- Snapchat is testing a feature that lets users of the image-messaging app put their selfies into shareable videos, TechCrunch reported. The Cameo feature replaces the faces of people in videos with personal headshots, turning them into a simplified "deepfake," or a video that has been digitally altered to make it appear authentic.
- Snapchat tested the feature in several international markets and will roll it out globally on Dec. 18 for Android and iOS, Snap confirmed to TechCrunch. Cameos are found in the Bitmoji section of the app, along with looping videos that can be altered to include a selfie.
- In the updated app, Snapchat will provide a browsable selection of video scenes that also can be searched, similar to emoji or GIF keyboards. The company plans to add more videos every week, TechCrunch reported.
Snapchat's new Cameo feature likely creates new opportunities for marketers to participate in sponsored video clips that users can share on the image-messaging platform, similar to its sponsored augmented reality (AR) Lenses. As video content becomes more popular on social media with improved mobile network speeds, smartphone users likely will create more video content to share, as seen with popular apps like ByteDance's TikTok that has robust video editing tools for user-generated content (UGC) that helps to boost engagement.
Faced with competition from rivals like Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat's parent company Snap has worked to innovate with new product features that keep people engaged with its image-messaging platform. Snapchat pioneered AR features and disappearing posts like Stories that other platforms have since copied, pressuring Snap to innovate continually.
Snapchat last year alienated many users with an app redesign, but has since resumed growth by continually adding new features that have broad appeal. For example, Snapchat this year generated buzz with baby-face and gender-swap AR lenses that triggered a strong surge in app downloads, helping to erase the user declines it had seen a year earlier.
For marketers, Snap has introduced new ad formats and software tools to help web content on its platform. In October, it unveiled the Creative Kit for Web to extend functions that previously were only available for mobile apps, giving developers broader distribution within Snapchat and letting them boost web traffic outside the app. The developer tool lets brands more easily add a "Share to Snapchat" button to a mobile or desktop website.
Snapchat's efforts to expand its audience and to appeal to more advertisers led researcher eMarketer last month to raise forecasts for the image-messaging app. EMarketer now expects the app's user base to grow 14% to 293 million worldwide by the end of the year — compared with a prior estimate of 281.3 million. By the end of 2023, eMarketer forecasts Snapchat will add more than 63 million users, up from prior estimates of 52 million.