When it was reported that Snapchat was acquiring Vurb earlier this week, many questioned its intentions. How is Vurb, a relatively unheard of discovery app, going to help Snapchat fend off one of the biggest social networks from grabbing more messaging territory?
While it may be a small player, Vurb had done many things right prior to its acquisition.
First, the app made it easy to find searchable content in a visually appealing way. Search results on Vurb are shown in cards, making the search experience more enjoyable and visually appealing.
Second, the app's done a great job of incorporating local interest into its experience. If you search for a restaurant nearby in Vurb, you'll immediately be presented with tons of useful local information, including the distance, directions, and company details like hours and contact information.
And finally, Vurb plays well with others. They've done a fantastic job of integrating other apps into the platform. Local business pages show Yelp and Foursquare reviews, a Twitter feed, and even the ability to request an Uber. They've made search more visually appealing and user-friendly at the same time.
So, the big question - how does this fit into Snapchat?
The most obvious use for Vurb in Snapchat would be integrating its search functionality to help users discover other users. Snapchat has made it notoriously difficult for users to connect with celebrities and companies within the app, and Vurb could provide the search power needed to connect the dots. Snapchat's engagement would increase greatly if users could tailor their experience and follow suggested accounts.
That being said, it's hard to imagine Snapchat not implementing some of Vurb's other features as well.
As far as revenue opportunities go, Snapchat could be looking to give businesses greater powers with Vurb's search functionality.
By building out their discovery platform, Snapchat could be giving small businesses the opportunity to start conversations with users, and allow them to share movies, events, and food options with their friends. It's all a part of an effort to capture as much messaging traffic as possible . And with Facebook going forward with messaging bots and Instagram nipping at their heels, Snapchat's acquisition of Vurb is looking more like a move to the offensive.