Snapchat’s looking to take its position as the key cultural app of choice to the next level with new Context Cards. And they could have a significant impact for both brands and users.
As you can see from the video, Context Cards are a new addition to the Snap process which will provide information about locations and events with a simple swipe.
But that’s not all – as per Snapchat:
“Context Cards also provide a way to take simple actions like calling for a ride with Uber or Lyft or reserving a table through OpenTable, Resy or Bookatable.”
From now on, Snaps will no longer be merely a passive experience – you’ll be able to find something you like, check out the details and book a cab to take you to it, right from within the app. Couple that with the recently released Snap Maps and you could have the makings of a key feature, one which could further engrain Snapchat as the place to be for younger users.
Context Cards won’t be available on every Snap – they’ll be included on Snaps which have been tagged with the company’s venue-specific Geofilter, or on any Snap that’s been submitted to the public ‘Our Story’ feed. This limits the possibility of the Snap experience being overrun by marketing-like material, and stops your personal Snaps from being tagged based on your location (which could be creepy).
For businesses, this may provide motivation to get more active on Snapchat. For example, if you wanted to ensure your business was more present on the Snap Map, you could consider purchasing a custom Geofilter for your company and advertising it in-store, prompting visitors to use it. That would then help ensure your business is more visible, which could encourage other Snap users to come along, once they see the relevant snaps.
Snapchat says that they may eventually enable businesses to add custom images and info to their Context Cards, but right now, they’re waiting to see how users embrace the new option before they look at monetization options.
In terms of the star ratings and data displayed on the Context Card listings, Snapchat’s partnered with various organizations including TripAdvisor, Foursquare, Michelin, and goop to provide the info. So if you want to improve your standing on this front, you’ll need to maintain awareness of your presence on these platforms.
The other potential impact Context Cards could have is on influencer marketing – despite recent reports showing that more influencers are moving away from Snapchat, and towards Instagram, Snapchat influencers still have significant sway, and audience reach. The introduction of Context Cards could facilitate a new partnership option for businesses, where they could pay for relevant influencers to visit their stores or events and add the relevant tags to have the Context Cards show up in their Snaps.
Imagine if one of your favorite celebrities was at a location nearby and Snapped about it – you could immediately find out the details and get there ASAP to meet them in person.
It’s a significant move for Snapchat. Sure, you could largely get a lot of this information already from Facebook or Google, but having it immediately accessible within Snapchat, and being able to act on that information straight away, based on Snap content, boosts the utility of the app. And given it’s already a key platform for young users – those more likely to be looking for a place to go out and meet up with friends – the benefits could be massive. If Snapchat users warm to it.
Will it be enough to reassure investors that Snap is on the right track? Probably not – Snap Inc. stock has lost 40% of its value since listing, and the lack of audience growth, impacted by the rise of Instagram, has raised scepticism about the app’s long-term prospects. Context Cards could, however, help Snap deliver on its key promise of providing value - they may not be able to compete on overall users, but their audience is more engaged, or at least that’s the line Snap’s going with. On that front, the company recently told Wired that users now spend 40 minutes per day in the app, compared to the average Instagrammer spending 32 minutes in-app.
Add to that the prospect of a new version of Spectacles and maybe Snap could have their narrative for their upcoming Q3 results announcement.
And speaking of Spectacles, the dedicated Spectacles website recently got a refresh.
That could mean nothing, of course, but maybe we’ll see something new on that front sooner rather than later.