What Snapchat’s Chat 2.0 Update Means for PR Pros

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Snapchat just got called up to the big leagues. The unlikely social media superstar has been on the rise for a while now, but this update shows the company is ready to capture a larger share of the market and become one of the major players in social media.

This update added an incredible amount of depth to its messaging offerings. With the March 29 launch of Chat 2.0—which is how the company refers to the update—the company developed a social experience that looks to keep users on the platform as long as possible.

This kind of user immersion is going to be key for the long-term viability of the platform. Steadily increasing the user base of the app is what’s going to put the platform in contention with social media behemoths like Twitter and Facebook.

While the actual features added by the update don’t immediately change the way communicators will interact with Snapchat, it does offer a few interesting additions that are sure to interest PR pros.

The biggest change the update makes for brands is the addition of autoplay in stories. Now, when one story finishes playing, Snapchat will automatically dive into the next unwatched story in the list. Although this is the most controversial aspect of the update, it’s likely to drive an increase in story views on the platform.

This feature makes it easier for users to stay up to date with a brand's stories by not forcing them to hand pick each one they watch, instead facilitating a kind of binge-watching of Snapchat content. We’ve seen autoplay become one of the driving factors in the rise of Facebook video, so it will be interesting to see how this implementation plays out on Snapchat as well.

The vast majority of the update comprises a radical overhaul of the platform’s chat features. What used to feel like an afterthought on Snapchat is now an incredibly robust and immersive experience. Users can now seamlessly jump between text, video, audio and images within the chat function, creating the most encompassing method of digital communication to date.

These additions make Snapchat a heavy hitter in the messaging app category, looking to square off against popular rivals like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. By incorporating images and video into messaging, Snapchat now offers brands a unique way to add depth and a real-time narrative around this more personal form of communication.

There’s no way to understate the gravity of this update with regard to the future of Snapchat. Chat 2.0 is no doubt only a glimpse at what’s in store for the company. As more users remain engaged with the platform for longer periods of time, expect Snapchat to start throwing its weight behind generating revenue, which means a much more inclusive measurement and advertising service for brands.

To hear more about what Snapchat's Chat 2.0 means for brands and to learn the secrets behind developing an audience on the platform, join PR News on April 25 for the How to Develop a Snapchat Presence webinar. 

Follow Mark: @MarkRenfree