What Website? New Social Media-Only Brand Obsessee Hopes to Appeal to Teens

Clique Media Group Introduces Obsessee on March 15

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The new media brand Obsessee will begin seeking Gen Z women next week, but its website will only steer people to its social feeds.
The new media brand Obsessee will begin seeking Gen Z women next week, but its website will only steer people to its social feeds. Credit: Clique Media Group

One strategy for survival in today's hotly contested media landscape is being extremely specific about the audience you're trying to reach. Such micro-targeting is helpful when trying to tailor editorial content for maximum engagement, and it's also advantageous for advertisers who are trying to target a pitch to a specific demographic.

On March 15, into this landscape will step Obsessee, a new brand from Clique Media Group, parent company of the fashion and style publication WhoWhatWear. Obsessee will live only on distributed platforms -- Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope and Tumblr -- and it will target women between the ages of 14 and 22.

Four members of Generation Z will serve as Obsessee's editors, posting multimedia content -- texts, photos, and videos -- on topics like fashion, culture, music, beauty, and food. (Clique Media Group might also hire a managing editor to oversee the team, according to VP-digital strategy Alex Taylor.)

Katherine Power, CMG's co-founder and chief executive, said the decision to go social-only with Obsessee is a bet on a distributed, rather than owned-and-operated, future.

"I think at a certain point as publishers we will largely be distributed content on social media platforms rather than on our own domain," she said.

Teenagers are social media power-users. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study, 71% of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 use Facebook, 52% use Instagram, 41% use Snapchat, and 33% use Twitter. Seventy-one percent of teens use multiple social media networks.

As such, Ms. Power said that Gen Z "seemed like the perfect audience" to try out a platform-only strategy.

"We really wanted to create a brand where we could distribute content right where the readers are," she added.

Obsessee is not alone. NowThis, which launched in 2012, made the decision to go distributed-only in early 2015. Last fall, Business Insider introduced a brand called Insider solely on social media platforms, though there are plans for a website during the first half of 2016.

Obsessee, like NowThis, will maintain a website that will serve as a launching pad to the brand's social media channels.

With Obsessee, CMG is also testing a new ad model that's based on native brand integrations, rather than the traditional display ads that have long been a reliable source of revenue for publishers, Ms. Power said. Brands, for example, will be able to sponsor stories on Snapchat, or have their product discussed on Obsessee's Instagram channel. There will also be links to recommended products.

Were CMG's audience to migrate exclusively to social media platforms, without a requisite native integration strategy in place, Ms. Power said, "I'd lose a ton of revenue."

But Obsessee will focus on building up an audience before selling ads. Ms. Power said brand integrations would likely begin toward the end of the year.

Eventually, though, she predicted that Obsessee will become a "meaningful part" of CMG's revenue picture.

If it attracts its audience, marketers are likely to come. Clover, a newsletter for young women that began in February, recently inked Dove as a launch sponsor.