Last month, Snap, the creators of Snapchat held their first partner summit, where it described the company’s new approach to standing out from competitors like Instagram.

Snapchat is one of the biggest social media platforms on the planet, which had over 300 million daily active users worldwide to the end of 2018 according to Omnicore agency.

In past years, Snapchat took the spot as the number one app in the social media world. This was until Instagram introduced their own version of Stories- a feature which some people may say the platform stole from Snapchat.

This effectively took away one of Snapchat’s main purposes, resulting in user numbers to plummet, while Zuckerburg-owned Instagram started to grow into a social media monster. The platform reportedly reached one billion active users by the end of 2018, according to Brandwatch.

In an attempt to fight back, Snapchat has decided to step up and reinvent themselves. Last week at their partner summit they made a number of big announcements. This included new AR features for lenses, new Snap original content, a multiplayer gaming platform and a new developer kit to integrate Snapchat stories into other apps.

AR

With Augmented Reality playing a massive role within the original rise of Snapchat, it should probably come to no surprise that the platform is adding even cooler AR features including:

– Solving math problems by pointing the Snap camera at an equation.
– There will be filters for monuments, pets and fresh ones for people.
– Integration with Amazon allowing users to shop what they see.
– Integration with Shazam allowing users to identify songs whilst using the Snapchat app

Snap original content

In 2018 Snap launched Snap originals, a feature which is the platforms equivalent to IGTV and showcases original, Snap-produced shows lasting, on average,  five minutes in length.

After the success of Snap Original shows such as “Endless Summer” and “The Dead Girl Detective Agency”, Snap announced that it will release more shows in the hope that this will persuade people to spend more time on the app. To watch Snapchat originals simply swipe left when on the camera screen and then search for snap chat originals in the search bar located at the top of the screen.

New developer kit

Snap has also introduced Snap kit, which will allow developers from different companies to embed a number of different Snapchat features into their own apps. Both individuals and companies will be able to share content from their Snapchat accounts to third-party apps with ease.

The likes of Netflix and Tinder have shown big interest in this new software and have decided to partner up with Snapchat to create a new in-app experience for their users. Netflix will be using SnapKit to allow their users to share what shows they’re watching to their Snapchat stories and Tinder will be using Snapchat to allow users to add their Snapchat stories to their Tinder accounts.

Although this is a step forward for Snapchat, Instagram has been working with the likes of Tinder and Spotify for some time now, and for that reason, I feel that Snapchat are only using Snap kit at the moment to close a gap on their rivals. However, if they continue to improve the software and keep building relationships with big brands, they may start to make Instagram feel their presence once again.

Multiplayer Games

In my opinion, the biggest announcement from last week has to be the introduction of Snapchat in-app multiplayer games, “SnapGames”.

During the summit, Snap announced a number of titles for games which they have launched or looking to launch in the near future.

This feature (which is ready to use now) can be accessed by entering a group chat and pressing on the rocket icon in the bottom right of the screen.

The main reason Snap are introducing this feature is in hope that users will be attracted to the idea of casual gaming whilst chatting with their mates, resulting in people spending more time on the app.

Overall I feel that Snapchat’s new features are long overdue, with AR originally being a huge success for the company, the fact they are building on this feature is a no brainer for me.

I believe that SnapKit is going to be very effective for Snap and companies who integrate Snapchat into their apps. I personally think that the success of SnapKit will be determined by how many features snap are willing to share in the future and whether they can keep up with Instagram.

Finally, I believe the new gaming feature will be a huge success at the start due to the majority of Snapchat users being 24 and under. However, if the variety of games aren’t kept fresh and exciting then I think this has the potential to quickly lose the interest of users.

Recently Snap announced their quarterly results which showed that Snapchats audience has started to grow again after a long decline. As well as a financial improvement, Snapchat currently has 190 million daily users compared to the 186 million to the end of last year, according to Forbes. It’s hard to say this is a direct correlation from the new features, but it will be interesting to see the impact they have in the near future.