Fun and rascally, vanishing pictures have helped Snapchat stand out in a market dominated by giants like Facebook and Apple. To become a giant in its own right, however, the start-up is pushing into more mainstream mobile messaging services.
To that end, Snapchat is rolling out a text- and video-messaging feature named Chat, while making it easier for users to save their exchanges with friends. The text and video messages will still disappear after users are through with them, but Snapchat is encouraging everyone to save whatever information they like.
Addressing users and their fellow Snapchatters on Thursday, the company explained in a blog post: “Either of you can always tap or screenshot to save anything you’d like to keep (addresses, to-do lists, etc.)!”
As part of a broader shift away from ephemeral exchanges, the start-up debuted Snapchat Stories, late last year -- a feature that allows users to save and share photos for up to 24 hours.
As Facebook’s $19 billion WhatsApp deal made outrageously clear, mobile messaging is big business -- and increasingly key to reaching consumers.
Yet as a recent white paper from IPG Media Lab showed, the messaging space is beyond cramped. Along with Facebook Messenger -- in which the social giant continues to invest -- services Kik Messenger, WeChat, Line and Tango are all competing for user affections.
As various surveys suggest, however, the pool of potential users continues to grow -- and especially among young users who are spending more of their time on social apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine.
Never far behind young consumers, brands have been happy to experiment with Snapchat. Following Taco Bell’s lead, McDonald's joined the service earlier this year, while Heineken recently relied on Snapchat to connect with festival goers at Coachella.
Among brands, other early adopters include Juicy Couture, Seventeen magazine, NPR and HBO's "Girls."