- Thrillist, the lifestyle website run by Group Nine Media, launched its first channel on Snapchat's Discover section for professionally produced content, according to a press release shared with Mobile Marketer. The site will provide Snapchat’s first always-on travel channel in the United States.
- Thrillist's channel will publish from Wednesday to Sunday of each week and will have a team dedicated to producing Snapchat content. The publisher plans to create interactive, travel-focused games, while offering tips and advice on finding deals.
- "Thrillist identified a content whitespace on Snapchat and we're poised to bring consistent, informative and visually engaging travel content to the next generation on the platform for the first time,” said Thrillist's President Ocean MacAdams.
Thrillist's new travel channel may help lure more advertising from airlines, hotels, rental car companies, cruise lines and travel agencies that are seeking to reach younger audiences with disposable income to spend on trips. The channel caters to Snapchat’s Generation Z and millennial demographic groups who are tech-savvy and more likely than older generations to seek out travel experiences that can be shared on social media. In an Expedia poll of U.S. travelers, 90% of Gen Z said their travel inspiration and planning choices were influenced by social media during initial travel planning phases. More than any other generation, about 70% of millennials said ads of deals, photos and information influence their travel decisions. Millennials were found to travel the most at 35 days a year, with Generation Z closely following at 29 days a year.
Thrillist's channel may help Snapchat appeal to audiences who seek travel information from rivals like Facebook's Instagram or Google's YouTube. Among travelers on social media, 46% are active on Instagram, a 350% increase since 2013, and 60% of millennial travelers use the platform, a 375% increase from 2013, according to travel marketing organization MMGY Global. Despite the increased use of Instagram, Google remains the top travel website, with 41% of travelers using the site to find prices and information throughout their vacation planning.
Snap, the parent company of image-messaging app Snapchat, has been investing in original content as part of its effort to make the app more appealing to social media users. Snap this year redesigned Snapchat to make the app less confusing for new users, but alienated many people who negatively reacted to the new format. Snapchat ended up releasing another redesign in response to user complaints. This month, Snap said Snapchat's user growth had declined for the first time, but despite the drop in users, its revenue rose 44% from a year earlier to $262.3 million and its losses narrowed to $353 million from $443 million in Q2 2017.
Thrillist's move comes as publishers look to work with the same social media platforms that are contributing to decreases in traffic and revenue. The declines are one of many struggles for the online publication, whose journalists authorized the first known strike at a digital media company earlier this month in a fight for "livable wages."