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Special Project

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From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

60 Second Docs - Snapchat Discover

Entered in Snapchat Discover

About this entry

Produced by indigenous, 60 Second Docs is a series of short documentaries designed for social sharing. Our stories provide an authentic look at the many narratives that comprise the human experience: a window into the real stories of real people, each in just 60 seconds.

On Snapchat Discover, where 2020 was our 2nd full year of programming, our objective has been to further optimize our 60-second documentary storytelling video in vertical format for viewers of the platform. 

We also sought to inform, entertain and grow our 2MM+ subscriber audience of Gen Z and Millennials, through building content specific to the vertical format of the Snapchat app, along with its unique needs and challenges.

60 Second Docs is film -- not social video. We produce the highest-end short documentary content. Our experienced production team controls the entire workflow, setting us clearly apart.

We pursue narrative, in all its forms, from some of the world's least understood subcultures. We choose topics that are risky and out of the box, explore uncertain territory with confidence, and approach our subjects with open minds and curiosity. 

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.

We're native to each platform on which we share our premium, original episodes -- optimizing every element to best reach our audiences where they spend their time.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

While working to provide our audience with the premium, original content they anticipate from 60 Second Docs, we found ourselves facing a challenge to many of our processes due to COVID-19.

As offices closed, we transitioned overnight to a fully remote workflow. In many places, physical production was abruptly halted. 

In the past, 60 Second Docs has been lucky to work with a vast network of independent filmmakers able to cover stories anywhere in the world. Additionally, our Production team quicky demonstrated a strong ability to pivot into self-shot content and creative editing.

Despite the challenges of going rapidly remote, we were confident in our team’s prior remote experience and creative skillsets -- allowing us to continue crafting episodes that fulfilled our objectives on Snapchat Discover. We maintained release cadence on the platform, driving new audience growth and significant viewership even in a historically troubled year. 

Overall, our carefully intentional strategy around creation and framing of vertical video is designed to reach Gen Z and Millennial audiences with nontraditional yet specific interests, viewership behavior and preferences. 

By building content specifically for the Snapchat Discover user interface, we eagerly took advantage of vertical video’s unique viewability on mobile devices. We sought to evolve our voice to feel like that of a real person, a friend with authentic commentary to share with viewers.

Rooted in identifying concepts that appeal to both our brand voice and key audience interests, our strategy is highly attuned to social behavior and trends.

We maintain a research team with a knack for recognizing the most engaging stories and characters, to comb the field and capture the right narratives.

Our production team then structures and directs shoots with an eye to the arresting imagery and bold personal statements to which our audience can best relate.

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. We optimize episodes for native vertical viewership to reach both subscribed audience members and new viewers. 

To boost baseline reach we test multiple lines of copy and thumb images. Video for Snapchat Discover and its formatting is strategized with a keen eye to younger audiences and their interests. These learnings inform future creative, production, and marketing strategy. 

In addition to standard episodic programming for Snapchat Discover, 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.  


In 2020, 60 Second Docs released 183 episodes on Snapchat Discover -- maintaining our episode cadence of posting every other day. These episodes garnered over 1.241B total video views. We converted 0.5MM new audience members to channel subscribers in 2020, with 2.1MM+ total subscribers to date.

To support our posting cadence in spite of physical production limitations, we also leveraged and shared older content from our library that had never before been seen on Snapchat Discover. This allowed us to make use of videos that were shot and produced prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were additionally able to leverage our library of 700+ total episodes to counter-program for holidays, and around other cultural moments.

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.


Video for 60 Second Docs - Snapchat Discover

Entrant Company / Organization Name

60 Second Docs


Entry Credits