3 Snapchat Updates You Missed This Summer

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By Honey Comer

This has arguably been the summer of Snapchat for social media devotees, with several updates being rolled out on the platform in recent months. If you haven’t been paying close attention, there’s a chance you’ve missed a few things!

Executives behind the successful app are clearly eager to meet demand from both users and brands, improving the overall experience while creating opportunities to monetize their highly coveted millennial audience. Each of these small changes point to big things lurking around the corner. Read on for a roundup of the latest features and what they may mean for your brand.

One-Touch Viewing

In its most recent update, Snapchat introduced “Tap to View,” a feature that makes it so that users are no longer required to hold a finger on the screen throughout snap playback. This may seem like a simple change, but many think it is a bold move. 

The new functionality means content may live longer, freeing up hands to screenshot more easily. The single-touch model also encourages long-form content by making it easier for viewers to hang in through a longer story (or a "Live Story"). While the feature has received mixed reviews from users, it will undoubtedly open up options for brands looking to tell their stories in new and exciting ways.

Caveat: Users can still quickly dismiss snaps that don’t maintain their attention. A simple tap during playback will skip to the next snap in a story, and a swipe down will close the story all together. The key to success will be creating content that is both highly engaging and highly relevant to the audience. 

New Ways to Find Friends

Snapchat’s QR “Snapcode” function also got a makeover in the latest rollout with an option to customize. Users can now add a four-frame animated selfie to their code. The app has also opened up more opportunities for sharing your code by enabling direct upload from a camera roll. Marketers can use this as a fun way to quickly promote their accounts and gain an audience. 

Another feature is the “Add Nearby” tool, which identifies other Snapchatters in the immediate vicinity. Both users need to have the tool open in order to find each other, so large-scale business applications are likely limited for now. 

Pay-to-Play Opportunities

Snapchat is slowly rolling out more and more sponsorship opportunities, and this category is naturally the biggest breakthrough for brands. Last week Univision announced plans to partner with Snapchat on a “Live Story” of Gold Cup coverage. This could prove to be a good model to replicate for brands looking to capitalize on crowdsourced content from a real time event. 

Another option that offers more creative control is the sponsored "Geofilter". Brands like McDonald’s and Lilly Pulitzer jumped on board when the feature launched to a test group of advertisers in June. Both brands are implementing filters that activate at a physical location, but it will be interesting to see if some cast a wider net down the road. Think sponsored filters for holidays and special events. 

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