Mobile Commerce

Snapchat’s New Way Revenue Play

Snapchat took the world by storm thanks to its unique disappearing message dynamic, but its next big move may be in the opposite direction.

Snapchat rolled out a new feature on Tuesday (Sept. 15) that allows users to replay vanished messages for a $0.99 fee, the company announced in a blog post. When a user forks over his or her hard-earned buck, Snapchat will allow the user to watch three videos or pictures for a second time — a departure from the selling point that turned the messaging app into one of the most popular choices on the market.

“Today, U.S. Snapchatters can purchase extra replays, starting at three for $0.99,” Snapchat wrote on its blog. “You can use a replay on any snap you receive, but you can only replay any snap once. They’re a little pricey, but time is money!”

The pay-for-replay feature marks the first time that Snapchat has added any kind of monetized feature to the otherwise free-to-use app. Wired explained that users could replay one message a day prior to the update, and that option remains, but Snapchat seems to be betting on users’ desires to save more than one of their daily messages from the digital scrap heap.

The Wall Street Journal noted that Apple usually skims 30 percent off the top of all in-app purchases, but it’s unclear whether they’ll start claiming a portion of Snapchat’s new monetized feature. However, with upwards of 700 million messages sent each day through Snapchat, according to Statista, monetizing a fraction of those replays is likely to draw Apple’s attention — if they’re not interested already.

All in all, the move to turn one of Snapchat’s most sought-after features into revenue could signal an attempt to stymie — or potentially reverse — recent negative financial news surrounding the company. If that’s the case, $0.99 per replay might not be enough.

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