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For the uninitiated, navigating Snapchat’s content-first interface (the app opens immediately to a video screen with little direction about how to proceed), functionality, and features can be an intimidating process. But while some marketers may balk at learning a new set of vocabulary terms (what is a “Snap,” anyway?) and mastering yet another social media platform, Snapchat’s record-breaking growth—the app’s active user base has increased 30% in the past year, according to Re/Code, and the number of videos that users consume has jumped 400% in that same period—has made marketing on Snapchat a must for brands seeking to target the app’s 130 million daily active users.
[Tweet “The number of Snapchat users has increased 30% in one year.”]
To help both individual Snapchat users and CMOs understand the functions and popular features of this year’s hottest app, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the most significant Snapchat terms, definitions, and examples. For more information on how brands are using Snapchat to reach and engage teenagers and millennial audiences, consult our list of resources below:
Snapchat’s innovative approach to social media has yielded a number of unique terms and functionality much unlike those with which Facebook and Instagram users may be familiar. To help users get the most out of their Snapchat accounts and brands launch the most effective Snapchat marketing campaigns, novice Snapchatters should first familiarize themselves with our simple Snapchat glossary:
Snapchat’s way of automating Snapchat Story-watching by linking all Stories together and playing them as one reel. Users no longer need to click on every individual story they want to watch. To skip a specific Snapchatter’s Story, simply tap the screen. To stop watching the Auto-Advance Stories, swipe down on the screen.
Chat 1.0 allows users to communicate with friends and followers through text in addition to sending private “Snaps” (i.e. photos and videos). When watching a Story, swipe up to chat about that Snap; when receiving a Snap, swipe right to start chatting with the author of the Snap. A Chat 1.0 conversation can also be initiated by double-tapping on a friend’s name.
Chat 2.0 is an updated version of Chat 1.0 on Snapchat. In addition to all the capabilities of the previous iteration, friends can now call each other, connect through video chat, or send an audio note.
Discover is a section created for brands and publishers to develop Snapchat Stories for the app’s large audiences. On Discover, users can find branded content made by Vice, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, ESPN, Tastemade, CNN, Buzzfeed, and more. To access Discover, click on a branded icon, slide through the contents, and swipe up to see more information about a particular Snap, Story, or brand.
Snapchat’s friend emojis signify how frequently one sends a Snap to another user. An emoji that looks like an hourglass, for example, means that a user’s “Snapstreak” (i.e. how often they communicate with that particular user via Snapchat) is about to end, and a birthday cake emoji appears when it’s a user’s birthday. For a comprehensive list of what each friend emoji means, go to Settings → Manage → Friend Emojis.
Filters are additions that users can select to decorate their Snaps. To add a filter, simply snap a photo or a video then swipe left to see what filters are available.
One of the most innovative and popular features on Snapchat, lenses integrate with a user’s face to create entertaining animations and overlays that enhance a user’s Snaps. To activate the lenses, press and hold on the face in a snap and follow the directions (such as “open mouth”). Different lenses are released each day, and many brands have reached millions by developing custom branded lenses.
See how Taco Bell’s “giant taco” lens shattered the record held by Gatorade here.
A great way to see what’s happening around the world from a stranger’s point of view, Live is basically a Snapchat Story of a place with a Snapchatter as a tour guide.
Like filters, Geofilters decorate a user’s Snaps. Unlike regular filters, however, Geofilters are specific to a user’s location or an event they are attending and can be used to generate engagement and encourage Snapchat users to share their experiences with friends and followers. On-Demand Geofilters may even be designed and purchased by individuals or smaller companies and only become available when a Snapchat user enters a specified geo-location.
To zoom in while “Snapping” (i.e. taking a Snapchat Snap), users may slide their finger up and down on their smartphone screen.
Students, educators, and people visiting participating college campuses can access university-branded Geofilters to add to their Snapchat Stories. Once a university Geofilter has been accessed, that Snap is added to the college’s Campus [Snapchat] Story as well. Our Campus Story is currently available at UCLA, USC, Penn State, and the Univeristy of Texas.
Recent Updates are the latest Stories published by a user. To see friends’ Stories in alphabetical order, scroll down to All Stories and select a specific Snapchat Story to view.
The basic unit of content on Snapchat, a Snap is a video or a picture captured and shared on the Snapchat app.
The result of a partnership between Snapchat and Square, Snapcash allows Snapchat users to transfer money to their friends. To access Snapchat, users must enter their debit card information, then text “$ + the amount they want to send” (e.g. “$5” for 5 dollars) to another Snapchat user.
The name for each Snapchat user’s unique favicon. Instead of adding friends on Snapchat by inputting their username, Snapchat users may scan a user’s unique Snapcode instead.
Snaps shared to all of a user’s Snapchat friends are compiled into a series of photos or videos called a Story. Unlike individual Snaps, which disappear almost instantly, Stories stay on the app for 24 hours. Snapchat users may also download their own Stories to keep a permanent record of each day’s events, if desired.
Story Explorer is a tool that allows users to see beyond what the Snapchat team curated for a certain Story. To see related Snaps or more learn more about the Snapchat Story, users may swipe up on the Snapchat Story; to return to the original Story, simply swipe down.
To simplify the process of connecting with friends and followers, Snapchat allows users to see a Story or private Snap simply by tapping on another user’s name.
Snapchat’s trophy case holds trophies for all the milestones a Snapchat user achieves. From sending a Snap with a filter to sending 50 Snaps with five or more pen colors, trophies encourage user interaction and content creation. To see trophies, open the app and swipe down, then click on the trophy icon.