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From the 12th Annual Shorty Awards

60 Second Docs

Winner in Snapchat Presence

Audience Honor in Snapchat Presence


2019 was our first full year of programming for Snapchat. Our objective was to take our 60 second documentary storytelling format and extend it into the vertical format for new audiences on Snapchat.

60 Second Docs is the top performing digital docuseries profiling the world’s most interesting characters. These original short documentaries are distributed natively across social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Stories, IGTV, Snapchat Discover). Through our channel we offer a fresh and authentic perspective on reality, highlighting the many faces of what it is to be human.

Our Snapchat content strategy, centered around the specific creation of vertical video, is designed to reach Gen Z and Millennial audiences with nontraditional yet specific interests, viewership behavior and preferences. 

We were eager to take advantage of vertical video’s unique viewability on mobile devices by building content specifically for the Snapchat Discover user interface. We sought to adopt and evolve our voice to feel like that of a real person, a friend with authentic commentary to share with the viewer.

Strategy and Execution

As a documentary series within the beauty- and news-dominated landscape of Snapchat Discover, our thumbnails stand out as tiny windows: non-curated but entirely candid moments from our most interesting characters. 

We showcase the stories of real people and their authentic voices and stories. Our honest documentary perspective captures the ways in which humans can be clumsy and flawed, yet still fascinating and highly relatable.

Across the board 60 Second Docs uses episode performance insights such as retention and completion rates to home in on the audience’s key behaviors, wants and needs. These data-backed optimizations are A/B tested in a proprietary process that then informs future creative, production and marketing strategy. 

We optimize episodes for native vertical viewership to reach both subscribed audience members and new viewers. The series is also algorithmically served to users on the Snap Discover page.

Structurally, to boost baseline reach on Snapchat, we also test multiple lines of copy, as well as more than one thumb. Video for the platform and its formatting is strategized with a keen eye to younger audiences and their specific interests.
In addition to standard episodic programming for Snapchat, 60 Second Docs also subverts user expectations by providing counterprogramming around events and holidays, while still honoring them in a way that fulfills our brand voice and our audience’s expectations. 

These include episodes such as DIY Nation -- a man who claimed a micronation of 6.3 acres in the US next to his home in Dayton, Nevada -- in celebration of Presidents Day, and a subversive performance art piece positioned in celebration of International Women’s Day.


During 2019, 60 Second Docs released 180+ episodes on Snapchat Discover. These episodes garnered over 1 billion total video views and converted 1.2 million new audience members to channel subscribers.

On Snapchat Discover, 60 Second Docs has reached a diverse group of viewers ranging in age from Gen Z to younger Millennials. In addition to the viewership and audience we’ve garnered, optimizing for best practices has allowed us to develop a sticky audience, the majority of whom return at least 2X every week to watch new episodes.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Indigenous Media


Entry Credits