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How Facebook, Apple, and Snapchat Are Shaking Up the Publishing Industry

How Facebook, Apple, and Snapchat Are Shaking Up the Publishing Industry

microwaveIn recent years, hysteria over the “impending death” of Facebook has infected the masses. Hypochondriacs point to the symptoms — an absence of growth, the rising popularity of photo-sharing networks, and a shift in popular perception — and ignore the bigger picture.

Facebook realized that its original purpose — connecting people — had reached a saturation point. So just as an investor would advise you to diversify your portfolio, Facebook diversified its platform. It’s not dying; it’s becoming a multiplicity of media. And Facebook isn’t alone in this development.

Many of the media giants we’ve come to adore are joining the publishing party, and it’s changing the way we consume and create content. Among them: 

  • Snapchat brought us Discover in January.
  • Facebook introduced Instant Articles last month, a welcome reprieve from stalking your ex’s profile.
  • Apple birthed the News app on Monday.

The industry is undoubtedly evolving for publishers and content providers. And when the giants come to play, the rest of us better pay attention.

The New Face of the Publishing Industry

Although Snapchat was the first to enter the publishing game, Facebook’s and Apple’s platforms do more for publishers. Let’s take a brief look at what they’re doing to revolutionize content.

Facebook Instant Articles 

Facebook Instant Articles is designed as a news feed platform for displaying interactive content similar to pictures and video. Here are my initial takes:

  • The articles load faster than you can say “C-suite.” According to Facebook, web article load speeds are 10 times faster than the average.
  • A suite of interactive features enraptures the eye with tilt-enabled photos, audio captions, and auto-play videos.


(Photo credit: The Verge

Apple News

Apple News is Apple’s reentry into the publishing arena after its Newsstand app proved an oversaturated failure. Here are my initial takes: 

  • The app’s appearance is eerily similar to Flipboard, a fellow news-curating app. Publishers customize their content through “Apple News Format,” a potpourri of customizable typography, in-line images, and layouts. Apple describes these options as rich, and they live up to it.
  • “For You” aggregates and packages content that fits your constantly updated reader profile.


(Photo credit: Business Wire

Publisher accessibility sets these two platforms apart. Facebook has chosen to sit tight with nine major publishers, including The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and the Guardian. In contrast, Apple plans to open up News to any and all publishers, professional or not, including those mentioned above. 

This certainly seems counterintuitive. Why would conventional media outlets want to hand over their content to new-age media magnates? Two reasons: For publishers, sharing native content on non-native platforms is an investment in non-traditional consumers. Meeting these consumers where they are — social media and their smart devices — is an olive branch in sheep’s clothing.

Publishers also want to profit. By selling its own ad space (this is where brands have access) within either platform, the publisher reaps 100 percent of the profits. If a publisher wants to entrust ad sales to either host, both Facebook and Apple will take a 30 percent cut.  

How to Capitalize on Modern Publishing Platforms

As a content creator, you can also employ this technology to your benefit. Here’s how: 

1. Start publishing content.

According to Joshua Benton, “2015 really is the Year of Distributed Content. It’s not just social platforms like Facebook and Snapchat that are interested in taking in your content — it’s also the device platforms they themselves squat on.”

As the world of content publishing evolves, the need for content has widened. Start filling this gap by publishing dynamic brand content across the web.

2. Take a mobile-first mentality.

It’s important to note that these platforms are only available on mobile. Facebook is making swift moves toward a desktop variant, but Apple is not. Still, establishing relationships with prominent publishers could place your expertise and branded content on news feeds and app screens nationwide.

3. Keep a pulse on media trends. 

The content you’re marketing on social media is no longer cutting-edge. If you’re not taking a deep look at media trends (e.g., the rise of vertical video), you’re falling behind.

4. Reveal your brand personality. 

As a content marketer, consumers can explore your brand voice and expertise in entirely new ways. Snapchat, in particular, has provided brands and publishers a human voice that audiences can interact with. Take this opportunity to share your brand personality and lock in the eyes and ears of interested audiences.

If you want to access these platforms, now is the time to start crafting exciting content that attracts major publishers, developing relationships with them, or strategizing your platform entry.

How is your company taking advantage of these new platforms?

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About Kyle Gunby

When it comes to ideation, I love my 4th, 5th, and 6th thoughts. The first three are often contrived. Improvisational comedy is my art, Nelson Mandela is my hero, and Zooey Deschanel is my love.


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