Facebook and Snapchat are in an all-out war over the "story" format, but for publishers it doesn't make sense to choose sides.
Tastemade is one of Snapchat's biggest publishers, and it was an early partner in the Discover section of the app. The Facebook-owned Instagram is actually its fastest-growing platform, however, cofounder Steven Kydd told Business Insider. It now has 4.1 million followers there and averages 1 million to 1.5 million views for its stories.
"In TV, you shoot once and give everyone the same" video, Kydd said. "We shoot once" in 4K, he continued, "and edit into multiple formats, then take all the data back" from the platform after it's published. The system is designed to be flexible to various platforms, and for good reason.
"People miss the rapid pace of change of the product side" of platforms like Facebook and Snapchat, Kydd said. Publishers must be able to adapt to the quirks of a company whose goals are not fully aligned with their own. And it is also unclear at any given time which platform will leapfrog the competition in its ability to deliver eyeballs or rise in the esteem of advertisers.
Back when Tastemade was founded in 2012 as a mobile video producer focused on food and travel, the online video landscape was a one-horse town: YouTube. That changed dramatically as Facebook and Snapchat became power players, and it will most likely continue to change as they battle over ad revenue — especially if TV ad money arrives on mobile.
In fact, a study by RBC Capital Markets and Ad Age published Wednesday found that marketers were seeing worse return on investment for Snapchat versus Google and Facebook, and one factor cited was increasing competition from Instagram.
But even though Tastemade isn't betting the farm on just Snapchat, Kydd did describe getting on Snapchat Discover as a seminal moment for the company. That's because it led Tastemade to create a daily edition, which now regularly gets over a million views.
"Discover is like cable but mobile and for millennials," Kydd said. That thinking echoes Snapchat's pitch to TV advertisers, though some, including me, have questioned the quality of programming on Discover.
But there's a big difference between Snapchat and cable that Kydd pointed to: Snapchat is instantly global. The various versions of Snapchat Discover have helped fuel Tastemade's global expansion to Santa Monica, California; London; Sao Paulo; Tokyo; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and so on. Tastemade's sales team has grown by 10 times in the past 18 months, according to Kydd.
As to when the TV advertising dollars will actually shift to mobile video — a move tech companies have promised investors for years — Kydd said it would catch the world by surprise. He thinks it will mimic the flow of consumption of mobile video.
"It took longer" to get going, he said, "then happened way faster." Now he's waiting for a similar dynamic to play out with the money.