#SocialThrowback2020: Wrapping up Snapchat's year of new lenses, content & AR experiences

Sanya Saxena
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Snapchat 2020

From new creative filters to mental health support through the COVID-19 crisis, Snapchat stepped up in several ways in 2020, here's a recap of key innovations.

Since the launch of Snapchat, the platform has been infusing technological innovations into social media. They have stepped up experiences of clicking pictures and shooting videos. Over time, users went from trying out dog and tiara filters and sharing snaps with friends to maintain streaks, to creating their own personal Bitmoji avatars and consuming content produced by local publishers. The trend continued in 2020, with Snapchat launching a range of new features and updates.

With AR lenses and measures to deal with COVID-19, 2020 proved to be an interesting year for Snapchat, here's more.

Snapchat 2020 for Brands & Advertisers

Snapchat partnered with brands such as L'Oreal, Amazon Prime Video, DreamWorks Animation to offer their users a branded virtual experience. The app made Dynamic ads available globally this year, adding automated customization for brands and marketers.

For Advertisers, Snapchat rolled out their First Commercial, a non-skippable ad that users would see when they watch the first snap of the day. It also updated the Snap Select tool with more programming options and genres. To make it easier to create ads, this social media app launched the Video Conversion Tool, which gave advertisers the option to convert horizontal videos to vertical videos and customise them through a template.

Introducing Spotlight

Snapchat introduced an in-app platform, Spotlight, to feature the best and the most entertaining snaps uploaded by users. This gave the worldwide creators a chance to earn a share of $1 million and more if their snap performed well on Spotlight.

AR Experiences

Snapchat amplified their AR experience for developers, creators, and Snapchatters by adding new features. They introduced a new AR effect, 'Ground Transforming,' which allows users to swap solid concrete, flooring, or other lands for bubbly lava or reflective water through their Snap cameras.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, the app introduced 'The Friendship Time Capsule,' a new feature that enables friends who can't be together in person to build new mutual memories via AR. Snapchat also came up with Local lenses and a shared AR world where users can move into a virtual space together to decorate buildings in the vicinity with colourful paints.

Efforts to Fight COVID-19 Impact

To cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, Snapchat announced several new features. The social media app partnered with WHO to provide reliable information to users and also launched two new Snapchat lenses to allow users to share information on how to stay safe during the pandemic. In addition, Snapchat has launched a new COVID-19 Business Resource Center, which has helped its partners with real-time information and insights about user behaviour and industry updates.

Supporting Social Distancing

Snapchat has developed a range of tools, lenses, and content to encourage people to follow social distancing. This includes an innovative Snap camera that allows office workers to have some fun while in a video meeting, a lens that allows users to show that they're staying at home, and an AR game that you can play with your friends to break some of the most common myths about Coronavirus.

Special Shows

Snapchat came out with a number of new original shows by storytellers of different genres. These shows range from comedy, horror and reality documentaries. Recently, the app announced a holiday special called 'Will From Home' by actor Will Smith.

Snapchat 2020

Here's a quick update on Snapchat in 2020:

January 2020

  • Bitmoji TV available for users globally

February 2020

  • Snapchat amplifies AR capacity with Ground Transformation
  • In Testing: A redesigned interface
  • In-app mental health support is introduced
  • Snapchat rolls out support for 5 new Indian languages

March 2020

  • COVID-19: Snapchat partners with WHO and outlines efforts
  • Lens Web Builder is introduced for brands

April 2020

  • More branded AR Lenses are initiated
  • 46% Snapchatters concerned about friends & family’s health, finds report
  • Ad Products Updates: First Commercial, Updated Snap Select, Vertical Video Conversion Tool 
  • COVID-19 Business Resource Center is launched
  • Snapchat India celebrates the onset of spring with special localised lenses
  • AR Donation Lenses to support WHO are rolled out
  • Features launched to support social distancing: Snap Camera, New Lenses, WHO Partnered Lenses, New Filters and Stickers, New Bijmoji and New content
  • Platform Updates: App Stories, COVID-19 News Tab, AR Lenses, Zenly – Social Distancing Leaderboard Game

May 2020

  • Feature update: Snap Stars
  • New tools and AR Experience to support COVID-19 relief launched

June 2020

  • Snap Focus for advertisers is launched
  • New filters to add or remove facial hair and Dynamic Ads are rolled out

July 2020

  • Snapchat inks strategic partnership with DAN for India
  • New launch: Brand Profiles in closed beta, In-App meditation experience with Headspace
  • ‘Here For You’ rolled out in India

August 2020

  • Cameos Stickers options added to the app
  • Snapchat to soon allow users to add music to Snaps

October 2020

  • Updates: Halloween Lenses & Visual Search
  • 150% hike in DAUs in India since last year announced
  • Features released: Sounds, Meditation features with Headspace Mini
  • First Commercial is launched for advertisers

November 2020

  • Snapchat introduces Spotlight to showcase the best Snaps
  • Astrology features introduced
  • Snapchat allows Public Profiles to show subscriber count
  • Ad products, Features to drive app installs, Snap Connect for direct response advertising, R-enabled Friendship Time Capsule launched 

Throughout 2020, Snapchat continued upgrading itself to give its users an exciting experience of playing with filters and clicking snaps. It would be fun to see what more this app has for 2021. Until then, Happy Snapping!

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