After introducing "Our Story" streams in June as a way to curate submissions around live events, Snapchat made a move to monetize the format with the Samsung-sponsored American Music Awards livestream Sunday night.
"Our Story" feeds function in a similar fashion to Twitter hashtags, in that they aggregate and organize posts around a specific event. The AMA sponsored content was placed in the feed in between the user generated content.
"Unfortunately, the Samsung Snaps in the Story feel much less natural or compelling than the user generated content," writes John Constine in this story in TechCrunch. "A bland video of a woman’s feet on the red carpet emblazoned with 'AMAs…Powered By Samsung Galaxy' serves as the title screen and first slide. Following some fun shots of celebrities entering the awards show and performing outside, we get a drab 'Backstage – American Music Awards. Powered By Samsung Galaxy' video of the production studio editing the taping for live TV."
Advertising industry experts say one important consumer-friendly feature on the sponsored livestream approach is that users don’t have to watch video ads in their streams if they don’t want to, and the branded content approach allows for uninterrupted watching.
Users could complement future TV viewing via "Our Story" with a mobile device, or it could provide an an alternative for Snapchat users who aren't watching an event on TV.
Snapchat has confirmed it was paid by Samsung for the promotion.
The disappearing-message platform doesn't provide official figures for its total user base, but CNN recently reported users were viewing over 1 billion stories and sharing more than 700 million snaps per day.
Snapchat has been engaged in some funding and investment talks valuing it at roughly $10 billion, but that astronomical figure brings with it the pressure to attract dollars as well as users.
The first "Our Story" feature was the Electric Daisy Carnival dance festival in Las Vegas that drew 700,000 people over the course of the three days this past summer.
Anyone on the festival grounds could submit snaps to the EDC "Our Story." Snapchat then curated those snaps, both video and stills, and made the best of them visible to all users around the world.
Snapchat also successfully used the "Our Story" format for the World Cup and Super Bowl, as well as at other festivals, holidays and events around the world.
We'll let TechCrunch's John Constine have the last word on the future viability of sponsored "Our Story" livestreams
"Snapchat has to maintain that high bar of curation. It can’t allow lame events to get the Our Story treament, and it has to teach businesses how to make their branded-clips fun. It needs Twitter Samsung Ellen Selfie-quality branded content. Otherwise, the audience that returns to Our Story will disappear faster than…Facebook’s latest standalone app."