With over 158 million daily active users around the world – eight million of whom are in Saudi Arabia and the UAE – Snapchat is without a doubt one of the most popular means of communication in the modern age. Having set out to reinvent the camera and the way people interact, the app has grown to integrate some of the most entertaining things you could do with your phone – dog-face filter, anyone?
With so many new and rapidly evolving features, it’s easy to lose track of what’s going on with your favorite app, which is why Savoir Flair tapped its VP of Partnerships Ben Schwerin for the lowdown on all the things you didn’t know, but really should.
Snapchat has just launched World Lenses.
“Lenses have been around for over a year, and they allow you to animate your face in a really fun way – you can become a puppy, you could puke rainbows, etc. With World Lenses, you can now turn the camera around and it allows you to paint the world with really fun 3D experiences. You can grow flowers on the ground or see dancing eyeballs around you, for example. It’s really fun because you can walk all the way around the objects and see them from different perspectives.”
You can search the app using Emojis.
“There’s something on Snapchat called ‘Official Stories’, which are the stories of high-profile people or celebrities. In the region, for example, there’s Sheikh Hamdan – he’s a great user of Snapchat and every time you watch his stories, you can see this beautiful postcard of Dubai. There’s also Sheikh Mansour, Balqees Fathi, and Fouz Al Fahad. What’s very cool for fans is that they feel like they can really connect with these people in a personal way and see their everyday lives.
If you’re official, you get an Emoji next to your name, which you get to pick. For example, Sheikh Hamdan has a horse. And what people don’t know is that if they go into search, they can see a list of some of our official stories. They can also just type in an Emoji and search like that. If you’re a soccer fan, you can put a soccer-ball emoji and see a list of all the soccer teams.”
You can create your own Geofilter.
“Many people also don’t know that there’s a website called On-Demand Geofilter on which people can easily create a geofilter for their event or special occasion. It then gets checked and approved by someone from the team, but usually just for context.”
Travel Mode allows you to minimize the app’s data usage.
“Travel Mode, which we have in our settings, lets you use less data when you’re traveling. If you’re worried about your data plan, you can just turn it on.”
The launch of Snapchat’s Our Stories was almost a disaster, but ended up being a complete success.
“We launched Our Stories, where we aggregate and curate photos and videos from a specific event, in the summer of 2014 for this big festival outside of Vegas called EDC. We were doing this for the first time and we had no idea what we were going to get. What we did is we offered festival attendees free WiFi so that they could use Snapchat, and what people didn’t know is that there was going to be this thing called an Our Story. So we went to Vegas, the festival started, and… the WiFi didn’t work at all. We were so stressed out and thought we weren’t going to get any Snaps. And then it just started working; people started to submit snaps to Our EDC Story and we started getting thousands of photos and videos of people at the event. It was incredible.
We were at the venue, but we had people in LA curating the content and looking at the festival from thousands of different perspectives. We just kept thinking, ‘Wow. This is incredible.’ It was definitely a turning point for us; we realized that we had something very special on our hands. It kind of happened as a surprise because we had no idea what to expect.”
You can create your own stickers.
“With the Scissors tool, which is fairly new, you can make your own sticker. For example, you can take a photo of someone, cut out their head, and it gets added to your Sticker Picker.”
When two people with Bitmojis chat, they can create a Friendmoji.
“People really love Bitmoji, which allows you to create an avatar of yourself that can look a lot like you, and that becomes a whole series of stickers. And if you’re in Chat and the person you’re talking to has a Bitmoji avatar, you can combine those to create really fun stickers with both your faces. It’s called Friendmoji.”
The biggest Snapchat accounts in the Middle East are...
… Sheikh Hamdan, Lojain Omran, Sheikh Mansour, and Fouz Al Fahad.
The Snapchat team receives some pretty unusual Geofilter requests.
“People have actually used Geofilters to apply for a job at Snapchat. We’ve also received requests to cover people’s birthdays as a live story for the world.”