by Snap:
"We're partnering with dozens of colleges and universities, whose editorial teams will begin producing weekly Publisher Stories and distributing them on Snapchat. These Stories will feature Snap Ads to help each school monetize and grow their newspaper through a revenue sharing agreement."
As per Recode, Snapchat's starting with four university papers - 'The Daily Californian' from UC Berkeley, 'The Battalion' from Texas A&M, 'The Daily Orange' from Syracuse and 'The Badger Herald' from Wisconsin - with more to come on board in the coming months.
The new campus stories will use geofencing, similar to Snapchat's location filters, so that they're only available to users who are physically on campus, adding a level of exclusivity.
The move to become a bigger part of student life makes sense for Snapchat given the app's popularity amongst college users, and it'll no doubt help Snap improve the app's stickiness, while also boosting advertiser appeal for those brands looking to reach college students.
But then again, over-emphasizing college students can be problematic in the long run. Just ask Yik Yak.
Of course, Snapchat's more advanced, and expansive, than Yik Yak ever was - though it is worth noting that Yik Yak had some 200 million monthly active users at peak. Snap, which doesn't provide MAU numbers, is believed to have around 300 million MAU. Not the same, but...
The move also aligns with evolving media consumption trends among students - a recent ORC International study, commissioned by Snap, found that 47% of students see their college newspapers as the primary way of learning about news on campus. Pew Research has also noted that Snapchat's relevance as a news source is growing, with a significant increase in users getting news content from the platform.
The deal's not a game-changer for Snap, by any means, but it's smart for the company to focus on boosting its usage amongst younger users, then to evolve their content with them as they grow up - which is probably where Yik Yak lost most of its momentum (i.e. once you left college, you no longer had any use for it).
Along this line, Snapchat's also been introducing new, younger focused, TV-style news programs which could help usher usage of the app into older brackets, helping to maintain appeal and tap into more lucrative audience segments.
NBC's 'Stay Tuned' on Snapchat
It's not likely to solve all of Snapchat's growth issues, but it may be another way for Snap to maintain relevance, and expand their audience, as pressure from Facebook continues to mount.