While Facebook continues to duplicate & re-purpose Snapchat’s core features in order to limit the success of the yellow ghost, Snapchat itself is working on new innovations and features designed to keep users engaged & coming back to the app for more.
But in typical Snapchat style, they do not often announce or post updates about such options – Snap Inc. relies on word of mouth, with their community members discovering & sharing such updates amongst themselves, which adds to the ‘in the know’ of the Snapchat community,
The latest addition on this front is a game within Snapchat Lenses, which maximizes the interactivity of the option – and can end up boosting the marketing value of the tool.
The new game is available within the ‘Princess and Queen’ lens – when you select this Lens option, you will see a prompt on screen to ‘Double tap to upgrade filter’.
Double-tapping, of course, switches from selfie cam to the outward camera, the game uses the World Lenses option (added last November) to get you to locate five gems in the area around you.
Locate all five gems & you unlock the new Lens (which is a fairly simple variation on the original), while smaller gems cascade down the screen.
The game is simple in itself, but it opens up a new range of possibilities – for instance, the gems in this instance are overlaid on the scene around you, but what if they were location locked? What if Snapchat can place them in certain locations which you’d have to visit in order to collect them all & unlock new content?
The marketing potential of this is huge – Pokemon Go has partnered with Starbucks, McDonald’s & Sprint to help drive users to their retail locations, with offers promoted within the app. And the compulsion of that kind of ‘search & discover’ process is also evident – Pokemon Go, while it has lost some steam since its initial launch, has generated more than a billion dollars in revenue, the fastest game to ever achieve that milestone.
Snap Inc. could possibly look to facilitate similar, and with their image recognition-triggered ads coming into play, they could look to use real world locations as triggers for customized Lenses & in-app functions.
For example, we’ve seen the first of Snapchat’s image-recognition linked Lenses – when you keep your finger on the screen while looking at the Spectacles logo, you have a secret Spectacles lens based on it identifying that object.
Found @Spectacles secret! If you point your Snapchat camera at package’s lettering, it gives you a special filter.
How it works: pic.twitter.com/wPSVpQjk5T
— Moshe Isaacian (@MosheIsaacian) November 23, 2016
Snapchat can partner with brands to create similar, exclusive ads and games which boost interaction & engagement, based on a logo or a location. Snapchat is also working on location-specific image recognition – it is not hard to imagine that they could look to make new, interactive Lenses which require users to visit specific locations so as to access in-app exclusives, delivering targeted ads & promotions in a more engaging, native way.
They added another Lens game in December called ‘Santa’s Helper’ where you had to guide a character, with the face, along the screen by tilting your phone.
Like this new variation, the games are very simple, but these are likely just test cases to see what they can do, and how popular they will be. Considering the options, there is a lot extended possibilities based on these initial trials.
If they want to stay ahead of the game –counter increasing competition from Facebook – Snap Inc. will need to keep adding in innovations like these to maintain the hype & keep their users coming back. The technical details of Snap’s pending IPO have been underwhelming, with no promise of either growth / profitability. Investors who do buy in (a lot of investors are very keen to do so) will be betting on Snap’s understanding of their core audiences, and their continued capacity to keeping adding cooler, better tools to fend off threats.
It is a risk, but given the company’s history, there’s every chance they can continue to disrupt & lead the market.
Now to see how long till FB adds in similar games functionality.