Who doesn’t love Snapchat? Certainly nobody reading this article! Snapchat is not only a great messaging service that doesn’t bog your phone down with piles and piles of undeleted texts and pictures, but the innovation of Snapchat effects allows you to customize your conversations in ways that were never imagined possible before… ways that it never even occurred to people they could even want before. (Seriously, when Morse invented the telegraph, did he sigh and say, “If only it looked like I were vomiting rainbows…“?)
We here at Appamatix are pretty excited about some of the new Snapchat effects, which are available on both Android and iPhone. If you want to know our take on the new Snapchat effects fro Android & iPhone, read on…
You are always hoping that movie audiences are interested in characters and interested in story values rather than just mindless special effects. But you never know. — Clint Eastwood
New Snapchat Effects for Android & iPhone
Snapchat burst onto the scene as the app with self-deleting messages (an innovation that more and more other apps are now mimicking). But it has managed to keep its saying power with a sort of playfulness. That playfulness often comes in the form of its effects: things that you can add to your photos in app. Sometimes, it may just be a matter of adding emoji or drawings to your pictures, or sometimes its something much more involved, like lenses.
Lenses are special animated filters that Snapchat offers. The offerings change daily, with new and old apps going in and out of service regularly. So the only way to know if you’ve played with all the lenses available to you is to get on the app every day and tool around with it.
And if you hadn’t heard, you may be gratified to know that Snapchat has recently closed its lens store! No longer will you have to pay a dollar just for goofy little effects. Now, they’re all going to be for free. But if you’re concerned about Snapchat’s lost revenue, we’ll come back to that in a moment. But first, let’s discuss one or two of the most recent updates to Snapchat effects…
Peaches? I could eat a peach for hours… Okay, so those of you who are having horrid flashbacks to that Nic Cage/John Travolta travesty Face/Off may not be too interested in one of the more exciting new lenses that Snapchat has made available. But everyone else might think it’s fun.
Basically, its a lens that lets two people in the same picture swap faces. Once faces are swapped, you can either take a quick Snap, or you can record a short video to send out. It can be a lot of fun, even if the results are sometimes quite disturbing.
The thing that’s really neat about this lens is that it is, to the best of our knowledge, the first one that requires two people. Most of the lenses are just for selfies, and so can be a little indulgent, or perhaps even boring to partake in. Take the snap, send it to a friend. Ha ha ha. But with this new dual snap, it’s something you and a friend can do together, when you’re just goofing off.
Snapchat Birthday Party!
We like to think that social media services are all about your friends — keeping in touch with old ones, and finding new ones. But really, if we were 100% honest, we’d admit that they’re really about us. About setting up a digital space that is all ours, where we are surrounded by people we like (and only them) and are constantly reminded of things we enjoy.
In this way, it has a lot in common with your birthday, which is a day which we more or less expect to be entirely about us, where we don’t have to do what we don’t want, and only have to be around the people we like. I’m not saying that that always happens, but we do always expect it (or at least desire it) on some level. To this end, it only makes sense that Snapchat should have something special just for birthdays.
Most social media apps and services will call attention to your birthday in some way, even if it’s just a generic little “Happy Birthday” tweet, or a reminder to all of your friends that they should be nice to you (not that it ever works… No, it’s fine… I’m not crying…). Snapchat takes this a step further. Seeing how incredibly popular their lenses have been since their September premiere (and, more recently, their geofilters), it’s a shoe-in that Snapchat should give you the opportunity to use special lenses on your special days. You simply register your birthday with Snapchat, and when your day comes, the lens will be enabled on your app.
Also, if you have any friends that have registered their birthdays with Snapchat, a birthday cake will appear next to their names when it’s their birthday. As a friend, you’ll be able to send them special birthday greeting Snaps with other special birthday filters.
But I think perhaps the development that I’m most excited about are the on-demand filters. There’s an old legend about Christopher Columbus that is (or will eventually be) relevant to this. (Bear with me.) So, people ask Christopher Columbus how he got the idea to go west to find a passage to India (remember, he died thinking that that is what he had done). He said it’s as challenging as standing an egg up on its small end. The person who he said this to, for some reason that has been lost to history, happened to have an egg on him, and so tried without success to stand the egg up on its small end. Columbus took the egg and cracked the shell on the small end — just made a flat spot by indenting the shell with his finger. Then the egg was able to stand up more or less stably (though by no means drily) on its small end. Columbus’s
straw man friend said, “There’s nothing clever to that! That’s just a stupid trick anyone could have done!” To which Columbus pointed out that yes, anyone can do it… once they’ve seen it done.
And before you race down to the comments, yes, I fully admit that that story is apocryphal. It probably never really happened, and may well be attributed to at least a dozen other historical figures. But I heard it with Columbus.
Now, if it had been Columbo, it would be a completely different story…
But I say all of that to say this: the new Snapchat development that I am most excited about is something which never would have occurred to me, but now that it’s out there, it looks like an obvious answer to so many problems, and a natural development in the progression of social media.
I’m talking about on-demand geofilters.
We’ve talked about geofilters before. They’re basically special lenses that are locked to a certain location. You have to be in the location in order to use them, so sending friends a Snap with a geofilter on it is very much like what sending postcards used to be.
Well, now users can make their own geofilters. If you have a special event coming up — a wedding, a town festival, even an academic conference — you can create a special, limited-time geofilter that is tied to a location of your choosing. You design it yourself and you set its parameters. Thus you have something that is incredibly unique and immensely collectible.
The high level of customization is one of the things that makes this such a natural progression of Snapchat. Playing with filters and lenses, as well as spending hours drawing on their own pictures, Snapchatters enjoy and even demand a level of customization far beyond what most other social media app communities find usual. Also, like all social media apps, sharing is a huge part of Snapchat. With an on-demand app, your creations are no longer limited to yourself; you can share them and let others use them, thus helping other users customize their experience after a fashion and giving you a boost of pride that so many others are taking joy in something that you have created.
However, there is another part to this that makes this all seem so head-slappingly obvious. Before you fire up Snapchat and start cranking out endless on-demand geofilters, know that getting Snapchat to host your geofilter costs money. Specifically, costs start somewhere around $5, but larger areas of coverage and longer periods of availability will of course increase that cost.
The reason I find this so head slappingly obvious is that despite the preponderance of social media apps, and even our dependence on them for communication and the dissemination of news, the companies behind the apps are finding it harder to harder to monetize. For the longest time, it seemed the only way to make a profit from a ground-breaking and widely used social media app were
PLAN A) Sell it to Facebook
PLAN B) ???
Some apps have tried priced tiers to their services, but that almost always backfires: Pricing keeps a lot of people out, and no feature is worth the pricetag if it limits the number of people you can fully engage with on a social app.
Ads have been attempted, but due to a life time of being advertised to, most of us have learned to block out ads on some level or another. Ads have been taken to the next level in sponsored filters on Snapchat and branded GIFs on Kik, and this greatly increases their potency, as now users are more engaged with (and attentive to) the advertising system, since they are made a part of it.
So it seems a shoe-in to let users generate their own content and pay a pittance to host it for a short amount of time. While no private user is probably going to net them as much as they’re getting from, say, Kraft for their Mac and Cheese filter, thousands and thousands of these micro-transactions are going to add up, increasing profits as well as the app-engaged user base that make it so attractive to other large-ticket advertisers. In any event, if you want to start setting up your own geofilter for a special event coming up, there’s a section of the Snapchat web portal dedicated just to that purpose!
I think we’re going to be seeing more options like this in the future on a variety of apps, though I’m not entirely sure how some services would be able to implement something similar. For instance, I don’t know what sort of user-generated content Twitter could charge for. And Facebook seems to be content with a plethora of ads and annoying farm games. In any event, this is something to keep an eye on.
What about you? Is there a new development that you’re particularly excited about in Snapchat? Or perhaps there’s a lens in the rotating stable of lenses that you feel isn’t getting the attention it deserves! Or maybe you have solved the problem of how Twitter can actually start making money! Let us know your thoughts down in the comments!