- Snapchat last week introduced Snap Camera, a free application for desktop computers that lets users decorate webcam pictures and videos with augmented reality (AR) features like Lenses. An integration with Twitch, the Amazon-owned video platform for gamers, lets streamers appear as if they’re wearing digital masks of popular videogame characters during their streams, per The Verge.
- Twitch viewers also can unlock lenses appearing in streams by scanning Snapcodes, which also have nearby calls to action that let fans subscribe to Twitch channels, per Adweek. Twitch streamers can thank new subscribers by offering them a chance to unlock those special lenses.
- Snap Camera is free to download for Mac and version 10 of Windows, and a Snapchat account isn’t required to use the desktop app. Snap Camera syncs with cameras connected to desktop devices works with video-sharing platforms such as YouTube, Skype, Google Hangouts and OBS.
Amazon and Snapchat continue to get cozy, with the Twitch integration following last month's news that Snapchat is testing enabling users can scan a physical product or bar code to shop for the item on Amazon. These development come amid speculation that a deeper relationship could be in the works between the platforms — including Amazon buying Snapchat. An acquisition might make sense as Amazon grows its digital media presence significantly while Snapchat looks for a way to light a fire under its growth.
Snapchat’s integration with Twitch is a good fit, considering that both platforms appeal to young adults and teens. Snapchat lost 2 million users to end Q3 2018 with 186 million, per a report last week, but the app is more popular than Facebook and Twitter among U.S. teens. Facebook-owned Instagram is the biggest rival for the younger smartphone audience, with 85% of teens saying they use Instagram at least once a month, neck and neck with Snapchat’s 84%, per Piper Jaffray's recent "Taking Stock With Teens" survey. While Instagram is the most-used platform, 46% of teens name Snapchat as their favorite, compared to 32% for Instagram.
While older social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter were founded before smartphones started a dramatic shift in social media usage, Snapchat always was a mobile-first platform. The introduction of a desktop-based app that’s completely separate from Snapchat may help the company reach an audience that prefers to watch video streams on a wider display than a smartphone touchscreen.
Twitch this year has expanded its capabilities with support from corporate parent Amazon. The companies last month added enhanced data and shopping features to their live video streams of Fox's "Thursday Night Football." Twitch live-streamed the games for free on its website and let viewers chat using customized NFL emoji that the service calls "emotes." The game-streaming platform has an average of 15 million daily active users, a number that rivals top cable networks. Viewership has jumped 55% to 46 billion minutes a month in 2018 from a year earlier, and the number of individual broadcasters has jumped 64% to 3.3 million, according to Twitch data.