- Snapchat, the image-messaging service with 173 million users worldwide, updated its app for Apple’s iOS with several new features, TechCrunch reported. The app now lets users share links from other apps using the Share Sheet, the pop-up on iPhones and iPads that lists ways to send links to other people.
- Snapchat is also letting users set an amount of time between three and 24 hours to turn off its Snap Maps feature, which shows people's location. When Ghost Mode launched this summer, users could only turn the live location-sharing feature on and off. The social media company now also lets users watch other people’s Stories by tapping on their name anywhere in the app, making the feature more accessible.
- While Snapchat’s Android version already had link sharing from other apps to Snapchat, it will add the timer functionality for Ghost Mode to Google Play-powered devices this week.
The addition of external link sharing is an important step for Snapchat, possibly transforming the app into a source of referral traffic to news and e-commerce sites while offers users more reasons to stick around and come back. The move comes as Google is ramping up a possible strike at Snapchat's relationship with publishers according to reports suggesting Google is paying some publishers to help develop content for its new “Stamp” project, a multimedia slide format that’s optimized for mobile phones.
Like all social media companies, Snapchat makes money by engaging audiences, and the link-sharing feature will make it easier for people to send each other content without having to copy and paste web addresses in Snaps and Stories. Referral traffic is important for publishers, especially since Facebook is testing out a feature to separate their content in an Explore Feed apart from the main News Feed that currently shows everything — friends’ posts, professionally produced content and paid ads. The idea behind the test is to make the News Feed less cluttered for users who want to see friends’ posts instead of too many shared links. Unfortunately for publishers, the Explore Feed feature has led to a 50% drop in referral traffic in countries where it’s being tested, such as Serbia and Cambodia.
Snapchat’s sharing feature also opens up the possibility that links could go viral among the app’s younger user base, with nearly half — 47% — of teens more loyal to Snapchat than most other social platforms. This marks an increase of 12 percentage points from a year earlier, per a survey from investment bank Piper Jaffray. Just 24% of teens said Instagram was their favorite social media platform, marking a rise of 1 percentage point, while both Facebook and Twitter dropped in popularity to 9% and 7%, respectively.