Snapchat moved to up the ante on it's competitor, Instagram Stories, by releasing a long-awaited feature for marketers today.
In today's iOS and Android (beta) update, Snapchat has added the ability to turn create QR codes that redirect to any website.
Accessible from the Settings menu, users can choose a new option titled "Create Snapcode" that will enable them to choose an image for their Snapcode and add a website URL to redirect to.
Once created, you can then send the Snapcode to other users - either via Snapchat or any other means - and it'll link them directly to the relevant URL, which opend within Snapchat.
Those familiar with Snap's ad offerings may recognize this new feature as the "Snap To Unlock" ad product. That option, offered only to certain advertisers who met a $750,000 quarterly spend, enabled advertisers to create QR codes that would give the user a special, limited-time Geofilter for use inside the app.
In fact, Snapchat's been hinting at enhanced deep linking since November: Scanning the code above opens a prompt that, when clicked, redirects the user to Snapchat's success stories with other brands that have advertised with them.
On the eve of Snap filing for an IPO, this new feature could provide a boost to their prospects. One of Snap's lingering issues has been in boosting interest from marketers, many of whom have now moved to Instagram Stories. Verified users have long had the opportunity to redirect their viewers to URL within their stories, while users on Snapchat had to quantify their success using metrics such as views and screenshots. Luckily, QR Snapcodes don't require you to be verified in order to redirect to websites.
Since Snapchat users are quite familiar with the experience of scanning a code, marketers should think to apply the Snapcodes not only on social, but in-real world environments. An example would create a ARG campaign that rewards people for scanning the code and completing a puzzle once they've been redirected to a page for example.
In addition to this, Snapchat's also opening up their ad platform, allowing agencies and brands to license its API to do their own buying. The move means brands will no longer have to go directly through Snapchat to buy their ads, a move that will open the platform to many more advertisers
Whether or not these updates will convince business to jump (back) on Snapchat remains to seen. But the competition between Snapchat and Instagram just got a tad bit more interesting.