“We find ourselves together in a new world still yet to be defined, and amidst the many challenges we face, including the global pandemic and the scourge of racial violence and injustice, we all share a desire to uplift our global community through the love we have for one another,” said Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, kicking off the Snap Partner Summit for the year on June 11.
Snapchat reported 229 million daily active users in the first quarter of 2020, with the platform reaching more people in the US than TikTok and Twitter combined. Spiegel said it also reached more 13-34-year-olds in the US than Facebook or Instagram.
“Close friendships are the first line of defense during times of stress, anxiety and depression so Snapchat has an important role to play,” said Spiegel, setting the stage for the launch of its new wellness features. The “Here for You” tool provides expert resources when Snapchatters search for topics related to their emotional and physical well-being through initial partnerships with Crisis Text Line and The National Network to End Domestic Violence. Snap Original “Mind Yourself” showcases the journey of ten young people as they deal with mental health issues. Snap has also partnered with meditation app Headspace to offer meditations and other tools within Snapchat.
During the crisis provoked by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), many local businesses shut down and are having a hard time reopening. Snap aims to make this easier by launching “Places” on Snap Map, which will highlight local businesses that are popular with the community and offer free ad credits. Each business will also have a listing featuring stories, hours, reviews and delivery options.
Shawn Mills, senior director of content, announced multi-year content partnerships with Disney, ESPN, NBC, Viacom CBS, NBA and NFL. Currently, Snap has 350 content partners in 15 countries, including Channel 4 in the UK, Le Figaro in France and Rotana in the Middle East. “We believe in working with a select set of partners who share our passion for creating mobile content in new ways,” said Mills.
Last year, time spent watching ‘discover’ content grew by 35 percent. And when it comes to news, 80 million users viewed the COVID-19 coverage on Snapchat, with more than 125 million tuning into the app for news stories in 2020 alone. With this in mind, Snapchat is rolling out “Happening Now,” a dedicated feature allowing users to find out what is going on at any given moment. Snapchat has partnered with The Washington Post, ESPN and BuzzFeed to turn updates on big stories into single snaps, creating a new format for news on mobile.
Snapchat is also focusing on entertainment through its Originals feature. Time spent watching shows has more than doubled year-on-year in the first quarter of 2020, with over 60 shows reaching monthly audiences of over 10 millions viewers. For instance, 22 million watched “Nikita Unfiltered” by Sirens Media. The growing popularity of Originals has led to the announcement of four new docu-series.
Snapchat is adding new features to Lenses, such as music lenses, Snap Machine Learning (SnapML), and local lenses. SnapML allows creators to bring their own networks to Lens Studio, while local lenses allow users to experience augmented reality (AR) with their friends at the same across entire city blocks.
Scan tags allow users to tag their lenses with a tag or keyword. For example, if a user tags a lens with the word ‘sky,’ their lens will appear anytime someone scans the sky.
Later in the year, Scan will give users results based on audio through a partnership with Soundhound.
Integrating hardware and software, Lens Studio is now also available for Spectacles.
Last year, Snap partnered with Amazon, Shazam and Photomath, integrating their services into Snapchat. It has now partnered with new developers such as PlantSnap, which can identify 90 percent of all known plants and trees; DogScanner, which can identify almost 400 breeds; and nutrition scanning app Yuka. More partnerships will be announced throughout 2020.
Ben Schwerin, vice president of Partnerships, announced updates to SnapKit, such as expanding CreativeKit to include AR featuring new dynamic lenses that will allow developers to bring real-time information from their app into Snapchat Lenses. More than 800 apps have integrated with SnapKit, and 148 million users are engaging with these integrations every month.
John Imah, head of Games Partnerships, announced updates to gaming features on Snapchat such as Bitmoji for games on console and TV games too.
Another interesting feature announced was Snap Minis, which Will Wu, director of product management, described as “bite-sized utilities tailor made for friends.” Minis are found within-chat, so no installation is required. Minis features tools such as Let’s Do It, which Wu said is the ultimate antidote to decision paralysis; Atom Tickets, which makes purchasing movie tickets for groups easier; and Prediction Master, which brings together friends over predictions ranging from the stock market to sneaker drops.