Snapchat has had a long history on its rise to being one of the most popular social media apps out there. I am going to start from the beginning and take you on a journey through how the app has changed and the new marketing tactics it has brought to the table throughout the years it has been out. Prepare to leave this article being an expert on everything Snapchat. Let’s get into it.
Snapchat was created all the way back in 2011 by three Stanford students Evan Spiegel, Reggie Brown and Bobby Murphey. Each of these three played a very different role in the creation of the social media platform. Brown went to Spiegel with the original idea of having a social media app with disappearing content. The two of them then went to Murphey, who was skilled in the art of computer science and asked him to write the code. Funny enough, in classic “The Social Network” style, the two ended up forcing Murphey out of the company right after they came up with the idea to call the project “Snapchat.” Do not feel too bad for our guy Murphey though as he ended up getting 157 million dollars in a settlement and has his name added as one of the original founders of the social media platform.
For a while, pictures were the only way to use Snapchat, but in 2012 video arrived on the app. The update allowed users to record and send 10 second videos to their friends. This was where Snapchat really took off. More major additions were added over the next couple years.
In 2013, Snapchat added two major features that are still very popular on Snapchat to this day. The two features were the ability to add stories and the ability to chat with friends. Stories were pictures you could post that were available to all your added friends and could be seen for the next 24 hours. This gave users a way to stay even more connected with their friends as they could see what they were doing at any given time. The chat feature was simple enough, it gave users the ability to send text like messages to their friends on the app itself instead of just pictures and videos.
Also with this update came the creation of “Our Story” a function that let anyone who was at a specific hyped up event post pictures and videos to a story that everyone could see. Only people who were at that specific event could post to it. It created a whole other way for Snapchatters, even those who did not know each other to interact. Later in 2013 Snapchat added Geofilters which allowed users to customize their content even more by adding their location and what time it was to their pictures or videos.
In 2014, Snapchat added a feature that allowed users to send and receive money to and from their friends. This feature never took off in popularity like some of the other features did partially because Venmo was just an all around more trusted tool for sending money back and forth. Along with this, the app added community geofilters where users were able to create their own filter or even buy branded ones to use.
In 2015, advertisements were added to Snapchat in a large way. In fact 99% of the money Snapchat was making at this time came from ad revenue. Also in 2015, the discover feature was added to the app. This feature created a whole other area on the social media platform where users could scroll over and be taken to a page where they could watch short ad content created by well known companies and users. Lenses were also added this year which totally changed the game on how users took pictures and videos. With a ton of funny filters such as the classic dog tongue and baby face, users were obsessed with sending these filters of their face to their friends.
In 2016 the memories feature was added which allowed users to save content and edit it later. It would also remind them of that specific memory when the day they took the content came around next year. It was a way for users to keep track of what they did over the years and take a trip down memory lane. Personal bitmojis were also added to the app which allowed users to create an animated version of themselves and add whatever clothes and features they wanted to it for personalization. Finally, group messaging was added which allowed users to add all their friends into a Snapchat group chat where they could all talk together similar to a group text message.
One thing is clear, Snapchat was always looking for ways to add to the existing features of the app during the start of its creation. This is one of the reasons the app is still as popular as it is. Constantly adding features gave users new and unique ways to use the social media platform. Snapchat has become a way of life for some users, especially younger generations. Where will Snapchat go next? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.