The Sun is building its next generation of readers in isolation from its print and online offerings on Snapchat. It is utilising its access to celebrity news and insight to develop exclusive content for the platform and has just reported its most successful month on the app.
Speaking at The Drum and Sun Arms during Advertising Week Europe, Milton Elias, head of mobile and video at News UK, revealed The Sun boasted 6.7m unique visitors reaching its biggest ever audience on Snapchat earlier this month. To put this in context, according to Comscore The Sun’s entire digital brand reaches on average 25.4 million unique visitors across the month in the UK. He claimed 90% of visitors were on mobile.
Elias said the Snapchat audience was ”entirely new, and not the white van man.” In fact, it is almost the complete opposite of common perception of the title’s audience, with 60% of viewers under 25 and 70% female.
With the brand just dropping its digital paywall in 2015, it has been playing catch up in building online audiences, which makes the success of efforts on platforms like Snapchat so important. Now the offering has achieved scale, brands approach the newsbrand to either create bespoke content, including vertical videos that are usually 10 seconds long – sometimes adapted from TV creative. Other times, brands may have all the assets ready to run.
On the traits that make for good Snapchat ads, Elias said: “It is not just entertaining short and snappy work, users must want to go beyond the ad and engage, it is the content that makes users want to swipe up or tap.” He added that it works best when the content “looks and feels as much as it can like editorial in terms of tone of voice.”
His stand-out partnerships include work with Hasbro’s Monopoly and Kellogg’s. As for the Snap being a platform the wider News UK group could embrace, Elias confirmed it is unlikely that The Times will appear on the platform any time soon.
Since first embracing the app in 2015, The Sun monetised the channel with branded content to support a small, committed social team lead by Sophie Tighe, Snapchat editor at The Sun. She said she sees each activation on the messaging app as an issue of a magazine.
The team works closely with Dan Wooton’s Bizarre to create content relevant to the audience. Tighe said: “We use some of their content on the website and do some of our own original stuff, that younger audience is not being served online. We are not just copy pasting things from the website, very piece of content is thought about for the audience.”
By listening to the audience, she has learned what brands they want to engage with and how they want to do it. “The amount of feedback that we get is incredible. I have literally given Milton a list of brands that our audience love, this is who they want to hear from.”
Tighe concluded that Snapchat users are not as pro-video as one may think, adding that some users were “annoyed” they couldn’t read more.
Earlier this year The Sun said it had identified new potential customers for its print product after 500,000 readers signed up for its Sun Savers programme in six months.