Snapchat is the talk of the town these days, following their successful IPO. To celebrate our beloved image sharing messenger app, we’re highlighting six lessons mobile marketers can learn from Snapchat’s success!

Location, Location, Location

Snapchat knows its audience well and understands how their minds work. When people travel to a new city or attend a special event, they’re often eager to share photos of their adventures.

Snapchat expertly capitalizes on this human desire through the use of location-based filters. These filters have become such an important aspect of the Snapchat experience that users often open Snapchat when touching down in a new town specifically to see what filter Snapchat has in their arsenal!

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Location-based features are big – consider how you can add location oriented features to your own app offering.

Always Stay Timely & True to the Season

One of Snapchat’s most popular features is its “lenses”, which use augmented reality filter layers to let users turn into dogs, fairies, llamas, and creatures that throw up rainbows (among other odd spectacles).

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Lenses come and go with the seasons, with Snapchat taking special care to add certain seasonally-oriented lenses that users can look forward to with the changing of the times.

Whether it’s major holidays like Halloween and Christmas, or other events like the Oscars or the Master’s Tournament, Snapchat does their best to provide unique and fun lenses for all kinds of occasions.

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It’s OK to Have Secrets: Embrace the Easter Eggs!

Snapchat is somewhat unique in that they don’t make every feature obvious – the app’s onboarding experience takes you through the necessities, but after that, the user is left to explore the app on their own.

This means that some of Snapchat’s features aren’t obvious to the un-initiated. For example, did you know that you can apply two filters by holding down on one and swiping? Or that you can make emoji characters bigger by zooming in and out with two fingers? Little Snapchat hacks like those encourage a bit of extra exploration on the part of the user.

I only learned yesterday that the emojis next to your friends’ names actually have very specific meanings, indicating the amount of snaps you send one another and the level to which that snap love is reciprocated. Other emojis serve as trophies, indicating when you’ve reached certain Snapchat milestones.

The lesson: you don’t need to spoon-feed your users (especially if you’re targeting a tech savvy segment of the population). Explain the basics and let your users explore – it’ll make it that much more exciting when they discover something new in your app!

Stay True to Your App’s Style and Personality (Even With Ads)

Mobile marketers should also take note of Snapchat’s commitment to their unique style and content structure.

When Snapchat released their “Discover” section that introduced advertisers, it would have been very easy to sacrifice the Snapchat style and go with a more traditional video ad setup.

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Instead, Snapchat created something truly unique, featuring a mix of video, animations, interactive elements, and traditional article content that fits appropriately into the app and provides a very natural ad experience for viewers.

Snapchat proves that you don’t need to sell your soul to bring advertisers onboard. Stick to the spirit of your app, and your users might tolerate and – dare I say it – even enjoy the ads and sponsored content you include.

Acquire Services That Can Strengthen You

Snapchat knows a good opportunity when they see it, and in 2016 they acquired Bitstrips – the company that makes bitmojis, allowing users to create custom mini avatars.

This winning combination allows users to send Snaps with Bitmoji overlays, building out Snapchat’s feature set and delighting its fanbase.

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Always be on the look out for advantageous partnerships or acquisitions that will grow your app’s offering and build on existing success!

Keep Moving Forward: Try New Features & Experiment

Snapchat has trail blazed and mastered their space, but they’re not putting things on cruise control – the app continues to experiment and add new features they think their audiences will love.

Once Snapchat saw that lenses were popular, they took the idea and ran with it, adding face swap filters that have become another fan favorite feature.

Snapchat has introduced a variety of different features over the years, such as Snapcash (allowing users to trade money via Snapchat), Memories (which help users rediscover snaps from the past), and other add-ons and extras that continue to help the app grow and impress its fans!

Don’t stay complacent – always think about how you can add to your app’s experience and surprise users with something cool and new.

Have you learned any lessons from Snapchat that you want to share? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!


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