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How Snapchat uses technology for effective marketing

  • Akanksha Gupta
  • Oct 18, 2021
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Indisputably, the internet is capable of storing unlimited data and providing us with unlimited access to information. Popular social media applications follow the same ideology. However, Snapchat has re-imagined a new way in which people interact online. 


Users of Snapchat, mostly teens and young adults, enjoy services like messaging privately through pictures that disappear after being viewed by the recipient, called “snaps”, or broadcast these snaps to their friends, or save them to the in-built memory storage feature. 


Snap Inc. (the parent company of the application), describe themselves as a camera company reinventing the way people communicate by living in the moment. 


Although Snapchat updates itself regularly, it has a few key features that make it unique and stand out within the social media platforms. The fleeting nature of pictures and conversations, creating your own personal emoticons through Bitmoji, and discovering “moments” are the main attraction points for its consumers.



What does Snapchat market?


Imran Khan, Chief Strategy Officer of Snapchat says, “Snapchat is a great storytelling platform” and “our users come here almost every waking hour because they want to express themselves”  


The business model of Snapchat is to primarily target the Millennials and Generation Z and it is evident by the number of Snaps created every day (4 billion+) that the application provides enormous value to its users, businesses, and content creators but how is it executed? 


Value of Snapchat


Value to the users of Snapchat is provided by the structured form of execution of the idea of sharing day-to-day moments of life and experiences. 


For businesses, it is where their target audience engage which provides them with the opportunities to understand their preferences. Snapchat Spotlight allows content creators to create short videos (Videos Snaps) which are then displayed on ‘Discover’ for the public. Top creators are paid on a daily basis which attracts a massive pool of original content.



How does Snapchat use AI and machine learning to increase its value?


Snapchat invested $1,101,561 in its Research and Development which is their biggest expense in the year 2020. It uses a multitude of technologies like Artificial Intelligence combined with Machine Learning techniques and Augmented Reality.


Artificial Intelligence tools use multiple computer programs to mimic human intelligence and decision-making. While machine learning is a branch of AI, its primary focus is on the use of data with various algorithms to improve its accuracy or performance to learn and improve itself.


(Related Reading: How Instagram Uses AI and Big Data Technology?)


Augmented Reality provides a virtual reality based experience of the real-world.Their purpose for this can be understood by exploring how they utilize these high-end technologies -


  1. To create filters


The main objective of filters is to increase engagement and communication among the users. For filters, Snapchat uses AI-powered lenses with small machine learning models to detect a face, differentiate the structure and features within it, and then create a 3D model of the face. 


This process is completed using ‘Image Processing’, ‘Facial Landmarks’- plotting points on the face and comparing it with collected data sets and active ‘Shape Modelling’ which creates a virtual face and aligns it with the actual face.


(Must Check: How does Basic Convolution Work for Image Processing?)

The entire process is completed within seconds to present to the user filters that move with the movement of their faces like dog ear filters. With the addition of Augmented reality, it is further able to create time machine filters, gender swap filters, etc.


  1. To create business


Snap Inc provides Snapchat Trends to marketers and content creators and recently started Branded AR to drive virtual try-on experiences for the users. Pandemic brought another challenge for brands whose products are based on the “touch and feel” factor. 


Through Augmented Reality based products Snapchat helps drive consumer behavior through the entire decision-making process. 


Snap is setting up a system that will allow sellers to easily upload AR versions of their real products and users can just as easily discover these on Snapchat. 


While Snapchat users can also upload any object and turn it into a virtual product that they can make changes to according to their preferences and buy without leaving the application. 


With the combination of AI-based algorithms and Augmented Reality, Snapchat has re-imagined retail with the help of the insight that users are more motivated to buy after they are allowed to interact with the product.

The image shows how Snapchat uses its latest trends to create interact with consumers and create business

Snapchat uses its latest trends to create interact with consumers and create business (source)


  1. To understand user privacy and intimacy 


Snapchat uses end-to-end encryption to any Snaps shared between users. While all the messages are deleted from the servers right after the recipient has read them, and only saved if the recipient or the sender has saved them on their chat.


Unlike other social applications, where perfection is sought, Snapchat leverages the experience of intimacy through regular communication and awards the number of ‘Streaks’ (the total number of daily exchanges of Snaps). It allows users to share the normalcy of day-to-day life made unique with self-expression through filters.


  1. To develop Marketing Strategies


Snap Inc. launched Snapchat Trends which provides valuable insights into the topics and moments that are being most talked about within the Snapchat Community. This equips marketers, influencers, or content creators to tap into these insights and cater to their audience in a way that is meaningful to them. 


(Related Reading: A Complete Guide to Marketing Management)


This data can be used in a number of ways, including Product Market Research, Building User Profiles for successful marketing, Researching Key Moments to plan a moment-based media strategy, or understanding consumer sentiments towards any particular products or services as well as those of the competitors.  

The image shows how Snapchat uses Snapchat trends to develop Marketing Strategies

Snapchat uses Snapchat trends to develop Marketing Strategies (source)



One of the reasons for the success of Snapchat is their ability to listen to their users and understand what they need. This consumer-based model of marketing and the intuitive knowledge of separating the Right side of the camera where the publishers, creators, and the community is displayed in a personalized manner and left side of the Camera where friends exchange snaps and express privately makes Snapchat more familiar and provides the ease of access to all its features to their users. 


Snap’s exhaustive research and innovations surprise their consumers and make sure there’s never a monotonous moment, at least not one that can’t be marketed!

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