Market Trends

The changing face of Snapchat: 6 recent updates analysed

Written by
27 Feb, 2018

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out big stuff is happening at Snapchat. With an  announcement coming out almost every second day, Snapchat looks to be shifting strategically and undergoing something of a renaissance. It has been an important platform for social media advertisers for a few years now (here's an infographic we put together to demostrate why), but Snapchat has recently put some things in place that are taking the platform to the next level.

From a new user-interface, improved analytics for users, partnerships with new content producers and even a move into e-commerce, the last few months have been huge for Snapchat! As a social advertiser keen to keep up with everything going on, you certainly could be forgiven for not keeping up with it all.

That’s why, as a Snap ads partner, we thought it might be useful to recap a few of these announcements for you, throw in a bit of our own analysis and boil it all down to what these changes and updates actually mean for you as a social media advertiser. 


1. The Snapchat UI update


When Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel announced plans to redesign the Snapchat app back in November 2017, users and commentators alike waited with eager anticipation. The Snapchat faithful, including the majority of US teens, were nervous - would Snapchat lose its ‘quirky exclusivity’ and the elements that set it apart from other Facebook-owned platform, for example?

While the jury is out on that one, the goal driving a big reshuffle of the app was clear: address a slowing user growth rate by actively separating the ‘social’ from the ‘media’. Snapchat was keen to encourage user interaction by displaying users' Stories away from any professionally created Stories from brands or influencers. And although the new platform has been met with a decent amount of backlash from users, the change to the app’s UI looks to have made an immediate difference. In February, Snap Inc. announced its annual results, revealing that it had beaten expectations for daily user growth, with 187 million daily users (up 8.9 million from the previous quarter). Quarterly revenue was also up US$77.6 million to US$285.6 million.

A whole lot more analysis of Snapchat’s new UI, as well as users’ reactions, is available in our latest Social News Update podcast episode. Our latest episode below outlines the five biggest news stories in social media last week, all brought to you in just 5 minutes.

2. New Audience Analytics


A second major announcement from Snapchat came in the form of a range of new audience analytics for creators. Verified Snapchatters and other creators who have “cultivated a large audience” now have access to a whole lot of new data. Creators can now be able to see a breakdown of their audience demographics by gender, age, geography, and interests, as well as get additional insight into how much time was spent viewing stories.

Snapchat now also displays daily reach and engagement figures, such as the number of unique viewers and the average time spent watching.

Snapchat has identified the power and promise of influencer marketing on their platform, and look to be keen to win back influencer’s lost to Instagram. Instagram does seem to be influencers’ platform of choice, with over 28% of influencers citing Instagram as the most important platform for their personal brand, in an August 2017 Adweek survey. Alarmingly, this is compared to 0% who said Snapchat was their most important platform. These new analytics, available to users, were absolutely crucial in offering influencers the kind of information they need to be successful.

As well as helping guide influencers' content strategies, the better analytics will enable Snapchat influencers to tell brands more about who they reach. This could result in greater transparency, increased trust from brands, and Snapchat becoming a platform of choice for influencers.


3. Live TV Streaming on Snapchat

nbc-olympics-live-on-snapchat_preview.jpegJust prior to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Snapchat announced that it would be streaming select moments from NBC’s coverage. The American broadcaster delivered one live-streamed moment per day on Snapchat during primetime U.S. hours, with each lasting up to 6 minutes. Where Snapchat takes this live broadcast video feature now is still unclear. While excitement originally peaked that it might lead to a live video feature for users, that doesn’t seem to be the direction Snapchat is taking. This first successful foray into live video streaming does probably mean Snapchat will continue in this vein, and it will be interesting to see what approach they take and partnerships they form.


4. Snap Maps now available on desktop browsers.

104543091-DSC05594.530x298.jpegSnapchat recently embarked on their second major push to make content available outside of the app, making it possible to now watch Snap Maps on desktop browsers. These location-based stories can now be embedded online and you can check out Snap Maps yourself here. Snap Maps launched around mid-year 2017 as a way to track your friends, with the app version populating with your friends’ Bitmoji, along with public stories from around the world. For the public, online version of the map, Snap has removed usernames. While it’s not clear how popular Snap Maps are, the move may serve to raise the company’s profile and help reach audiences that the app hasn’t been able to.


5. Snap Store signals a move into e-commerce?

Snapchat_SnapStore-1920-800x450.jpgSnapchat recently launched its very own online store, available within the Discover section of the app. So good news: you now know where to buy that $20 dancing hot dog plushie you’ve always wanted. It seems this foray into e-commerce is more of a branding exercise, however, with a Snap spokesperson having noted that the purpose of the store is to provide Snapchat gear for fans and to promote brand loyalty.


6. Create your own Lens tool

snaplense.jpgThe ‘Create your own Lens’ tool, made available in February, allows users to come up with their very own AR lenses, which have become one of the major hallmark’s of Snapchat’s success. Available only in the US at this stage,Create your own Lens’ is effectively the user’s version of the already well-established Lens Studio, where brands go to create their lenses. Now, in just a few minutes, and starting at US$9.99, users can create their own personalised lens, and there are over 150 templates to choose from.

Those are just a few of the many updates and changes that Snapchat has announced over recent months. If you are keen to keep on top of these kinds of announcements in the future, why not have a listen to our weekly Social News Update podcast Our podcast brings you the five biggest news stories in social media last week, all in 5 minutes.


Plus, as one of the first official Snap ads partners, we've seen some great success running advertising campaigns on Snapchat. Why not get in touch with us below and see how we can help you drive success with Snapchat advertising.


Learn how ads on Snapchat could drive your business' success Click here to get in touch

About Joe Sweeney Content Marketing Manager here at MakeMeReach, Joe is a words guy. Joe's a digital marketer who believes in the power of quality content to start great conversations between consumers and brands. He also hosts our weekly Facebook Live!

All posts by Joe Sweeney