The New Snapchat Updates Worth Knowing About for Users and Marketers
Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology's impact on business, society, and culture.
Access exclusive SMW+ content by marketers whose careers you can emulate with a free 30-day trial!
We already know the juggernaut that is Snapchat. The app with disappearing photos and videos, daily news content, and yes, even a peer-to-peer payment system, just released a few updates that everyone is losing their mind over. Snapchat captures the attention, primarily, of Gen-Z and Millennials. 45% of the app’s users are between 18 and 24 years old, and 71% below age 34. Needless to say, Snapchat embodies the cool kid at the party, the adorable nerd, and the brilliant wiz-kid all in one, and there’s no signs of anything stopping it.
Whenever Snapchat releases an update to its app, it’s a pretty big deal. Especially considering how many of its users send and receive snaps on a daily basis. It’s like your childhood school adding a new area or piece of equipment to the playground, the same playground you explore every day at lunch, the same playground where you interact with friends. The new swing-set could be the best thing you’ve ever seen, or it could be an unexpected change that throws a wrench into your routine. Either way, it’s new, it’s here, and it’s worth knowing about.
Lenses: The New Way to Snap Yourself(ie)
In Snapchat, as you’re about to take a photo or video, have the camera front-facing, and press and hold on your face. A row of circular icons will appear at the bottom, and a grid-like pattern will cover your face for a brief moment. Congratulations! You’ve enabled the new “Lenses” to appear. These are preset, face-recognizing, animated effects that are fun, creepy, gross, hysterical, and everything in between. The technology behind these “Lenses” comes from Looksery, a company Snapchat recently acquired. Here’s what the seven debut “Lenses” look like as videos (formatted using GifLab):
In-App Purchases for Replaying Snaps
Before this update, Snapchat allowed users to replay one Snap that he or she received for every 24 hours, at no charge. This update doesn’t change that, but users now have the option of purchasing a “pack” of replays: 3 for $0.99, 10 for $2.99, and 20 for $4.99. Even if you purchase the 20-replay pack, Snapchat still restricts users to one Snap Replay per 24 hours.
If you’re a frequent Snapchat user, you probably notice various emoji next to the names and usernames of your friends. It’s assumed that you interact with these individuals the most in the app, but the specific emoji never had a true meaning… until now! Snapchat snuck in a guide to emoji. To access the guide, first go to your dashboard, the tap the settings gear icon in the top right corner, then tap “Manage” under the “Additional Services” tab, then tap “Friend Emojis” towards the bottom, and there it is. You can also customize the guide with any emoji you’d like, so feel free to represent your “Super BFFs” with a slice of pizza, or a smiling piece of poop, go crazy!
Why Should Marketers Care About This?
For starters, this update means more people spending more time in Snapchat, which creates a new (or larger) opportunity for your to reach consumers between 18-34 years old. Not only will users spend more time creating content and sharing it with friends, but the gamification element of the Trophy Case encourages users to send more, share more, and consume more. If engaging with a brand’s Snapchat account helps him or her unlock a new trophy, that just might be what we see more of in the next few months.
Perhaps more importantly, the replay packs tie into business’ products or services. For example, many brands use Snapchat to offer a special, one-time only discount or code to customers and fans. The trick is, though, the recipient must see it, screenshot, and use it rather quickly. This update allows users to have slightly more freedom with their replays, so if that mean’s purchasing 10 replays for $2.99, in order to save $20 on your product, you bet that user will do it.
At the end of the day, new changes to major social networks are worth thinking about for your business. You might walk out of a brainstorm sessions and realize your brand or product doesn’t fit with Snapchat or these new updates, but at least you now know, and perhaps that brainstorm leads to ideas for another social channel, or an interesting piece of content your community might enjoy on a non-Snapchat platform. Either way, take these updates into consideration, or at the very least, send some rainbow-tongue videos to your friends.
Write for Us
Interested in sharing your ideas and insights with the world? Become a SMW News contributor and reach 300k readers each month.