National Geographic increased its Snapchat subscriber base by more than three million people in just three months after combining its natural flair for visual storytelling with a more focused and streamlined content strategy.
Nat Geo has used arresting images on traditional print covers to build its brand for decades, but it is now tapping into social media to drive awareness and reach out through alternative channels. Snapchat’s Discover initiative, which allows major publishers to deliver ad supported short form content to users, has been particularly fruitful for the global nonprofit organisation.
Stephanie Atlas, Nat Geo’s senior director for the Snapchat Discover team, has revealed that eliminating silos and bringing talented people from across the organisation, including UX designers and video producers, has significantly increased audience numbers on the social platform.
Various studies and leading industry figures have stated that developing content that online audiences actually want to consume is the major challenge for brands. Atlas echoed these sentiments, adding that it was difficult to focus on creating content that not only resonated with subscribers but also suited social platforms.
“It’s a question of tailoring what you’re doing to that audience and making sure you’re not just repurposing content,” Atlas said. “People think you can take what’s on television and do it online, for example, but people will notice that. You have to make sure that you’re speaking the language of that platform.”
Nat Geo appears to be succeeding in that aim, because the brand is now enjoying a 200 to 400 percent increase in the number of daily active users, in addition to a significant uptick in completion rate and year-to-date revenue. Audience numbers also soared by 160 percent during the last quarter.
Engaging content has been central to this success and Atlas admits that Nat Geo often has to draw on a vast number of different skill sets to ensure that their material is always the highest quality. “We want to make sure these pieces feel personal and not ‘hosted,'” Atlas concluded. “The most important point is that the photographers are the vehicles for the story, not the main attraction.”