Snapchat's not as big as the established players in the social space, yet it continues to grow and become more influential through its capacity to introduce new and interesting innovations to keep the app ahead of the game.
The app was essentially founded on such a novelty - Snapchat was the first to make waves with its focus on creating content that would disappear after 10 seconds or less. But where many other apps have hung their hat on their initial premise, and have been unable to hold that initial attention as a result, Snapchat's gone on to introduce additional, industry-leading functions to keep their primarily young audience base coming back for more.
They introduced Stories in October 2013, geofilters in July 2014 and lenses in September 2016. Just last month, Snapchat announced a major revamp of their messaging features. Snapchat's ability to remain attuned to their audience needs and interests, and continuously deliver on them, is what keeps the app front of mind, and keeps Snap users glued to their screens. And on this, the numbers don't lie - Snapchat's 100 million daily active users are now contributing more than eight billion video views on the platform every day.
You read that right - per day.
Snapchat's underlined their nous again today, with the introduction of new emoji stickers for videos.
The stickers are just like any other emoji, except they move and scale in proportion to the actual video, giving them an animated quality. It's a little bit weird, a little odd looking - but then again, this, of course, is the platform that popularized "rainbow vomit". Video stickers are interesting and interactive - and you can immediately see how this new feature will be popular among Snapchat's fan base.
According to TechCrunch, the new option was developed with the assistance of Eitan Pilipski, an engineer who Snapchat recently recruited from augmented reality company Vuforia. Vuforia aims to "help brands generate vision-based computing experiences", which includes mapping 3D objects into real-world video - for example, enabling gamers to overlay 3D objects into a physical space via their tablet.
While Snapchat hasn't disclosed how the system actually works, it makes sense that they would use Pilipeski's expertise for such a function, while it also opens up new possibilities to consider for future, interactive 3D Snap additions.
To use the new sticker option, users need to record a video, tap on the sticker button, then place the sticker over the object they want to attach it to and long-press on the sticker to link it to that element. The tool's rolling out for Android users today, with iOS to come soon - expect to see a heap of these types of surreal, emoji characters jiggling through people's video clips shortly. And if Snapchat's other innovations are anything to go by, expect to see other platforms looking to implement similar in the near future, especially if the option "blows up" and proves popular among Snapchat's user base.
As noted, one of Snapchat's biggest strengths has been its ability to stay on trend and avoid becoming another teen fad that dies out. The regularity with which they've been able to lead the way with new innovations and keep users coming back bodes well for the future of the app - rather than trying to play catch up and implement new systems in line with what users are already doing, Snapchat's been able to create its own trends and lead the way, showing how in touch they are with their core user groups.
Snapchat's not as big as the established players, for sure, but it's certainly getting there. If you're still ignoring it and hoping its novelty will wear off, it might be time to pay a visit to 'Ghostface Chillah' and his friends to see what al the hype is about.