Snapchat has launched its eagerly anticipated integrated gaming platform. Focused on bringing people together again, the feature allows users to play real-time multiplayer games within the app, connecting with their contacts in a single action.

When Snapchat Started
The evolution of Snapchat started in a dorm room by Evan Spiegel and his friends back in 2011. It is a one-to-one and group messaging app that lets users send a photo, video, and text messages that disappear after a set timer. A staggering number of 150 million people use Snapchat every day which is why everyone is talking about the Snapchat game being a popular feature in the social media scene.

A Joint Experience
Social Media has become a way of documenting and sharing personal experiences but not necessarily sharing in those experiences. Snapchat’s gaming platform is here to rewire that mentality. The announcement emphasised that the Social platform wants to return to its roots: not only talking with friends but joining in an experience. It wants to make the user feel they are ‘playing a board game over a long holiday weekend. Something that feels like we’re sitting with friends, controllers in hand, looking at the same screen’. Encompassing the rise in tech and desire for human interaction, a topic of much discussion, this new era of social gaming platform could bridge the gap between a user’s reality and virtual worlds.

A Competitive Social Gaming Platform Space
The gaming platform is a vast step up from 2018’s Snappables, the platform’s first move into the collaborative gaming space via mini-games across AR Lenses. With it likely that Snapchat moved into AR to make more engaging and interactive content, its decision to go even further with gaming seems an obvious next step; especially when current competition is rife.
Both Facebook and Apple have launched gaming features this year, with Google and Apple also recently announcing their own subscription-based gaming services. With Snapchat appearing to take influence from WeChat, who have led the way with in-app gaming, they are strong contenders to mirror the success of the China-based app in the coming months.

Using Nostalgia To Entice Older Demographics
The Gaming function is rolling out with 5 original games created exclusively for the platform, with Bitmoji Party the most hotly discussed. As the name suggests this is heavily influenced by Mario Party, which you might remember fondly from the N64 back in the late 90’s. If so, you’re likely in Snapchat’s older target demographic – and exactly who they are trying to entice back into the platform on a more regular basis.
Echoing the recent success of Pokémon Go, nostalgia is a sure-fire way to appeal to millennials, with studies showing that tapping into positive, cultural memories from younger days is invaluable within this demographic.

Driving Engagement & Maintaining Usage
Not only are Snapchat appealing to the older demographics with this product but they are also actively working to drive increased engagement and app usage in its strongest following. Snapchat still has the monopoly over the 13-24 market and this user-base is incredibly loyal: 37% of daily users cannot be found on Instagram, along with 31% on Facebook and 77% on Twitter.
However, with the number of new users plateauing, the hope here appears to be keeping active users engaged on the platform for a longer duration. The decision to keep the functionality in the app, with no additional download or payment, is a smart way to engage users where they already are, while also making it as easy as possible to get friends involved. Overall, a great example of growing a platform in line with your audience.

Monetisation & Ads
Advertisers are, of course, able to place ads within the feature, expanding Snaps owned inventory. In-line with existing formats, gaming ads will be 6-second non-skippable features. To incentivise users to opt-in to ads they will be rewarded with gaming currency, power-ups or bonuses in return for viewing; meaning the more ads viewed, the more gaming value the users gain.
While this approach might appear counterproductive to the advertiser – with users watching for the personal gain rather than consuming the message – this format has proven successful across other platforms such as Spotify and YouTube.

Creative Format & Messaging
The first 5 seconds of any ad creative are key in delivering your message, with Snapchat highlighting that the first 2 seconds are the most vital. Therefore, creative in this format is a great opportunity when users are in the mindset of being entertained.
Creative should feature a singular message – Snap Ads perform best when you focus on a single value proposition per ad. Using purposeful sound design can also be used to an advantage, almost 60% of Snapchatters have sound on and this will likely increase within the gaming platform.

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