Snapchat certainly knows its basic audience.
Text messaging is the dominant form of communication among teens, with 55% of 13 to 17 year olds noting that they text their friends every day. This finding has been reinforced by several other studies, and is reflected in the burgeoning user bases of apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Kik. Snapchat too has seen massive growth, though it hasn’t necessarily been seen as a messaging app, per se.
That may be about to change. Today, Snapchat has announced a major update to their on-platform messaging and connectivity features, one which has the potential to change the game for messaging across the board.
Using slick new features and upgraded functionality integration, Snapchat has unleashed a powerful messaging toolset that works perfectly in line with the wider Snap experience. And as with many of the platform’s additions, you’ll be keen to show your friends just how cool these new features are.
Here’s how they work. First off, you can now make calls via Snapchat, even if the call recipient isn’t already chatting with you. Once swiped, you’ll have the option to join the video call, watch or ignore. The cool thing here is that if you choose to watch, you can respond to the video chat via text instead of having to be on camera yourself – good for those times when you’re still all morning hair and tired eyes. From here you can take the conversation in a range of directions – you can minimize the video to make it into a more chat-like experience. You can send a sticker – Snapchat has made more than 200 stickers available, giving users new ways to express themselves (this may go some way towards explaining the platform’s recent acquisition of Bitmoji, though Bitmoji are not part of this initial launch). You can send your own GIF-esque response via a new option called Video Notes, a thumbnail video, 10-seconds max, that you can record and send as part of the exchange (with audio, if the recipient taps on the image). You can also send an audio note – a short, voice snippet that’s integrated into the chat flow and multiple photos in a chat, each of which can be edited with Snapchat’s drawing tools, and you can send camera roll photos during both audio and video calls.
In addition, Snapchat stories will now auto-advance, meaning that once you’ve viewed one story (or had enough and you want to skip), the next Story in your list will start playing automatically, making it easy to take in more content on the platform.
There’s a lot happening here, a lot to take in – if you want to see the full detail of the update from Snapchat direct, you can scan this QR code into Snapchat and be taken to the Snapchat Update story.