What Key Features Have Snapchat Introduced in 2020
After the unpopular re-design in 2017 Snapchat appeared to be in a gradual decline as user interest and growth waned. However, after an influx of new features in 2019, such as the addition of a 3D Camera Mode and the ability to send Cameo Videos in chat, the projected percentage of user growth increased. By early 2020 it was estimated that Snapchat would have garnered 293 million global users, 80 million of such being predominantly US based. In order to encourage and maintain this projected user growth Snapchat announced during its’ June Summit a whole host of new features to be launched in 2020.
These features range from innovative platform updates to new Navigation tools and Discover content. Arguably the most substantial change to Snapchat is that creators will now be able to make their subscriber count visible. This has massive implications for brands looking to market on the Snapchat as said feature will make it easier to analyse follower count and engagement rates of creators active on the platform. This brings Snapchat in line with their competitor Instagram, who already had such data readily accessible on their application. By divulging metrics publicly Snapchat is helping to streamline the conversation between brands and creators, thus creating new opportunity for influencer marketing.
New Navigation Tools:
The Snapchat navigation tool is getting a massive upgrade which includes both a new action bar and story replies. The action bar is designed to provide contextual help alongside simplifying user navigation of the app, whilst the addition of the story replies feature is aimed at allowing users to easily communicate with their favourite Snap stars. The inclusion of ‘places’ via the Snap Map is an exciting leap forward for the hospitality industry as the cultivation of a ‘Place Profile’ fundamentally increases the exposure of a venue on social media. A ‘Place Profile’ includes Snaps from the location, as well crucial information such as the locational address, hours of operation, as well as reviews from TripAdvisor and Foursquare. In the US users will even be able to order food via Snapchat using third party companies such as Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.
Snapchat, the new Netflix?
With over half of the US Gen Z population watching Snap Originals avidly there is reason to believe that Snapchat could transition into its’ own standalone streaming service. Snapchat has already found great success with its’ original series, ‘Will from Home’ starring famous actor, Will Smith. The series garnered a large audience of over 35 million Snapchat users. Following on from this Snapchat has sought to bulk up the amount of content launched from the app by securing partnerships with formidable channels and creators.
High-profile American broadcasting networks such as; Disney, Espn, NBC Universal, Viacom CBS, the NBA and the NFL, have all entered into multi-year deals with Snapchat. As a result, users should soon be greeted with a variety of fresh new shows and original programming on their Snapchat Discover. Furthermore, Snapchat has entered into agreements with amazing creators such as Kevin Hart, Catherine Hardwicke, and Anthony Anderson.
What is ‘Happening Now?
Alongside an increase in content for Discover Snapchat has also launched a new feature entitled, ‘Happening Now.’ Designed to encourage news consumption via the Snapchat app, ‘Happening Now’ was designed in order to allow users to access breaking news more readily. In 2020 thus far, Snapchat has reported that over 125 million people watched news stories on Snapchat. With this in mind Snapchat has partnered with several American publishers (The Washington Post, Bloomberg, Reuters, NBC News, ESPN, NowThis, E! News, Buzzfeed News) in order to increase the volume of newsworthy content on the platform. Snapchat will cultivate these stories, turning them into a bite-sized format that is customised solely for mobile. Users will also receive personalised weather news, complete with Bitmoji, and horoscopes provided by Sanctuary. The astrology feature in particular is guaranteed to be a hit amongst millennial and Gen Z Snapchat users as more members of said demographics have started to integrate astrology and other mystical practices into their every day lives.
As part of the drive to emulate the Chinese ‘Super-App’ model, Snapchat has unveiled a set of seven different mini, third-party apps that will operate within Snapchat itself. These ‘Snap Mini’s’ are built with HTML and are essentially simplified, lightweight versions of apps that will live within the chat section. These mini applications will allow developers to offer their own mini experiences within Snapchat itself. Three of these apps have been made in partnership with other global organisations such as Headspace and Coachella. The Coachella app will allow users to coordinate and plan the festival line-up with friends, whilst the Headspace app will provide individuals with a virtual space to meditate, as well as send encouraging messages to friends in need. Other mini’s include; ‘Let’s Do It’, an app that helps users make a group decisions, Prediction Master, a fun question based game which will have users guessing which friends are ‘psychic’, and Movie Tickets which will allow friends to choose a show time at a theatre, as well as select seats that are together. Snapchat is also making a concerted effort to penetrate the social sphere of the Student community as two minis, Saturn and Tembo, both help students by allowing them to share and compare their class schedules with their fellow students, and also create flashcard decks with friends in order to facilitate studying on the app.