Nine Critical Features Snapchat Needs To Add to Bring its UX and Business to the Next Level

Remember the early days of Twitter? You know, when most people you know would say things like “Why does anyone care what I eat?” and “Summing up my thoughts in 140 characters? That’s dumb!”

Remember how Twitter then went on to change the world and every one of those people are now actively tweeting?

Meet Snapchat in 2016. Most people still don’t get it and won’t for the foreseeable future but they, just like the people who dismissed Twitter in the early days, are missing out!

They are missing out on the unique community on Snapchat. They are missing out on being an early adopter (not so early anymore) of a platform that is growing at the speed of light. They are missing out on a platform that most experts now agree is significant from a marketing perspective, to say the least.

They are missing out on Mark Suster and Justin Kan. They are missing out on Gary Vaynerchuk. They are missing out on some amazing content from the biggest media brands on earth and they are missing out on an inside look at the life of some of the most interesting people in all verticals of our society.

Don’t be that guy. I was that guy till a few months ago. I was wrong about Snapchat.

Follow me by scanning the picture below in the Add Friends screen of Snapchat and you’ll see just how wrong I was. I am now hooked!

Ok so you have tried Snapchat and didn’t get it? You found the user interface to be confusing and overwhelming? You are not alone. And yet, the platform has 8 billion daily video views.

If Snapchat confuses you, here’s what you need to know!

So you’ve tried it, gotten past the bad UI but stopped snapping because you couldn’t find interesting people to follow?

Here are 50 interesting people to follow on Snapchat!

Now that we got that out of the way and I convinced you to give Snapchat another chance, sit down because I am about to seriously confuse you.

If you thought the experience was bad at first, just wait till you become a power user. It only gets worse.

Here are nine absolutely critical features Snapchat needs to add like yesterday. It is laughable that these features do not already exist as they are all pretty much at the foundation of any good social experience on the web. And yet, 8 billion daily views…

Here goes.

1- User Discovery

No, you are not insane and you are not missing it. There is no mechanism in Snapchat to find good people to follow. It doesn’t exist and that is insane. For now, the Snapchat community is dependent on bloggers like myself to write posts listing people to follow and on 3rd party apps, like GhostCodes to recommend people. Again, that is insane. However…

This missing feature leads to something very interesting. Because there is no easy way to discover new accounts, the community on Snapchat has stepped up and a major part of the snapping experience is sharing Snapcodes.

Again, looking back at the early days of Twitter. Remember #FollowFriday? That was a hashtag people used to recommend folks to follow every Friday. It was a widespread kinda heart-warming phenomenon.

Snappers love recommending others to follow and for now, that is how I have discovered most of the accounts I follow.

2- An Open API

Listen, I get it. Twitter opened an API to developers then ended up shooting itself in the foot when everyone would use Twitter via the API and almost no one visited!

APIs can be dangerous if not done right, hence the lack of a Google+ API and we all know how that went.

Snapchat needs to open its API so developers can build on the platform. It would add a whole new level of interaction that is not currently supported in Snapchat itself.

By the way, not only is there no Snapchat API now but anyone who does use a 3rd party app to snap has their account locked for doing so. Not cool, Snapchat. Not cool at all!

3- Add Photos/Videos from Camera Roll to Story

How is this a thing? I want to add a picture or a video to my story from my Camera Roll and Snapchat doesn’t support that? Really, Snapchat?

I get the whole “We want to be an independent platform that doesn’t let you share to other platforms” thing but that doesn’t mean that just because I didn’t take the picture in Snapchat, I shouldn’t be allowed to share it to my story. That’s just silly. Please fix this. It’s crazy.

4- Hide Users

Oh Gosh Snapchat, please add this. Here’s the deal. Someone follows me, they seem somewhat interesting so I follow back. Repeat that 200 times and you have my current Snapchat predicament.

Now I look away from Snapchat for 12 seconds and before I know it, I have 150 stories to watch. I wake up every morning to hundreds.

Yes, I can edit the names of the people I like most so they appear on top. No, nothing will happen if I don’t watch all the stories. And yes, I realize I may be OCD if it bothers me that their are constantly tens of unwatched stories at the top of my feed.

Except I really don’t want to offend anyone by unfollowing them. So please, let me hide people so they can still reply to my snaps with a chat (something you can only do when someone follows you) but I don’t have to see the story of their dog at the top of my feed every single day!

It’s not your dog, it’s me.

5- Search

Add search. Thanks. Search for users, search for words, search for interests, search for profiles. Oh wait, Snapchat doesn’t have any of those. More on that later…

6- Follower Data

Someone follows me and I have approximately zero information at my disposal in order to determine whether to follow back.

I come across a user because someone recommended that person. Great. Now what? Who is the person? What do they snap about? Where do they live? What do they look like? Male? Female? Anything?

Give me some user information, Snapchat! Please. I mean now you’re playing with the big boys and I still don’t know if a person is 12 or 120. Can we fix that? Thanks.

7- User Groups/Noise Control

Remember how I complained above about too much noise? Cmon, it was like 30 lines up! :-)

There is absolutely no noise control in Snapchat and that is a major problem that is only going to get worse as the platform grows. I’m not saying to go all algorithmic on us like Facebook and now its little brother Instagram, but c'mon, give me some ability to filter out the noise!

While you’re at it, Snapchat, let me send snaps to certain groups of people. In other words, add the ability to create groups or lists so I can categorize the snaps that show up and share my content selectively.

C'mon. Groups. Lists. All the cool kids are doing it!

8- User Profiles

Well, I kind of mentioned this above under Follower Data but really, how is it that people don’t have some sort of profile on Snapchat?

This is like one of those things that we will look back on in a year or two and say “Remember Snapchat pre user profiles? How did we live back then?” And we will undoubtedly add the hashtag #GoodTimes.

9- Distribution

I guess this point ties into the discovery element because if no one can find you on Snapchat, no one can watch your snaps. If no one can watch your snaps, well, you can’t get the distribution you need.

And like the discovery “problem”, the community has stepped up here as well. People help others get distribution by recommending their snaps but the truth is, there is a problem.

Again, I get that Snapchat can’t integrate with other platforms and add a share to Twitter or Facebook button but why not let me choose an option to have all my stories automatically saved to the cloud or something so I can easily share them?

Yes, I am aware that I can manually save my snaps, and I do often, but that is not a great solution. I just wish distribution was a bit easier with Snapchat!

Is Snapchat Listening? Would You Be Listening if You Were Snapchat?

The truth is, the biggest challenge with writing this post was choosing only nine things missing in Snapchat. I can easily double that number but something about the title “18 Critical Features Snapchat Needs To Add to Bring its UX and Business to the Next Level” doesn’t sound right.

No, but seriously now, Snapchat has a lot of work to do on its user experience but when kids view the platform as their oxygen and spend every waking moment on the platform, and when the company has a valuation with more zeroes than can fit on this line, something tells me the company isn’t losing sleep over these missing features.

Hey! A man can still dream, right?