Snapchat introduces Context Cards

Snapchat is introducing Context Cards, a way for users to see reviews and maps of where their friends are checking in. From there you can make reservations or call the retail locations.

Why It’s Hot?

Snapchat kind of exists in a world of its own and anytime it integrates with other apps and plays nice, it’s a boon for marketers. This integration is pretty seamless and seems like a great way to bring in the larger internet snugly into the new “maps” piece of the Snapchat world. I hope Snapchat always sticks to their guns, and keeps their interface contained, as they continue to incorporate into the larger picture.

Snapchats going crazy with the updates!

And you get an update and you get an update and you get an update!




And were you looped in on the new Snap Map?

Why its hot?

Snapchat is looking to find new out of the box ways to use social and to monetize.

I still believe that Snapchat has the most unique way of looking at the internet and 1:1 interactions. They are integrating brands without insisting brands have user profiles and using the full screen in ways that Facebook might be too stuck in its ways to fully realize.

Snapchat Spectables on… Babies?

In a new Mother Day’s commercial for Brawny was shot from the point of view of toddlers wearing snapchat spectacles (attached with a sunglasses strap to make sure they stayed on)

Cutwater (a SF agency), enlisted four real families and shot in their homes over two days. The glasses have no playback function, so the creative team had to capture as many “happy accidents” as they could all in 10-second bursts.

The CCO of Cutwater says, “Motherhood in particular can be a challenging time, and we wanted to highlight the strength and resilience that women have during this period through the perspective of their children. ‘Once a mother, always a giant’ seemed like a simple way to articulate this point of view, while celebrating women for the strong and resilient people they are.”

Why it’s hot: This is an awesome execution that uses (otherwise, kind of useless) snapchat spectacle technology to capture simple human truths from an unexpected perspective.

Source: Adweek

Snapchat gets real.

Snapchat has announced a new content partnership with A+E Networks, continuing efforts to reinforce its unique selling proposition: not just a place for ephemeral pictures, but as a lever in how media is consumed these days. And the lever in this scenario is how people watch TV.

With this partnership, the platform will be releasing its second TV show, a drama series called “Second Chance”: a breakup story that its gen-z audience will likely devour. The series will run for 8 weeks, releasing 1 episode per week, available across the US, UK, and Australia.

Why it’s hot

  • It’ll be interesting to see the effect (if any) that this long-form content will have on audience behaviors in the platform
  • This could be a significant revenue stream for Snap, whom saw a nasty drop with Instagram Stories
  • WWFD? (What will Facebook do?) Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter want to do more in the premium content game, which should raise competition, and potentially add more pressure on audience consumption behaviors


How brands’ use of Snapchat is changing

It’s called dark social for a reason: When it comes to Snapchat, brands are still feeling their way around blindly. But for those who have been using Snapchat for regular (that is, unpaid) content connecting with their followers has been a process of trial and error.

While some track screenshots and views to determine what content works, others try to monitor sales impact when they post product imagery.

Now, researchers including analytics firm Snaplytics — which recently analyzed 217,000 snaps from over 500 companies — have shone some light into what’s working for brands on the platform and which sectors are leading the pack.

Here’s what we know so far.

  1. 2016 saw adoption snowball
  2. Users aren’t watching ads, but are watching content (Recent data from a survey carried out by Fluent revealed over 70% of Snapchat users skip ads on the platform)
  3. Brands are posting less frequently, and packing less in (According to Snaplytics, brands were posting on average 13 snaps per story in the fourth quarter of 2016, down from 15 in the second quarter. And while the wide lens shows they are packing more content into these stories overall, a deeper look indicates that the majority of brands are consolidating around stories with seven snaps and under.)
  4. Video’s ascent has reached Snapchat too (Brands are realizing that Snapchat is the new TV for the younger generation and, consequently, they need to go full pelt on it,” said Tim Armoo, CEO of influencer marketing agency Fanbytes.)

Why it’s hot:

Ever the darling of social media, Snapchat’s adoption rate among both brands & users continues to skyrocket as we kick off 2017. Advertisers and publishers are hot for any data they can get their hands on around both competition and user behavior — so every bit of learning can help better define strategy.

Facebook Testing Branded Selfie Filters

The battle between Facebook and Snapchat continues…

The social giant, Facebook, recently announced that it is looking to open up a new revenue stream by improving its ad offering. The company will test brands sponsoring augmented reality selfie lenses in the style of Snapchat.

Hollywood Studios will be the first brand to gain access to this offering as an “unpaid experiment” to help promote big-budget releases and it’s expected to launch in March of 2017.

Why Its Hot: According to Snapchat, snaps with filters are viewed more than 1 billion times per day.  “Snapchat has proven that people will create content with brand filters and share it with their friends. In fact, this type of participatory marketing has forged a new category of advertising called “shared media,” which is beginning to explode even beyond the confines of the Snapchat community.” – AdWeek Guest

Facebook is looking to capitalize on the success that Snapchat has been receiving by experimenting with a similar offering. Currently, no other mainstream ad product has persuaded people to voluntarily brand themselves and then organically share content of their branded selves across their social networks

It will be interesting to see how Facebook’s audience reacts to the feature considering users on Snapchat have the option to view branded content. Whereas on Facebook, branded content will be served to users in Newsfeed, Knowing this, how will Facebook try to combat branded content becoming invasive considering that is the beauty of Snapchat right now?

Learn More:

AR glasses from Facebook

Earlier this week, Facebook’s Oculus Rift, the clunky VR headset, shipped to the market. But Facebook has hopes for the tech and form factor to be reduced to the size of a normal pair of glasses.

During a recent developer conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated a concept pair of smart glasses that he envisions being able to view both virtual reality AND augmented reality. It would be similar to what Google Glass has tried to establish.

To distinguish, AR provides you overlays of data and information while you view the real world through the glasses vs VR, which is a virtual rendering of worlds.

There may be a race to market heating up as Microsoft just shipped its HoloLens headset to developers and Snapchat is apparently working on its own augmented reality glasses.


Why It’s Hot

AR and VR show true integration of the real world with information and data that can enrich our experiences. Particularly with augmented reality, overlaying information into your field of vision that is contextually relevant to what you are experiencing, can augment and enrich the experience.

Instagram Spotlights Shine Like Snapchat Stories

Instagram Spotlights is shining bright this week officially making their curated user-generated video that comes together to form one long piece of content a permanent feature on the platform. Much like Snapchat Stories, Instagram Spotlights’ content is being created on just about every topic including everything from cats to fitness.

Instagram’s goal and hope is that Spotlights will not only keep people engaged and coming back for more but that is will also be used as a new tool for users to discover new content. Much like Crimson Hexagon’s newer offering “Segments”, users will be able to discover content, brands and/or influencers in turn uniting platform users with content that previous may have gone unseen. According to Gabe Madway, Instagram’s communication manager:

“Spotlight is where you go to discover things you don’t follow but might end up following. Things you never expected to see.”

Most important for digital marketers to know is how Instagram selects the content the platform is going to curate within Spotlights. Hashtags are the foundation of curating Spotlight features so when creating content hashtags may play a more important role if your brand is looking to be “discovered” in Spotlights.

Why it’s Hot: The social playground is free for all to play. Even if Instagram Spotlights may be stepping on Snapchat Stories’ toes or taking a page from Twitter Moments’ playbook, all is fair in fan love and social engagement. It doesn’t matter who was in the sandbox first; all that matters is the one that builds the best castle.


Source: With Spotlights, Instagram Walks On Snapchat’s Playground





Snapchat Gets Smarter

Snapchat has taken its capabilities to the next level recently with new filters and lenses, but the channel is now going further to specifically help brands capitalize on these new features. Snapchat is partnering with big data firms to provide better insights on its users to advertisers. Using firms like Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom and BlueKai Snapchat will soon be able to tell advertisers how Snapchat users are using their mobile devices to connect with other brands—including what they’ve recently bought, viewed, or downloaded on their phones.

This data coupled with geolocation information will provide brands key insights into the interests and demographics of Snapchat users. Knowing how Snapchat fans are using their phones and what type of content they engage with most often on mobile will allow advertisers to create content on the platform that will truly resonate with their target. The data firms can even tell brands if specific users are millennials so they know whether or not they are reaching their desired audience.



And speaking of Target, the brand has jumped full speed ahead on the Snapchat trend—recently using the platform’s geofilters on Black Friday to engage with customers in the checkout line. Read more about the integration of Snapchat into Target’s holiday campaign here.

Snapchat has recently signed on other big-named brands as sponsors, including Nordstrom and Starbucks, meaning that these new insights could lead to more strategic integration of Snapchat into brand campaigns in early 2016.

Why It’s Hot: Though the partnership with big data is a smart way for Snapchat to lure advertisers, it also provides an opportunity for brands to use the platform in a more effective way than ever before. By understanding the habits of Snapchat users that engage with their channel and knowing other mobile content they interact with, brands can optimize the content they push through the site to deliver what will resonate most with its consumers. The result? Smart, strategic executions that will be authentic and engaging to the consumer.


Snapchat is cutting data deals to lure advertisers

Eulogy for Standalone Apps

A few days ago, TechCrunch wrote a eulogy for standalone apps from tech giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter. Some of the apps that “died” this year were Carousel, Slingshot, Songza and Mailbox.

Facebook made some waves this week as well when it announced it is closing Creative Labs, which was the production segment behind apps like Moments, Paper, Rooms and Riff.

Why It’s Hot: It’s difficult to predict which apps will become popular or not, but in these tech giants’ cases, we can see that many of these apps were often inorganic to the platform or copies of more popular apps, like Snapchat. Dropbox had acquired Mailbox when it was still in its development phase, which likely restricted its full formation. With Twitter’s #Music, which was closed last year, it was clearly a latecomer to an already competitive landscape, with Spotify and Apple Music joining in the mix. It’s interesting to observe which apps would be successful in an increasingly innovative and busy industry.

Snapchat-Like Mobile Ads on Facebook

Brands are just starting to play with Facebook’s full-screen mobile ads, but Wendy’s social marketers already seem to be having lots of fun with the new format.

The fast-food chain is running a campaign that uses a combination of photos, videos and GIFs to show how each layer of its hamburgers are made—like wavering pieces of cheese and a grilled beef patty.

“The Wendy’s quality story carries a lot of equity with our fans and we wanted to invite them into that story, literally layer by layer,” said Mike Bueno, director, digital marketing at Wendy’s. “We’re always looking for new ways to have fun with digital, and Facebook is a great partner in helping us do that.”

The ad prompts folks to swipe up when clicked on from the news feed—a gesture that’s core to Snapchat and its pitch to advertisers and publishers. It’s another example of how brands are creating more vertical video and content for specific platforms.

Other brands testing Facebook’s new immersive ad format include Gatorade, Michael Kors and Bacardi.

Take a look at the video and creative below.

Video here

Why it’s hot:
We should always be thinking of ways to improve the user experience and excite customers. These new ads prove how we can optimize content to fit the user experience and we should be creating content for platforms/devices it will be viewed on. It can be as simple as taking a square video and making it vertical so the user doesn’t have to flip their phone.

Facebook Tries to Move in on Snapchat… Again


This week Facebook introduced its new “Doodle” feature to users into its most recent app update. Unsurprisingly, the update includes capabilities that look eerily similar to one of Facebook’s fastest growing competitors, Snapchat.

Facebook has set a precedent of trying to nab features from foes. Instagram video was born from Vine’s success. Facebook Live launched shortly after Periscope.

Snapchat has been targeted increasingly this past year. The copy-cat Doodle is preceded by a similar move by Facebook. The payment feature in their messenger app is a similar in functionality to SnapCash, released only months before.

Even though Facebook is king, it only win’s by thieving when the company moves early. Once a behavior or platform is ubiquitous, users seem set in their ways.

TLDR: Facebook introduces Snapchat lite…. 4 years too late.

Why It’s Hot

Not a hot move by Facebook but the ad world will be watching to see if their feature poach is a success.

Snapchat Opens Mecca to the Rest of the World

Every year, around 100 million Muslims make the pilgrimage to the sacred Saudi Arabian city of Mecca for prayer. On Monday, Snapchat recorded the first ever live video feed of the holy city for millions around the world to see.

Thousands circle Mecca’s iconic Kaaba, pose for photos on the balconies above the Al- Masjid moseque, pray and read from the Quran, break their fast with sweet dates and rice and speak into the camera to describe the feeling of being in midst of such a sacred gathering.

Snapchat’s decision to dedicate its live stream to the Muslim hot city of Mecca has set social media alight. Digital analytics site Topsy recorded more than one million mentions on Twitter alone. Muslims reacted positively. Many showed their appreciation to Snapchat for changing the perceptions people had of Islam.


Why is it hot?

Social media has taken the world by storm, revolutionizing how we communicate, connect, and share with others. However, whenever there is a good side, there is also a bad side. Social media has produced a lot of negativity on the internet. It is good to see some media tools such as snapchat is being viewed as a positive for many. The live snap story of Mecca has had an especially positive response from all different kinds of people around the world.

Snapchat Goes Political

This week Jeb Bush teased his intention to run for US president via Snapchat. The Florida governor and brother of George W. Bush used a message branded with a special logo on the filter to run a sponsored story.

Bush’s communication director made it clear that this announcement via the social platform was intended to reach a younger audience. He said “Everyone was excited about the opportunity to reach a broad, younger audience, give people a more authentic view of what happens at an announcement. Jeb is a tech nerd of sorts, so he is always wanting to use the freshest tools.”

Other political figures have also joined Snapchat, such as Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Marco Rubio. However, they did not use the live storytelling feature of the app, which can be viewed by as many as 100 million of Snapchat’s daily users. For example, Perry snapchatted a video just prior to his announcement but will only get a reach equal to his followers.

Hillary Clinton, like Jeb, is also not officially on Snapchat. But while delivering her first major speech of her campaign on Saturday, was featured as part of Snapchat’s “Our Story.”


Why It’s Hot

Politicians clearly want to reach their key demographics where they are. For the younger generation that means social media. We saw this with Obama’s presidential campaign and his heavy use of Twitter. It gave the nation the idea that Obama is more approachable and that there is opportunity to directly reach the President (or his team.) On the other hand, as a user of Snapchat, I am not sure how thrilled I am to have it filled with political stories and campaigns. If that is what I was hoping to see, I could turn on the news. And as noted above it is one thing if the political figures campaign and post videos and stories through their own Snapchat account, which I would then have to voluntarily opt into. On the other hand, by sponsoring stories, this content will show up in the newsfeed of all users. In conclusion, it will be interesting to see how these candidates continue to use Snapchat and other social media platforms throughout their campaigns.



Snapping to you from McDonald’s!

Snapchat has a new source of revenue, via the geofilters that have become very popular to use amongst users. Those using the app in the past few months have likely noticed the availability of unique filters based on their geographic location at the time they send the photo or the video. Here are some examples of these filters.

Now, Snapchat is offering brands/corporations opportunities to design their own location-based filters, for a cost. McDonald’s is the first company to embrace this new marketing opportunity.

mcdonalds snapchat geofilter

Why’s it hot?

With 65 million active users, one of the biggest questions regarding Snapchat relates to how it can connect advertisers to users without scaring them away from the app. Using filters to make this connection is arguably the most creative and least intrusive way that in a way, that feels like a natural extension of the geotag feature. One possible shortcoming of this idea is that it arguably offers minimal exposure for corporations that don’t operate in a strictly “physical location”.


For more about this, check out this link.


Snapchat & Shopping

Send erasing pictures to your friends, pay through us, read our curated content and now shop. Snapchat is looking to grow, grow and grow.

Most recently, Snapchat reportedly invested an undisclosed amount of money into  Spring, a clothing retail-like app. The app allows you to “follow” brands you like, provides inspirational recommendations based on your preferences and enables users to purchase within the app. Spring is already available for iOS and Andriod but is still in the process of raising more money.


Why It’s Hot

Social media platforms these days are literally trying to do it all. The fact that this Snapchat is now tapping into ecommerce could be just the beginning of many more endeavors for the startup.

Snapchat Debuts Video Ads for 2 Cents a View

Snapchat wants companies to know its not just for millennials: Advertisers can find a home there as well. In April, Snapchat stopped selling Brand Stories, the first type of ad it released last fall, according to multiple people familiar with the move. Yesterday, the platform announced that it would be unveiling 10-second ads that cost 2 cents per view. The new ad offering creates a new way for Snapchat Discover publishers to generate revenue. Snapchat’s Nick Bell said the photo-sharing app has spent the last few months experimenting with how to price ads on Discover.

Why It’s Hot: 
Perfecting the advertising revenue model is crucial for emerging social platforms to maintain long-term viability. Snapchat has been exploring various pricing structures and working closely with brand partners to perfect the offering for months, which demonstrates the nimbleness of these platforms and the power that advertisers have in forming these mutually beneficial partnerships.

Facebook Boosts Video Capabilities & Messenger

Facebook introduced this week various upcoming features to be added to the Messenger and Video products. Messenger will support GIFs, special effects, overlays, and be open to partnerships with media companies like ESPN and JJ Abrams’s Bad Robot to support a more interactive platform. The Facebook video product will be embeddable like YouTube and will allow 360 view enabled by Oculus.

Why It’s Hot: Facebook is attempting to be competitive with image-driven instant messengers like Snapchat and the real-time buzz of Twitter. Facebook lost out to Twitter last year during the World Cup in terms of real-time conversations, and this content partnership with ESPN seems to be a way for the company to amend that for the future with creative messaging. These changes will hopefully help people stay more in the Facebook environment, increase the user base, and remain relevant.

Don’t Doubt The Win When It Comes To Snapchat

Over the past couple of years, brands have discovered the value in targeting consumers via mobile. Everyone is on the go nowadays and by targeting consumers through social media applications, brands can interact with their audience 24/7.

Snapchat, a photo-messaging application is a growing tool that brands can use to interact with their audiences. Recently, Snapchat launched “Discover” in an effort to make the app more brand friendly.

Many brands dropped the ball when it came to utilizing Snapchat as a tool to engage their audience during the Super Bowl. However, Mountain Dew knew exactly where to be on social to promote their new campaign.

Mountain Dew took to Snapchat in an effort to promote the launch of new flavors for their Kickstart Morning Drink.  The brand appealed to the application’s influencers the day before the big game by initiating Kickstory. Mountain Dew’s Kickstory was a real time, “fan-driven,” Snapchat story featuring content pulled from various social media platforms and web celebrities. The brand’s story was extremely interactive because they encouraged fans to vote for what was to be revealed in their next story. The audience voted by taking a screenshot of their favorite option and this was a great way for Mountain Dew to indicate the engagement of their audience.Mountain Dew Kickstory


The story ended just shy of kick-off at the Super Bowl. This shows how great their timing truly was because they knew what everyones priority was going to be during game time.

Why It’s Hot:

Some brands saw the value in taking advantage of an underutilized social media platform to interact on a 1:1 level with their audience. Since the app isn’t time consuming, it was a quick and easy way for brands to connect with viewers in an exciting and cool way.

Snapchat’s First Original Series

Last week Snapchat rolled out a media platform within the app, called Discover. Basically, the app paired with media companies to publish content within the app that is accessible for a limited period of time. You can read more details about that update here.

To expand its reach further, Snapchat will be premiering its first original series titled, Literally Can’t Even on its Snap channel, which is part of the discovery feature. The show will focus on fictionalized versions of Sasha Spielberg (Steven’s daughter) and Emily Goldwyn’s (John Goldwyn’s daughter) lives in LA.

Each weekly episode will be approximately 5 minutes long and only be available for 24 hours before they disappear entirely from the platform, staying true to Snapchat’s fleeting format.


Why It’s Hot

Snapchat began as a simple photo messaging app with a unique feature of disappearing content. Its recent app updates show the brand is definitely moving beyond its core product in an attempt to monetize their efforts further. And with 100 million users it seems the platform has the audience to take it to the next level. If the company’s recent roll out positioned them as a media hub and potentially a publishing powerhouse now they are also in the realm of a Netflix as a creator of original content in addition to the curated. As marketers become increasingly interested in advertising on the platform it will be interesting to see how the app is able to enhance its segmentation capabilities. Currently the brand is only able to target by country. If, however they were able to target more granularly this platform could become increasingly appealing to marketers worldwide.

Read more here.

BMW’s Snapchat-Inspired Campaign to Attract Young Drivers

Today’s ever sought out younger consumers are known for having seconds-long attention spans—but that’s fine for BMW, which only needs five seconds. The automaker is launching a social campaign and website dubbed Snowchat, which will let users share pictures that last only seconds, just like a Snapchat message.



The site features an image of a BMW windshield covered in snow, which users can wipe away to make designs with the swipe of a finger across a touchscreen or the click of a mouse. Then, the virtual artwork can be shared via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail. Once the image is shared, it disappears five seconds after it’s opened. BMW hopes that since the messages vanish quickly, people will send more than one to their friends, similar to how millennials use their favorite mobile messaging apps.

The site promotes the X4 SUV, which is aimed at a younger consumer than BMW’s average driver. BMW’s social push isn’t solely geared toward moving cars off lots, partly because millennials don’t have the money to buy luxury vehicles—yet. “We are trying to open our arms wider than just car enthusiasts and BMW fans,” Renner said. “We’re trying to invite people into the brand and let us be a part of their daily lives for the holidays.”


Why It’s Hot

Although not many Millennials can afford a BMW, the brand is taking the right approach by placing an emphasis on building a relationship with these consumers now. The younger audience appreciate a brand that “gets” them and with such a high value purchase and the audience’s propensity to research prior to buying, BMW is setting themselves up to be top of mind when that day comes for Millennials. Of course, Millennials are keen to stick with a brand that provides a high quality product, however, second to that is a brand that is transparent, authentic and understands the younger consumer’s mindset. 

Snapchat’s Geo Filters Now Open to Everyone

This week, Snapchat made its geofilters available to everyone.  Previously, this feature was only available to Snapchat developers.

Snapchat stated “Geofilters are special overlays for Snaps that can only be accessed in certain locations. Artists and designers are encouraged to use this tool to bring their one-of-a-kind style to the Snapchat community. Simply choose the geographic area you want your filter to be available in and upload an image asset. All images must be original artwork and have to be approved by the Snapchat team.”

It should be noted that the geofilter will only be visible to users in the area you selected.

On the website for Geofilter submissions, Snapchat asks businesses to sign in to submit, though it’s unclear if the company is currently charging businesses for Geofilter submissions or if that’s in the works for the future.


Why It’s Hot

Snapchat is on fire! From opening up its platform to advertisers in October to unvelieling Snapcash (a feature that facilitates payment between users.) Snapchat is capitalizing on undeniable popularity. It will be interesting to keep an eye on the different tactics the app will implement in the future for additional revenue streams.

Read more here and here.

Amazon + Snapchat = Black Friday Deals

The holidays are quickly approaching and Thanksgiving is next week! Brands are in the throes of offering deals and bolstering sales as we near the biggest shopping day of the year – Black Friday. has teamed up with Snapchat to offer 10 second deals for users with the goal of bolstering sales.The launch was announced via Instagram to the brand’s 94k+ fans.


According to CNET, “Consumers are spending more time and money on mobile, and Amazon is trying to keep those dollars in its network by reaching out to social media followers.”

Why It’s Hot

Instagram and Snapchat both have large, primarily mobile audiences. This holiday campaign for Amazon will be an interesting test as they explore the thread between mobile, social media and ecommerce.



Send Money Through Snapcash

Snapchat, a company already valued at $10 billion based on the strength of its vanishing photos, has now launched a new service called Snapcash. Partnering with mobile payment provider Square, Snapchat has developed a service that lets users send money to other users. Through Snapcash, users link their debit cards to their Snapchat accounts, “and quickly send money to a contact by starting a chat on a smartphone, typing in a dollar sign and an amount and hitting a green button,” according to a blog post Monday from Snapchat.

Snapchat has 100 million users, mostly tech-savvy 20-somethings who thrive on instant gratification and trust the Internet. The service is available for users age 18 and over, and all debit card information will be stored by Square.  Square will process the payments and transfer the money between accounts.

Why It’s Hot

Snapchat makes a ready distribution system based on its number of users and the characteristics of the audience.  This is one more move toward a cashless society, but it remains to be seen if Snapchat’s basic business model can accommodate this type of financial feature. The audience is there. The distribution is there. But banks are competing in this space, as well, and it’s going to take a lot of effort (but not impossible) for Snapcash to gain traction as a credible payment method.

$$ Snapchat Introduces SNAPCASH $$

Snapchat has unveiled a new feature – Snapcash – that will allow users to send money to other clients of the messaging app through a partnership with payment-processing firm Square, which offers its own stand-alone friend-to-friend payment app called Square Cash. The service will only be available to Snapchat users in the United States who are over 18 years old. None of a user’s personal financial information will be stored on Snapchat’s servers.

To use Snapcash, a user enters their banking information into Square Cash’s servers. Then, to send a payment, a Snapchat user types in the dollar amount that they’d like to send in a private message. The app then recognizes the dollar amount – $10 say – and a green payments button appears, which a user would tap to complete the payment.

(Security Concerns? Trust is an issue for the company following recent massive photo & video leaks. Users who sign up for the service will be creating a Square Cash account. “We set out to make payments faster and more fun, but we also know that security is essential when you’re dealing with money,” wrote Snapchat when announcing the feature. “Square has a ton of experience in this area and our teams have been hard at work to make Snapcash a great experience for everyone.”)

Read more from the press coverage here and here.

Why it’s hot:

The addition of a payment capability is part of Snapchat’s broader push to expand beyond its core messaging business by both adding advertising and branching out into live events.  The company is already in talks with media companies to develop content for its platform, and recently began running ads.

With this move, Snapchat becomes an intriguing competitor in the mobile payment and money transfer space that is currently led by Venmo and PayPal.

Snapchat Adds Location-Based Filters

Snapchat just added a collection of geo-filters to its popular app, allowing users to add fun labels and drawings based on their location. The new art and labels are specific to certain cities and destinations. For example, if you’re snapping a shot at Disneyland, you’ll be able to swipe right to see art related to the amusement park.

The feature officially launched on Tuesday, but Snapchat has been quietly testing geo-location filters for awhile. Users must enable location services for the feature to work, which means Snapchat isn’t storing your location data.


Why It’s Hot

The news of geo-location filters comes a few days after Snapchat users received a surprise collection of curated snaps from Brazil during the final games of the FIFA World Cup. The previous use of live event stories with EDC Vegas required users to manually “add” the EDC Live event to view, but the Rio Live account appeared automatically under contacts for all users to enjoy.

As other companies try to compete with Snapchat by adding similar features (FB Messenger, iOS8 iMessage, etc), Snapchat’s new geo-location features allow the company to hold onto its unique appeal. Geo-location offerings add new dimensions to the once photo-only messaging app and create new ways in which users and brands interaction with one another.

Read more here

Snapchat Offers Brands Customized Photo Filters

Snapchat might be giving brands another reason to sign up for its service — customizable photo filters. The photo-messaging app seems to have been testing this new feature that allows brands to add their logo to images or videos they send out to friends.

Although a Snapchat spokesperson declined to comment on the new photo filters, it seems plausible that the app may be considering using this customizable logos feature to attract more top brands to the service while giving itself more credibility as a marketing platform.


Why It’s Hot

Combining the possibility of brand logos with the platform’s other new feature, Our Story, this seems like a possible revenue opportunity for Snapchat. As Snapchat unveils Our Story at EDC in Vegas this weekend, the highlight reel of a live-event paired with additional branding makes sense and could stand to entice more conservative brands to include Snapchat into their real-time marketing efforts.

Read more here


Facebook mobile app requires no Facebook account

This week Facebook launched an app that allows people to exchange disappearing photos and videos without a Facebook account.  Signup is through a mobile number and friends can be messaged through the device’s contact list or user’s Facebook account.  Called Slingshot, this standalone app allows Facebook to expand beyond its core network and directly challenge newly emerging apps that are pulling younger people away from Facebook.

The launch comes closely after Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for $19 billion in February and its purchase of Instagram in 2012.  Snapchat, a similar service to Slingshot, turned down a $3 billion Facebook offer last year.










 Why It’s Hot

With this app, Facebook has acknowledged it needs to protect its base of 1.28 billion members from other apps, such as SnapChat.  And it pushes the boundaries of participation and creativity.  At the launch, Facebook released a blog post saying, “When everyone participates there’s less pressure, more creativity and even the little things in life can turn into awesome shared experiences.”

Snapchat’s “Our Story” and EDC


Snapchat’s “Our Story” and EDC

Snapchat launched “Our Story” with the kickoff of EDC. The idea is to create a single stream of individual content from everyone who attends a huge event. Users received a Snapchat promoting the option to add EDC to your feed and follow that event. Aggregating all the content makes people “feel like you’re right there.” This new feature does not require an update and is the first “living timeline” that has been created based on geo-location in real time. People at the concert were encouraged to contribute because Snapchat provided free wifi and asked for people to keep location services on to demonstrate the power of geo-technologies and the impact it can have.


Why it’s hot:

Events such as EDC are large-scale, but not accessible to everyone. Further, as data plans because increasingly restrictive there is a new appreciation for free wifi! Appealing to the tech-savvy and young EDC audience, Snapchat was able to create a feed to document EDC and share it around the world. Now streaming straight from Snapchat– no matter where you are or what you are doing –you can experience EDC. Unlike reviews of restaurants or sites, huge events (such as EDC) are an experience that is not easily captured through photos or even a single video stream. Gaining a 360 perspective of a concert or huge event creates buzz and interest in the event. Snapchat has created a unique opportunity to be a part of something bigger—as a viewer, contributor, or both! It also creates a sense of community and connection through social networks. Snapchat’s Our Story- EDC


Tinder: Snapchat for Dating

Tinder is about to become more like Snapchat with the introduction of their newest feature: Moments. Moments allows users to share photos that expire in 24 hours (sounds familiar) with old and new matches. After taking a photo inside the Matches section, the app pushes it out to all matches, and recipients can either like or ignore it.

Tinder says that sharing “Moments” will give users the opportunity to show a different side of themselves beyond their profile and add a layer of connecting with potential maters.

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Why It’s Hot

Tinder has been a hot topic since the app’s initial release back in September 2012. Moments is one of the most notable updates to the app in it’s 20 month history and is poised to change the “Tinder Game” indefinitely. It’s safe to assume that this update will lead to active Tinder users creating more connections with potential mates, however, it’s doubtful these connections will be as “meaningful” as the app believes they will be. Not only does Moments have implications for users, but what does this evolution say about social networking platforms and apps as each continues to incorporate their adaptation of one another’s best features creating a melting pot of the same app? Are apps really positioning themselves to win the race or will all the similarities have a negative effect on user adoption?

Read more here.