How Snapchat can Disrupt More than Social Media.

People are starting to see Snapchat as another Twitter (as opposed to the next Facebook.) And whilst the similarities between the three continue to grow, Snapchat has now started to lay down the foundations necessary to emerge as something much more revolutionary.

Snapchat could be the biggest AR company in disguise.

When people think of the “aha” moment in AR, they tend to think of Pokémon Go. But before that, there was Snapchat’s Geofilters. The definition of Augmented Reality is:

“a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.”

Geofilters let you add specific, location-based filters to your photos (that sounds like AR to me). Since then Snapchat has been making small but significant steps to position itself as the force in the AR space. (All Filters, All Lenses, Face Swap, Stickers, Spectacles)

Snapchat Product Roadmap From their S-1

Snapchats’ filters and stories have become so popular that 3 of Facebooks’ companies have tried to replicate these features. And in order to stay in-front of their competitors, Snapchat must continue to innovate and figure out a User-friendly way to interact with these stories, (to follow, buy, or share).

Watch out Youtube and Netflix, Snapchat could be coming for you in the not-so-distant future.

As Snapchat content producing specialists gain more and more traction, they will get access to special events in the same way that journalists do. As this becomes more of a regular occurrence, expect a shift in power as these content providers will charge for access to this exclusive content, which users will be more than happy to pay for if it’s entertaining and convenient.

Following this, the next progression for Snapchat stories is to provide exclusive content that is not time-sensitive. In the same way that Buzzfeed has started creating exclusive content for Youtube Red Originals, Snapchat could potentially offer content creators the same access to users on their platform. The major differentiator for Snapchat is urgency, as Youtube content is everlasting, whilst Snapchat can introduce a time-limit to exclusive content, leading to an increase in urgency.

It only takes one successful series/film/tv launch of exclusive content to test the viability of this concept. Similar to how Netflix changed how people watch TV shows with the introduction of binge watching, there is just as likely chance that content distribution can be changed into smaller bite sized segments that people can fit into their schedules.

Snapchat will only get stickier.

In its IPO filings, Snapchat stated that their users were on average using the app for 20–30minutes a day and opening the app 12–20 times a day. Those numbers are pretty impressive and is a good indicator of how engaging the app is for its userbase.

But what is the most important metric for apps but isn’t/can’t be measured? Homescreen space. Everyone knows the stat that 77% of users will stop using an app after 72 hours of installing. But how many of these apps made it to the homescreen? I would make a bet that not any (if any).

So why am I talking about this now? It’s because Snapchat’s new update now allows you to create widgets of their best friends’ Bitmoji. These shortcuts immediately open up a textchat with that friend. This is the same concept of making the app stickier that Facebook Messenger used when they introduced their bubbles.

If this new feature is successful for Snapchat, it lays an important foundation for the creation of sponsored Bitmojis. In the same way that messenger’s popped up, who’s to say Snapchat can’t make the Bitmojis animate when new content is shared. This reduces the steps and barriers for users who want to watch new content from their favourite content creators.

Snapchat’s true identity is starting to emerge.

But all these previous advancements will not compare to an advancement of their platform to true AR. Look no further than Snap Spectacles for a glimpse into their vision. Currently, the spectacles only have an output function, but I’m sure in Snapchat’s product roadmap this will change to allow for both input and output, resulting for a more immersive experience. Through Snap Spectacles, Snapchat has tested and proven that their userbase is willing to use wearables if there is a clear value proposition, something Google could not achieve with a similar product.

And with the acquisition of Cimagine Media, their ability to transform AR becomes more of a reality. Cimagine Media lets consumers instantly visualize products they want to buy in their intended locations. Snapchat has already tested and proven that their userbase is willing to augment a part of their surrounding (currently themselves,) and share it with their peers. One of the most common examples of this is the animal filters, or face swaps.

With the emergence of their acquisition of Cimagine Media, who is to say that Snapchat can’t build the functionality for you to select a filter which allows you to:

  • try sunglasses or spectacles, sponsored by OPSM
  • try makeup sponsored by Sephora
  • try clothes on through a mirror selfie sponsored by The Iconic
  • what your room could look like with new furniture sponsored by IKEA,
  • going to a restaurant and being able to visualize certain parts of the menu

And the list goes on. I have no doubt all of these ideas have been discussed in one way or another in Snapchat’s HQ. Let’s see if they can execute.

Let me know what you think! If you enjoyed this please give this a like! I’m also thinking of creating a series out of this describing my thoughts on future product iterations for companies I’m interested in. If you would like to see something like that please comment below!

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