Snapchat just did something big.
And no one’s talking about it…
Snapchat just released a major update. They changed a lot of the UX, removed ‘best friends’ (say goodbye to spying on who your bae’s been snapping with), and added Discovery. Everyone is talking about Discovery. To be honest, it is a neat component that indicates to some extent the media focus that Snapchat has been honing over the past months/years, but it has a long way to go before it actually consistently delivers any real value to users.
The game-changing update isn’t getting any buzz.
Snapchat users now can add each other by scanning a custom Snapchat QR-esque icon right from the app. It’s incredibly simple and incredibly powerful for impacting the apps growth and use. Before this, new friends had to manually type in a slew of numbers and letters to add each other, unless they synced their contacts from their phone. The process was error prone and not very sexy at all. You can see that there is a crippling friction when adding users who aren’t within your direct contacts (brands, celebrities, businesses, etc.)
Think of the implications…
A local cafe can print out this icon and set it up by their register and ask their customers to add them on snapchat for daily deals and specials. There is no friction for adding, and having “Joe’s Deli” as a Snapchat friend doesn’t negatively impact my social ranking. Follows on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook of explicitly ‘non-cool’ brands incur a psychological and social cost that Snapchat doesn’t. Businesses can now directly connect with their much-more-easily-acquired customers and incentivize increased engagement and revenue. I can see that Joe’s is having a discount on their Pastrami at lunch today, or Joe’s can show a promo for a free coffee in exchange for my email address (sent via Snapchat’s messaging service). Brands, similarly, can include these ‘SnapTags’ (as I’m calling them) with their merchandise or products and accrue an entire population of users/customers who are engaged with the story of the brand. I run a startup, ArtSquare, that serves fine-artists and you can bet that I’m going to print out thousands of these SnapTags as stickers and post them all over art schools, galleries, etc.
The implications are large and ambiguous, but I’m betting that friend-lists skyrocket and that some astute brands and businesses begin utilizing Snapchat in a new way that really wasn’t possible at scale before. I guess we’ll see. If you see one of our ArtSquare SnapTags scattered throughout the city, give it a scan and I’ll send you one of our t-shirts (for your email address, of course)! ;)