New Delhi: Snap Inc, the parent company of Snapchat, is exploring new features and partnerships to offer more engagement options between users, creators and advertisers and fight competition from other social networking sites.
At their first-ever Partner Summit in Los Angeles on April 4, the company announced a bevy of new augmented reality (AR) tools, partnerships with other social media and third-party apps and a new ad platform for Snap advertisers.
For casual gamers on Snapchat, there is an online gaming platform called Snap Games. It will offer third-party games from platforms like Zynga, Game Closure, PikPok, Spry Fox and Zeptolab. Users can start playing games right from the chat screen for free. Multi-player online gaming on social media is not new and is available in Facebook Messenger and some other networks as well.
With 186 million active users worldwide and 11.15 million users in India, Snapchat still has a very limited user base compared to Facebook which has 2.27 billion global users and 300 million Indian users, as on January 2019, according to market analytics firm Statista.
However, Snapchat has managed to build a loyal community of young users with its fun features like interactive stickers, Discover and Stories, many of which have often been copied by other social media networks.
In a bid to stay ahead of the pack, Snapchat has also added an ad network feature called the Snap Audience Network, where third-party developers can monetise their apps using Snap ads— a full screen mobile ad format. They can create ads using Snapchat’s ad SDK (software development kit) which will be placed on Snapchat and other platform as well. Snapchat will keep a part of the revenue from the ads.
The company added that developers and partners will not get access to personal data of its users. What is not clear is how Snapchat will put out ads on other platforms.
To keep the millennial busy on its platform, Snapchat has added more fun features. For instance, Lens Studio (real time tool for designing two and three dimensional filters) gets new templates for famous landmarks like Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, letting users customise them in more fun way they want to.
Users can now create and add live animations on moving objects, pets and themselves. So a user can add an interactive AR sticker on a face or object and the sticker will also change as the object will move.
Scan search (AR based camera search experience which allowed users to scan physical objects in front of the camera or barcode and use it to find them on Amazon for shopping) now offers more search experiences for users, like pointing the camera at a math equation and getting the solution.
This was enabled by adding the application programming interface (API) of Photomath, a popular third-party math solving tool in Snapchat. Similarly, integration with GIPHY now brings the option to decorate snaps with contextually relevant GIF lenses.
For Discover (video streaming platform where businesses and media houses can publish short videos), the company will now make exclusive mobile shows in association with established film and television writers and production houses like Bunim Murray Productions, Dakota Pictures, New Form, and Bazelevs. Snap Originals will start airing from May. Until now, Snapchat was dependent on third party publishers for content.
Snap Kit gets a new feature called App Stories, which lets users create custom Stories for partner apps without navigating away from Snapchat. So a Tinder user can create and send a Snap Story for Tinder profile from within the Snapchat app. Users can also create bitmojis using the Bitmoji Kit in Snapchat and see them on other apps. So a bitmoji for Fitbit created from Snapchat can be displayed on Fitbit Watch’s clock faces.
Snap Inc recently added support for four Indian languages— Hindi, Punjabi, Marathi and Gujarati. The Discover feature was rolled out in 2018 in association with local language content developers and publishers.