Snapchat is growing up pretty quickly. What started out as a way to share photos that self-destruct in 10 seconds, has evolved into one of the most complete and engaging communication platforms on the market today.

On March 29, Snapchat unveiled a major overhaul of its chat platform, enabling a whole bunch of new multimedia options for users. For the first time, users can now make audio and video calls through the app, as well as choose from over 200 stickers to send in messages and simultaneously switch between calls and messaging.

Snapchat’s new-found versatility will help it compete with other popular private messaging apps like We Chat, Kik, Telegram and Facebook-owned properties, WhatsApp, and Messenger.

In this post, I’d love to dig into the Chat 2.0 update: how to use the new features and what this may mean for the future of Snapchat.

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Everything you need to know about the Snapchat Chat 2.0 update

The Chat 2.0 update brought with it a plethora of new features and enhancements. In this section, I’d love to give you the lowdown on each of the key new additions.

Auto-Advance Stories

You can now swipe left during a Story to jump right into your next friend’s Story, or once a Story has finished playing the next one in your list will automatically start.

This makes consuming Story content much easier for users and could lead to an increase in the 7 billion video views Snapchat is generating daily.

snapchat-swipe

Stickers

Stickers have become an integral part of many messaging platforms over recent years and Snapchat has created a pool of over 200 stickers to include in your conversations.

stickers

Video or audio calls

You can now make audio and video calls through the Chat interface. To make a call simply tap on the phone icon for an audio call or the video camera icon for a video call.

What makes calls on Snapchat unique is the ability to be on a call and simultaneously send photos that appear as an overlay in the chat window.

video-call

Video or audio notes

Within the Chat interface, you can send quick, sub-10-second thumbnail videos and audio clips.

Video clips loop, much like GIFs and when tapped by the receiver will also play audio alongside the video. Audio notes, play through as the receive taps on them.

notes

From ephemeral photos to a vibrant communication tool

In 2014, Snapchat released Chat 1.0, and for the first time allowed users to communicate via text and video chat.

“When we first launched Chat, our goal was to emulate the best parts of face-to-face conversation,” the company explained in a recent blog post. “Chat 1.0 was all about the joys of being here — when most apps told you when your friend was typing, Chat let you know that your friend was listening. And it’s the listening and engagement aspects of social media where Snapchat has really been able to differentiate itself.

Whereas sharing on most social platforms now feels like shouting into an empty street, Snapchat holds user attention. If you have 100 friends, half of them are likely to watch your Story, and for direct Snaps and chat conversations the engagement is even higher.

Snapchat’s goal is “to be the best way to communicate — second only to hanging out face-to-face,” and of all the social media platforms and social networks out there, Snapchat is the closest relation to the way we interact in our day-to-day lives.

We love to share, chat, debate, and discuss with those closest to us and when we see our friends in real life, these moments disappear. Snapchat mimics that behavior far more than any other network.

With Facebook and Twitter, we give friends a glimpse into our lives. Snapchat allows you to share the whole picture in a more authentic way. It’s full-screen, immersive nature brings our friends much closer to use than any other network. Watching someone’s story means giving it your full attention, for a few seconds at least. Whereas scrolling through Facebook’s news feed or Twitter’s timeline, you will barely notice most updates.

With Chat 1.0 Snapchat made some large strides to further the authenticity of the platform and took a different approach to generating conversation, making exchanges between friends feel more serendipitous.

Instead of letting you know when a friend has sent you a message, Snapchat started to send a push notification to say that a friend has begun typing a message to you. Their hope was that by the time they hit send, you’re already in the chat, ready to respond.

Here’s how Snapchat has evolved since its launch in 2011:

snapchat-timeline

Chat 1.0 was a pivotal part of Snapchat’s evolution from an ephemeral photo-sharing app into the private messaging space. Chat 2.0 will help move Snapchat away from being seen as a way for teenagers to send self-destructing photos into a major player in the messaging space alongside the likes of Whatsapp and Messenger.

A more familiar way to chat

Snapchat has always had a unique approach to messaging and communication, but this latest update brings with it a more familiar feeling. Chat 2.0 introduces features that have become common in other messaging apps, like Stickers and audio and video calling, but they’ve been included with Snapchat’s own unique flavor (simultaneously being able to video chat and send images, for example).

This move appears to further signal Snapchat’s intentions of moving more into the mainstream conversation when it comes to messaging.

When Snapchat first gained notoriety, like many almost every social platform, it was the teenage market that really started adopting it in droves. And today 41% of American teens are active on Snapchat.

To continue its growth, though, Snapchat needs to evolve and continue pushing for mainstream attention beyond the 18-25-year-olds who currently use the product.

Chat helps Snapchat to enter the conversation alongside apps like Messenger and Whatsapp and makes the value proposition much easier to grasp for many potential users. It’s no longer about sending disappearing content, it’s much more than that. It’s about connecting in genuine ways with those closest to use over whatever medium feels best.

What this means for marketers

Social media seems to be trending towards more private conversations. How this will affect marketers long-term remains to be seen. But what’s clear is that Snapchat is here to stay and marketers should be paying attention.

Chat aside, over recent months, Snapchat has continued to release important features to help aid its growth towards the mainstream.

In February, they released On-demand Geofilters. Geofilters are just like regular filters – a design you can overlay onto a photo or video you take in Snapchat – except they’re only available in certain locations.

This update created a new revenue stream for the company, but also made Snapchat a powerful marketing tool for brands and businesses of all sizes. Now anyone can create their own Geofilter in a selected area for a chosen time (starting at $5 per 20,000 square feet per hour).

Brands and businesses should definitely be looking to take advantage of the opportunities provided by Snapchat as it continues to move towards the mainstream. Those who jump on early may see a first mover advantage and receive the best returns for their organic efforts and on-demand filters alike.

Talking point: Have you tried using Snapchat from a business perspective or created an On-demand Geofilter? Any tips or tricks you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below the post.

Over to you

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Snapchat’s Chat 2.0 update. Have you downloaded it yet? What are your first impressions? 

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments ?

We hope you’ve found this Snapchat resource helpful! As some food for thought, we’ve recently shifted our Snapchat quite dramatically and are keen to be transparent about the how and why.

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Written by Ash Read

Content crafter at Buffer. I’m fascinated by storytelling, entrepreneurship, and travel. When I’m not writing, you’ll usually find me on a football pitch or basketball court.

  • Rocky Kev

    It feels like for the past few months, Snapchat has been really pushed by marketers. Snapchat is sounding like it’s becoming a sea of marketers + brands. None of my non-businessy friends use Snapchat any longer, but all of my online business friends do (or say they do.) I still have it on my phone.

    It feel like last year’s Periscope/Meerkat push – which has been pushed aside.

    In the words of Gary Vaynerchuk (who is also on Snapchat, btw) — “Marketers ruin everything!”

  • I’m loving Chat 2.0 – I went and outlined my favorite feature during my story yesterday.

    But for those that didn’t catch it – for me, it’s the way that on a story the timestamp reflects the time of the snap within your timezone. Awesome for context.

    Feel free to add me and I’ll certainly add you back – JasonResnick – or just scan my code – https://www.snapchat.com/add/jasonresnick

  • Corrode

    FYI the infographic has a typo in the year of the second last bubble. Unless it’s meant to be non-chronological.

    • Thanks for sharing, I’ve hoped in and updated the infographic 🙂

      • Steve ✓ᵀʳᵘᵐᵖᴸᵃⁿᵈˢˡᶦᵈᵉ

        *Hopped

  • I think you’ve now convinced me to finally start using Snapchat… my brain is about to implode…

    • Would love to hear how you get on with Snapchat @janineripper:disqus 😀

      • Haha well I’ve signed up and brain improved. Off to research ‘how to’ basics… although I like what see so far, as in the stories by some of the major brands 🙂 Interesting!

  • Love the new update and am completely STOKED about snapchat in 2016.

    Been designing custom geofilters for people and the attention on them right now is way up. Love the ghost ???

  • Lisa Davis Budzinski

    My daughter and I have been sending Snapchats since it first came out. We have a lot of fun being silly in the few seconds you have to make a Snap just to make each other laugh every day. My daughter also uses the Story section for her business in the wedding industry. Of course we’ve had fun with Snapchat 2.0

  • I love Snapchat and their new update. Those video notes have taken my chats to a whole new level 🙂 There’s definitely something more authentic in Snapchat than any others. 🙂

  • Kalina Nedyalkova

    Great blog post as always! It will be awesome if you can give a bit more detailed information about the on demand geofilters? I have heard a lot about them, but I have not had the chance to try them myself until now. I am planning to start a the company I work for a Snapchat account, so this will be extremely helpful!
    Thank you in advance!
    Kalina

    • Hey Kalina, thanks for reading! We’ve experimented a little with on-demand geofilters and it’s something I’m exited to write about soon. Keep your eyes peeled on the blog 🙂

  • jazzpanflute

    I still don’t see the Windows phone version. What have they got against it?

  • Nathaniel Rivera

    Curious to know how the direct chat feature works. Sometimes you can swipe up to chat on a specific chat, and sometimes you can’t. What’s the deal?

  • Marcus

    Is there an easy way to get to your first saved conversation with someone?

  • Abhi Sharma

    snapchat is progressing day by day still clearing snapchat feed could be made very simple checkout the link
    /http://www.androidairport.com/how-to-delete-snapchat-story.html