What is Snapchat used for? Snapchat is a popular social media and messaging app that has multiple uses. The app is best known for its disappearing photo and video messages called Snaps. Users can send Snaps to friends that will disappear after being viewed once. Snapchat also features Stories, which are collections of Snaps that create a narrative over a day. Stories also disappear after 24 hours.
Beyond messaging, Snapchat has a Discover section with content from publishers, creators, and the community. The app also has a Chat feature for text, audio, and video conversations with friends and groups. Snapchat users can also share their locations privately on a map and access curated content based on location.
With its filters, lenses, Bitmoji avatars, and more, Snapchat enables visual communication and creativity. For teens and millennials especially, Snapchat has become an authentic and private space for everyday communication with friends without the pressure of permanence and perfection. While its core functionality is ephemeral messaging, Snapchat’s evolution has made it a versatile app for sharing moments, entertainment, conversations, and creativity.
When staying connected in today’s ever-changing world of technology, we often overlook some of the simplest communication tools. Take, for instance, email. Although email is highly used daily by more than a billion people across the globe, many people have yet to take advantage of email and its many uses. Another communication tool that gets overlooked is Snapchat. With this in mind, here’s an overview of Snapchat, including what it is used for, how to get the most out of it, and other tips and tricks to ensure it’s used to its utmost potential.
ALSO SEE: Snapchat Marketing Guide
Table of Contents
Using Snapchat: App Features and Settings
To use Snapchat, you must download the app to your mobile device — smartphone, tablet, iPhone, etc. The app allows you to send videos and pictures to other users who have downloaded the app. Still, unlike other apps, Snapchat automatically erases the pictures and videos after being viewed.
You can change settings to keep the messages from erasing, but this applies only to the photos and videos you send. To view other people’s photos and videos for longer than a few seconds, they must alter their default settings.
Now that you know what Snapchat is and how it works, you’re probably wondering to yourself, what is Snapchat used for? The truth is, you can use it for a variety of purposes, with the most essential and common one being to communicate with other users of the app. When you send a picture or video using Snapchat, the message is called a Snap.
The longest time a Snap can be viewed is 10 seconds unless you change the settings and add the Snap to your Story Wall. Story Walls are viewable for up to 24 hours. In 2014, only three years after the mobile app was first released to the public, more than 700 million Snaps were being sent daily. The app is geared toward teens and young adults, but due to its popularity, it has become a worldwide sensation being used by people of all ages.
Did you know that in addition to pictures and videos, you can add texts to the messages sent via Snapchat? That’s right. This means you can turn any Snap into a text message as well; however, remember that all Snaps are considered multimedia messages. Still yet, though, because they are sent using the Internet, there is no reason to fret about going over any MMS data allowance.
Using Snapchat for Business Purposes
If you own a business, you must connect with your customers, as well as other consumers, in a way that appeals to them. With Snapchat, you don’t have to be an individual to use the app. Instead, you can use it for business purposes—best of all, Snapchat gives you an instantaneous way to connect with consumers all around the globe.
Have a message you want to relay to your customers? No problem! Simply send a Snapchat to your customers, and they will receive it via their smartphone or another mobile device; this gives you the ultimate way to stay connected with customers and to show them a side of your company that they may not find elsewhere.
Here is a look at seven ways to use Snapchat for business reasons:
- Leak New Product Info: Want to get your customers on the latest product bandwagon? Of course, you do, and there’s no better way to do this than by teasing them with product Snaps. Whether a new hair brush or an update to one of your oldest products, sending Snaps about products is a great way to build suspense about a new product release.
- Increase Follower Count: Looking to increase your fan base simply? If so, then Snapchat is a platform you should be tapping into. With millions of users globally, you can easily increase your follower and fan base count when using Snapchat.
- Run Contests: Have a new product you want to give away? Why not use a Snapchat contest to pick your winner? Simply run a contest to your Snapchat followers and ask them to reply with a snap. Your favourite snap can then be used to choose the winner. It’s fun for everyone.
- Product Tutorials: Do you want to show your customers unique ways of using your product? If so, sending them a product tutorial video via Snapchat is an excellent way to connect with them and let them know you care. You can show them in-depth Snaps of how to get the most out of your product, which leads to customer satisfaction and can also help you study your products and learn how to improve them.
- Give a Behind-the-Scene Glimpse: Do you have behind-the-scene action you want your fan base to see? If so, a Snapchat picture or video can deliver this glimpse to them non-invasively. They can view the Snap at their convenience, allowing you to rest assured they will enjoy the glimpse, which improves overall customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Build Relationships: Snapchat isn’t just about connecting with your existing fan base and customers. It can also be used to connect with prospective customers and vendors, suppliers, and distributors. After all, since these entities are crucial to your company’s success, doesn’t it make sense to include them in your marketing efforts? Of course, it does, and Snapchat enables you to connect easily with them via a platform that can be used in multiple ways.
- Unique Content: The content shared via Snapchat isn’t formatted or read through like the content shared on Facebook and other mobile platforms. This is why it’s essential to ensure all content shared via Snapchat has been created specifically for this platform. As a bonus to this, you will be sharing unique content, which is far more likely to resonate with your customers and increase sales.
Snapchat was created by Stanford University students Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown. Frustrated by the permanence of photos and messages on Facebook, they wanted to create an app where shared content would disappear. After initial launches such as Picaboo and Snapchat, the app became popular among teens and millennials, with over 100 million active users by 2014.
Some key milestones in Snapchat’s history include:
- 2011: Launch of Picaboo iOS app
- 2012: Rebrand as Snapchat, launch on Android
- 2013: Introduce ephemeral Snapchat Stories
- 2015: Launch Discover tab for content from brands
- 2017: IPO, rebrand as Snap Inc
- 2019: Launch Snap Originals exclusive shows
- 2022: Over 265 million daily active users
Today, Snapchat continues to attract younger demographics, with over 90% of daily active users between the ages of 13 and 24. The app has evolved beyond disappearing photos to become a hub for entertainment, messaging, and creativity.
Beyond Snaps: Exploring Snapchat’s Diverse Features
Snapchat popularized the concept of ephemeral messaging, but it has grown to offer a wide range of features:
- At the core of Snapchat, Snaps are photos or short videos taken in-app that disappear after being viewed. Users can customize Snaps with filters, effects, stickers, and more.
- Snaps can be sent directly to friends or posted to stories. Opened snaps cannot be viewed again.
- On average, over 5 billion snaps are created daily on the platform.
- With over 250 million people using Stories daily, this feature allows snapping photos and videos throughout the day that are stitched together into a story that disappears after 24 hours.
- Stories give a behind-the-scenes look into someone’s day. Friends can view your stories, and stories can also be submitted to public crowd-sourced platforms like Snap Map.
- Snapchatters under 25 spend over 30 minutes a day on average using Stories.
Lenses and Filters:
- Snapchat offers various real-time effects and filters that can transform your look. Lenses use augmented reality to add effects like dog ears, while Filters alter the look and feel of your photos.
- Popular lenses get billions of views. Snapchat has partnerships with brands to create sponsored lenses.
- On average, over 6 billion Lenses are used daily on Snapchat.
- Discover allows Snapchatters to watch curated content and stories from top publishers, creators, and the Snapchat community.
- It includes channels for entertainment, news, sports, and more. Original Snapchat shows are available on Discover as Snap Originals.
- Over 25% of Snapchat’s daily users watch Discover. Time spent watching Discover has increased over 40% year-over-year.
- Snapchat also has a more traditional messaging component for text, audio, and video chat. Chats support group messaging for up to 32 people.
- Chat includes fun features like Bitmoji avatars, @ mentions, voice notes, and more.
- Snap Map lets you share your location with friends to see where they are and what events or hot spots are nearby.
- The map includes heat map visualization showing popular locations. Users can choose exactly who to share their location with via Ghost Mode.
- Snapchat+ is a new $3.99 per month subscription plan that launched in 2022. It unlocks exclusive features like choosing a BFF for priority notifications, reacting to stories with any emoji, rewatching one Snap per day, and more.
Snapchat offers unique benefits that appeal to younger demographics:
- The disappearing nature of Snaps and Stories creates a sense of urgency and intimacy. This reduces social media anxiety and allows users to share more freely.
- According to Snapchat’s research, over 70% of users feel more comfortable expressing real feelings knowing Snaps disappear.
- Snapchat makes communication more visual and engaging. Filters, lenses, and multimedia Snaps convey emotions and experiences in a fun way.
- Visual communication helps users connect and understand each other better. Photos and videos are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.
- With less pressure for perfection and no tally of Likes or comments, Snapchat offers a more authentic social experience.
- Snapchat is often called the “anti-Instagram”, where users can share raw, unedited moments from life’s daily ups and downs.
- Snapchat’s disappearing content gives more privacy. Users also have control over who can view their Snaps and Stories.
- Features like Ghost Mode on Snap Map let users control what they share publicly and privately.
- With AR lenses, filters, Bitmoji avatars, and more, Snapchat uncorks creativity and fun when messaging.
- 70% of daily users play with or create new Lenses on Snapchat. The app has unlocked viral creativity.
Snapchat has its etiquette norms that new users should know:
- Don’t screenshot or record Snaps without permission. The sender is notified if you do.
- Drawing or adding text on a Snap means you want the receiver to respond. Leave it empty if you are not looking for a reply.
- You may want to avoid sending too many Snaps in a row to someone if they aren’t actively replying.
- Drawing patterns on the Snapchat camera screen will unlock special filters and lenses.
- Bitmoji avatars are popular – be sure to link your account.
- Maintaining Snapstreaks (daily Snap exchange) with friends shows a close relationship.
Snapchat Safety and Privacy Controls:
While Snapchat can be fun and harmless, users should exercise caution (especially teens) and use settings to maximize privacy:
- Don’t add strangers as friends. Avoid sharing usernames publicly.
- Use Ghost Mode on Snap Map to control location sharing. Only share with actual friends.
- Enable privacy settings like who can contact you, view stories, see location, etc.
- Screenshot notifications let you know if someone takes a screenshot of your Snap.
- Enable two-factor authentication for account security.
- Report abusive behaviour within the app and block users who are harassing you.
- For teens, parents can enable restrictions on who kids can interact with.
Snapchat Trends for 2023:
Several new Snapchat developments are on the horizon for 2023 and beyond:
- Further expansion of Snap Originals and Discover. More partnerships with celebrities, creators, news publishers, etc.
- Augmented reality try-on capabilities for clothing, makeup, and accessories. AR commerce potential.
- Offering more analytics to creators and businesses about their audience and engagement.
- Rollout of Snapchat for Web to use Snapchat on desktop and laptop devices.
- Further monetization includes ads in Snap Map, sponsored AR lenses, and subscriptions.
- Leveraging Snapchat’s unique features for marketing, customer service, events, etc.
 Snapchat quarterly results: https://investor.snap.com
 Snapchat demographic statistics: https://www.omnicoreagency.com/snapchat-statistics/
 Snapchat usage trends: https://www.emarketer.com/content/snapchat-us-usage-metrics
 Visual communication research: https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/advan.00123.2016
Leveraging Snapchat for Influencers and Creators:
Snapchat’s creative tools and engaged audience provide a powerful platform for influencers and creators to grow their following and monetize their content.
Building a Community: Influencers can use Snapchat’s interactive features to connect with their audience personally, creating a sense of community and belonging.
Partnering with Brands: Influencers can collaborate to create sponsored content that reaches their highly engaged audience.
Monetizing Content: Snapchat offers various monetization options for creators, such as Snap Ads, story views, and branded lenses.
Optimizing Snapchat for Success: SEO and Search Intent
To ensure that Snapchat content is discoverable and attracts the right audience, it’s crucial to optimize the platform for search engines and user intent.
Keyword Research: Identify relevant keywords that align with the target audience’s interests and search behaviour.
Strategic Content Creation: Create engaging and informative content that incorporates these keywords naturally.
Optimize Profiles: Craft clear and concise profile descriptions highlighting the user’s expertise or brand’s offerings.
Embrace Trends: Stay up-to-date with current trends and popular hashtags to increase content visibility.
Utilize Snapchat Analytics: Leverage Snapchat’s analytics tools to track content performance and identify areas for improvement.
What is Snapchat used for in schools?
Did you know that Snapchat can also be used for educational purposes? That’s right, and many schools have already hopped on the Snapchat education bandwagon. Increasing student engagement is the number one goal behind using Snapchat in the classroom, and fortunately, studies have confirmed that engagement can be increased when used correctly.
With students between the ages of 12 and 24 using Snapchat more than any other social media platform, it makes sense that all schools should integrate this platform into their daily teachings. From increasing participation in school projects to sending updates about school cancellations, there are many ways to use Snapchat in schools.
If you’re looking for an app that can be used in various ways, please don’t overlook the many possibilities you will gain when using Snapchat. From sending messages to your friends to giving updates on school projects, Snapchat is the ultimate communication platform that can be used all around the globe.
What is Snapchat used for? FAQ:
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Snapchat:
How do you send a Snap?
- To send a Snap, take a photo or video (or use one from your camera roll), customize it with filters/effects, specify the send time, select recipients or add it to your Story.
How do Snapchat filters work?
- Snapchat has many overlays and effects called Lenses and Filters that can be added to Snaps? Some are static overlays; others use AR to add animated effects. New ones are constantly being created.
Can you tell if someone screenshots your Snap?
- Yes, Snapchat will notify you if someone takes a screenshot of your Snap. This helps maintain the ephemeral nature of the content.
How do you view old Snaps?
- Unfortunately, Snapchat deletes Snaps once they’ve been viewed. There is no way to retrieve old Snaps unless you take a screenshot. Some third-party apps claimed to save Snaps, but most no longer work.
How does the Snap Map work?
- Snap Map lets you share your real-time location with friends. You control who can see your location. Ghost Mode hides you from the map. Heat maps show popular Snap spots.
What is Snapchat used for? Conclusion:
Snapchat has come a long way since its early days as an app for ephemeral photo sharing? It has evolved into a robust platform for visual communication, storytelling, entertainment, and creativity. While the core functionality remains Snaps that disappear after being viewed, long-term Success will depend on Snapchat continuing to innovate and leverage new technologies like augmented reality.
With its younger demographic base growing up, Snapchat now faces competition from apps like Instagram and TikTok that are catching on with youth audiences. But for now, Snapchat remains the go-to daily app for authentic, fun, and creative digital engagement for millions of loyal users worldwide. Its privacy-first approach gives it an edge as society grapples with the downsides of permanent social media. For those seeking relief from the pressure and competition of other platforms, Snapchat provides a welcoming oasis built on imperfection and identity.