National Geographic has an impressive social media story to tell, not least because it can claim number one media brand on Instagram, but it’s Snapchat is already driving revenue for the business.
Speaking at FIPP Asia this week, Ariel Deiaco-Lohr, director of International magazine publishing at National Geographic Partners, said: “Snapchat is now one of our key revenue drivers on social media.”
“Our Snapchat audience wants things that are fun and exciting, a hit of inspiration and fun facts. On every platform our consumers want something different,” she added.
Deiaco-Lohr explained that while the formats and distribution of content was more complex, National Geographic has founding principles that are consistent across all channels and a distinct editorial identity that helps it differentiate.
The five principles are:
- Make a difference
- Do what others can't
- Be a part of the conversation
- Act urgently
- Know who you are
The company also puts profit from the media business back into the National Geographic Society, which then funds the explores that create content to feed into the channels. According to Deiaco-Lohr , 90 photographers have “the keys” to the Instagram account and competition has built between them to get the most likes on pictures.
She said this approach and the strong link to social issues and purpose appeals to a younger audience, which is helping to drive its huge scale on new platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram.
The editorial output of this is that the company has big ‘impact initiatives’ that sees content in varying formats across all channels. An example is its ‘Human Ingenuity’ series that included a commercial partnership with GE for some of the content.
The strong social purpose doesn’t make it difficult to monetise, according to Deiaco-Lohr: “On the paid media side, we are in a unique selling position with advertisers. We walk the walk for advertisers that are interested in CSR. But we will not just tell a story just because there’s money behind it, which is why we will tie it in with impact initiatives.”
National Geographic is also developing the formats on its more traditional channels such as TV. It has recently created its first scripted series, about an exploration to Mars in 2033.