Snapchat has added numerous features to its “chat” tab today, including audio calls, better video calling, stickers and batch image uploads.
The update marks the current war of apps happening right now. Basically, as chat apps are (finally) taking over as the most preferred mode of communication today, more and more are moving beyond basic text and are battling to offer broader functionality. (Note, I say finally because PR peeps have been talking about chat apps replacing email for more than six years now and it looks like we are only now beginning to see the shift occur.)
Over the past year, while Snapchat lived in text, Facebook, its biggest competitor, introduced ride-hailing, GIFs, a basketball game, and more to its Messenger app. So, now Snapchat is fighting back.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the new features:
Video Chat Upgrades
Video chat isn’t new to Snapchat, but the new upgrades are impressive. It is now intuitive and fun. Unlike almost all video-calling features, this one starts with both faces displayed in small circles within the app. Answer the call and you go fullscreen; swipe down on the screen and you go back to the circle.
After you start a call, the person on the other end is presented with three options: Ignore, Join, or Watch. Tapping “Watch” turns the call into a one-to-one live stream of sorts, and the person on the other end can comment by sending messages through the compose field.
Snapchat is also allowing short, selfie videos over chat. If you hold the camcorder button down, you can send a video note of up to 10 seconds using the selfie camera. The note loops like a GIF, but contains sounds. It shows up in the chat window in a small circle and seems like it would be useful when you want to send a quick reaction to a friend.
Let’s face it, very few of us still make actual audio calls anymore. But, if you are so inclined to go retro with your phone and make an actual call, you simply tap the phone icon.
The audio call starts on speakerphone, so you can talk while you continue to play around within the app.
Snapchat’s audio note is just like a video note, except with audio.
Snapchat is now catching up to Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google HangOuts and every other chat app out there by adding stickers. They are definitely late to the party on this one, but let’s just celebrate that they’ve show up at all.
The fact is 75 percent of internet users worldwide had accessed messaging services on mobile devices and this number is expected to grow as millennials continue to ditch email in favor of messaging apps. (Most millennials still use and value email for professional communication, but prefer apps for brand and social engagement). In fact, Forrester recently reported that 84 percent of the time a given smartphone user spends in non-native apps goes to just five apps – three of which tend to be chat apps.
If you haven’t yet figured out how to connect your message to your target audience through ASO and app integration, feel free to message me on WhatsApp (@JonesyJen) or HangOuts (@JenniferJonesPR) to learn more or, if you prefer the “professional communication” route, email me directly.