Thursday, 04 August 2016 08:35

Marketing Thought: Snapchat - The Features

Last month, we discussed the basics of Snapchat. Now we can delve into the most exciting features of this sophisticated phone app which have contributed to users’ eight billion daily video views on the platform. The app now rivals even Facebook’s video engagement, so here you can discover what the fuss is about.

Camera Lenses

Snapchatters can use built-in lenses to alter the appearance of their photos. These lenses, (which operate more like filters than an actual camera lens), have built-in facial recognition software. When the user presses and holds over a face on their screen while in camera mode (either photo or video), a lens can be applied to the faces in the Snap.

With in-app facial recognition, users can do the most bizarre things to their Snap.

There are many different lens options all designed to add comic visuals to the Snap. Once applied to video or photo, the Snap can be sent to anyone in their contact list or their My Story feed. There are a few favorite lenses that are every-day options, but others vary daily. For example, there are lenses that can make a face become an interactive dog, in which the face in the photo appears to open his or her mouth, and the screen gets a big, sloppy kiss. Another lens makes the head, mouth, and eyes of the person in the photo morph into different shapes and sizes. There is a lens that is an old lady's face, one that is a bee and another that is a panda. There is even a lens that can make a face look like a strawberry head that pukes strawberries. Yes, it is bizarre but entertaining to tens of millions of users.


When a Snapchat user is within the radius of a sponsored Snapchat geographic area, users can add a design overlay to their snaps, referred to as a Geofilter. Cities, airports, ski resorts, festivals, even weddings can have art designed and distributed through Snapchat so users can add these Geofilters to their Snaps. Administrators of the Geofilters submit their graphic art through Snapchat’s website. Once the graphic is approved, an 8-hour slot is $5 for the sponsors. Some of the Geofilters, such as those designed for cities, are always available. Others that are designed for a single event are typically limited to an 8-hour time frame. When Snapchatters are within the region, they have the ability to add the sponsored graphic to their Snaps.

This is an example of a Colorado Geofilter option.

Event Live Stories

Snapchatters have the option to post their Snaps to a feed called, “Live Story.” The Live Story is a user- generated Story for users that are within the geographic radius of an event. Some events that have been Live Stories are the Coachella music festival, the U.S. presidential debates, New York Fashion Week, the Super Bowl, and the Oscars.

This is an example of a user's Snapchat Story feed.

Found in the Stories feed, Snapchatters can view Live Stories being generated from events taking place all over the world. A viewer can cycle through all the Snaps that have been sent to the Live Story feed, creating a story-line for the event. These Live Story posts last for the day of the event, and if the event lasts several days, it will be available throughout each day. The individual Snaps sent to the feed will last 24 hours on the Live Story before they disappear, the same expiration schedule found in the My Story feed.

Discover Channel

The Discover Channel is a newer addition to Snapchat and is viewable on the same screen as the Snapchat user’s Story feed. The Discover Channel hosts daily mini-magazines of 20 well-recognized publishing brands such as Buzzfeed, Mashable, Tastemade, ESPN, and CNN. These Channels’ mini-magazine posts last 24 hours with an unlimited number of views available within that day. Once the viewer is in a Discover Channel, they can swipe up to read more about the pages in the magazine.

Some posts are a short video. Once finished with the page, the viewer then swipes right to flip through the rest of the various daily pages. A Snapchatter can send a screenshot of the Discover Channel posts and share them with their friends.

This is what the Snapchat Discover Channel looks like.

The value of Snapchat may be a mystery to older generations who question the need for another social media platform, but for younger generations, it has become vital to their social interactions.

Stay tuned for FiG's next blog on business opportunities that lie within Snapchat.


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