Early this year, I joked around with one my friends and said “Wouldn’t it be cool, if Snapchat could let us order fried chicken and recommend the closest restaurant to eat it. Or how about scanning this beer and it will scan the prices for us?!” And guess what, Snapchat did buy an Israeli startup that does just that, it allows you to visualise images of products in 3D.
Recently, Snapchat has relabeled itself as Snap Inc. They consider themselves a camera company, hence they are acquiring many startups that are innovating within the augmented reality, camera technology, and (dare I say) e-commerce spheres.
Snap Inc. believes that it is much bigger than just one app and they want to reinvent the camera, which represents a great opportunity for the way people live and communicate.
2016 has been a major year for Snapchat, as it acquired the following startups:
- Cinimage, visualising products using augmented reality
- Flite, an ad tech company
- Vurb, a mobile search app
- Seene/Obvious Engineering; 3D imagery app
- Bitstrip, a personalised emoji and sticker maker
I did my numbers and that’s $240 million dollars in 2016 alone (leaving Flite and Seene out of the picture). Holy Moly!!
And within 4 month period, they updated the following features (that I personally find useful for business):
Has an inbuilt camera, think of it as Go-Pro with a pair of sunglasses. So, I’m waiting for mine, hopefully we can talk about this next year when I have a play with it. Truthfully, they played the FOMO (fear of missing out) game well as it’s only available in The States. One of the things I’d like to talk about in an upcoming post is Snapchat’s methodology of “Top of Mind” marketing. Anyway, I’m impatiently waiting for my own pair, after paying over a few hundred dollars. A Spectacle costs 130USD.
- Messaging Part of Snapchat
- There’s now group messaging; It allows for 16 people to message each other, and you have to be mates before you can add anyone into a group chat. Opportunity arises for monetisation, or even community development, as it allows for more intimate discussion. I can imagine setting up a private QandA session within the group chat.
- Snapchat 2.0 is the fancy word to describe the Snapchat messaging side, we have to remember that the platform originated as a communication tool, I find that the best engagement and cultivation of relationships has come from this part.
- Snapchat Geofilters is like the new hashtag, and it’s affordable advertising for small and big business. Actually it’s super cheap, as it utilises branding and geo-location technology to advertise your event or business. Talk to Digital Noir for more details about Geofilters and how they can be used for your business.
- Allows you to play games
Which is great for ad revenue, but I heard from other Snapchat influencer that the format is quite clunky. I haven’t tested this out as it’s only available in The States.
From the sidelines, I’ve been watching the chess game between Snap Inc and Facebook. I mean Instagram is more of a media platform as it integrates Live streaming and ephemeral micro video (i.e: it’s exactly like Snapchat). People and clients often ask me “are you worried that Facebook and Instagram would win?” and I say to them “why? I mean at the end of day, the user like us wins.”
Here’s a video of my Snapchat show, Snapchat w. StringStory. I’m going to share with you my favourite tools to use on Snapchat for business, and 4 trends and thoughts about Snapchat in 2017.
Snap Inc CEO, Evan Spiegel, has playfully positioned Spectacles as a toy for adults, because what 12 year old can afford to buy it? But with it’s lineup of startups, they are leaving patterns of crumbs to say “Hey, we have some serious hardware ambitions”
Snap Inc has recently shared news that will become a public company with an estimated market value of $20-25 billion. They have also planned for an Asian office expansion for research and development in China. Shenzhen is a major hub for global manufacturing hardware, and apparently their R&D expenditures went up to $10 billion or 4% of the GDP. Earlier this year, my friend talked about visiting Shenzhen and saying that all the stakeholders are showcasing AR headsets and technology. (source)
I share this kind of news because it helps me see where Snap Inc is heading.
Snapchat will continue to innovate and Facebook, they will continue to monopolise. I look forward to seeing what kind of strategies will come out of both platforms.
Cheers to 2016, and I really look forward to 2017. I wonder if I will be able to order beer via Snapchat in the future?
Resource list: Snapchat tools for business
- Spectacles (only available in America)
- Snapchat Messaging
- Snapcut.xyz: great way to open up your Snapchat show
Snapchat Marketing Accelerator course: learn how to to use Snapchat for your business