Snapchat has until now been something of an island in the social media landscape: Unlike YouTube or Twitter, it wasn’t possible to directly link to Snapchat content. This meant that media partners with Discover channels, for example, had to find ways to circumvent the platform’s limitations, including using third-party services to share video snippets from Snapchat on Twitter. But as of this week, the popular messaging app is changing all that, with the introduction of direct links to Snapchat content that publishers can post on Facebook or Twitter, Digiday reports.
“The channels are working on new ways to get people into Snapchat beyond just having to open the Snapchat app,” one source in charge of a Discover channel told Digiday. Though media brands that skew young are already raking in huge audiences on Snapchat–BuzzFeed, for instance, claims that 21% of its total content views come from Discover–this functionality could increase viewership for Snapchat channels that might not be performing as well.
Much like they do with YouTube videos and articles, Facebook and Twitter users will now be able to share and comment on Snapchat posts, yielding another metric through which the app can measure engagement. At the moment, Snapchat users have no way of giving feedback on the content featured in Snapchat Discover channels–a stark difference from other content-heavy social media platforms, through which publishers are able to speak directly to their audiences.
When users open a link to Snapchat on desktop, it either prompts them to download the app (if they don’t already have it) or displays a QR code for use on their phone. Dubbed “deep linking,” this allows users to access specific pages or content within apps, rather than just the home screen.
The question, however, is whether this move will actually attract people who don’t already use Snapchat. While it will certainly increase engagement and make Discover channels more popular among Snapchat’s existing audience, the lure of Snapchat-exclusive content may not be enough to convince prospective users to download yet another app.