Snapchat’s adding a new feature to its Snap Map which will highlight happening events – either based on updates from your friends or featured stories – with a clickable listing along the bottom of the map screen.
As you can see here, the new ‘Map Explore’ listings will be shown along the bottom of the map, enabling users to swipe across, and be quickly be taken to the relevant location on screen.
The tool adds another way for Snap to highlight relevant content – as per Snap Inc.:
“We made Map Explore because we noticed that when you open the Map, you aren’t always sure where to start your journey – unless you swiped outside your city, you might never see some of the amazing events our community is capturing.”
Boosting content discovery has become a key focus for the now publicly- listed Snap, as it looks to keep users in-app for longer, and boost engagement numbers. For a long time, Snap had stuck to its ‘Snapchat is for friends’ ethos, a privacy-focused approach which harks back to the app’s ‘anti-Facebook’ origins, but as Twitter has also found, user growth and engagement are much more important considerations for investors – and as a result, Snap has been forced to re-assess how they look at unearthing relevant content, and showing users more of what they might like to see.
That was a key element behind the app’s recent re-design, which splits Snaps from friends and connections into one section, and content from everyone else in another.
As part of the re-vamped Discover (to the right of the main screen), Snap now also showcases the work of influential users, using popular content to boost engagement, along with the regular Discover channels from approved publishers.
In addition to the app refresh, Snap also recently made Snap content embeddable from the Snap Map, which will also help boost discovery, and usage of Snap content.
That functionality has already proven valuable for happening events, with Snapchat users providing an ‘on the ground’ perspective not accessible via regular channels. As with other Snap content, there are limitations on Snap embeds (content is only supposed to exist for 30 days, though our tests have shown it’ll stick around for longer), but it’s another way for people to utilize Snaps, showcasing what’s being posted – and ideally for Snap, inviting more people to give the app a try for themselves.
Map Explore is a good addition to this process, another way to connect users with relevant, popular Snaps. It might not be for everyone (stats show that the majority of Snap usage is within private messages), but if you don’t want to use it, you don’t have to. Your own appearance on the map will be dictated by your regular privacy settings.
Snap says that the feature will roll out globally over the next few weeks.