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Appealing to Diverse Audiences, Essence and Snapchat Launch Third Pop-Up Discover Channel

By Published on .

Essence is creating Snapchat videos and stories that speak to black women, mostly millennials.
Essence is creating Snapchat videos and stories that speak to black women, mostly millennials. Credit: Courtesy Time Inc.

Snapchat could appeal to more diverse audiences with its latest media partners that are helping reach African-Americans and Hispanics.

On Monday, Essence , a magazine celebrating black women, posted its third pop-up Discover channel. Essence was Time Inc.'s first publication on Discover, which is Snapchat's media hub filled with channels from major publishers and television networks.

In October, Essence launched its first temporary channel, and earlier this month MitĂș, a digital media company catering to U.S. Hispanics, got one.

Essence is creating Snapchat videos and stories that speak to black women, mostly millennials, and avoiding celebrity gossip like the Kardashians, who dominate most Discover channels.

"We're not focusing so much on Kardashians," said Brahaani Mamo, Essence's social media director. "People want content that's substantive, that speaks to them and that they feel proud about."

On Monday's Snapchat channel, Essence posted a list of the "12 most lit black girl moments of 2016." It's an example of how the channel speaks in the vernacular that reflects black online culture, a culture that spawned media favorites like "Black Twitter."

"We're speaking to kind of a niche audience," said Cassandre Charles, VP-client solutions at Essence. "We want to be speaking to more black women and youth, and we have a unique opportunity to tell that story on Snapchat."

Snapchat is growing as a force in publishing, with media companies looking to reach its mostly young 150 million daily users.

Essence would not reveal details of its deal with Snapchat. On Discover, Snapchat arranges separate terms with each publisher over advertising.

Snapchat declined to comment for this story.

The first pop-up channel from Essence featured a sponsor, NBC Universal, which promoted its movie "Almost Christmas."

"We like the content of Essence and thought it was the right match for the 'Almost Christmas' audience," said Doug Neil, Universal's exec VP-digital marketing.

Essence did not have a sponsor for its second pop-up channel, but Snapchat serves ads to all the channels even if there aren't special brand partners.

Snapchat could use a diverse lineup on Discover for better ad targeting.

Channels that people visit are used to identify their interests and help target ads later.

All social media platforms have gathered data on users to target interests, and some like Facebook have sophisticated cultural targeting.

With new channels like MitĂș and Essence, Snapchat could have more insight into its audiences. Essence would not say how many users it reaches on Snapchat, but a person familiar with Discover numbers said it was likely in the hundreds of thousands, not millions.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said Essence was launching its second pop-up Discover channel. It was, in fact, its third. Ad Age regrets the error.

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