Snap this week launched Snapchat for Web as a browser-based version of its popular photo-messaging app. The site lets Snapchat users continue conversations on its platform from their smartphones and computers, per an announcement.
More than 100 million Snapchat users make video or voice calls through its app every month, according to internal data cited by the company. The video calls can include as many as 15 participants at a time, CNN Business reported.
Subscribers to Snapchat+, introduced in June for $3.99 a month, in the U.S., U.K. and Canada have early access to Snapchat for Web. Regular users of Snapchat in Australia and New Zealand also can access the service, which Snap plans to offer worldwide.
Snap’s introduction of a web-based version makes a progression that’s contrary to that of other social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter that started out as websites. Snapchat for Web can help keep people engaged with its platform while making features such as video calling easier to see on a bigger screen. The expanded versatility that comes with a web version potentially positions Snap to compete with other providers of videoconferencing such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams and Verizon’s Bluejeans.
While video calling apps typically don’t carry advertising, the additional engagement that Snapchat gains from web usage may help brands that run campaigns on its platform. Snapchat’s global user base rose 18% from a year earlier to 332 million in the first quarter of 2022, with the strongest growth in countries outside of North America and Europe. When the company reports results for the second quarter this afternoon, analysts likely will want to hear more about how Snap’s new services including Snapchat+ and Snapchat for Web will affect its advertising business.
What Snap management says about ad revenue has implications for the broader digital ad market. The company’s stock-market value was cut almost in half the day after it warned in a disclosure that revenue and earnings would be weaker than expected during the second quarter. Snap revealed it was unlikely to reach the low end of its target for yearly revenue growth of 20% to 25% amid greater economic uncertainties.
Snap’s introduction of new services comes a few months after the company showcased a batch of features at the Snap Partner Summit, including expanded e-commerce capabilities for Snapchat. The company released software tools to create augmented reality (AR) shopping content, giving brands another way to engage mobile users and guide them toward a purchase. Its AR Shopping templates in Lens Web Builder, Snapchat’s self-service platform for creating digital imagery that consumers use to decorate photos and videos, were created to help marketers with immersive shoppable content.