By Evan DeSimone
After announcing changes yesterday that would make the platform more appealing to advertisers, social messaging service Snapchat rolled out a new feature designed to enhance consumer engagement.
Yesterday, Snapchat launched Story Explorer in select regions including New York and Los Angeles. The feature aims to broaden user engagement by at least partially solving a problem that has been with the app since its inception: discovery. Snapchat users routinely post ephemeral “stories,” collections of images capturing the day from their perspective that vanish after 24 hours. However, it’s difficult, if not impossible, for users to discover interesting stories unless they’re already acquainted with the user through other networks, a legacy of the app’s genesis as a messaging service.
The new feature will allow users to explore curated snaps from users that they aren’t following. Snapchat’s internal curration team will select snaps of newsworthy or interesting events — for instance, a game or a concert. These snaps will be curated into a live story from which users can then swipe up to view other users’ snaps of the same event shot from different perspectives.
As Snapchat continues to work to escape it’s origins as a messaging app and transition into a full fledged media platform, the company has struggled with what type of content users want to see outside of snaps from their personal acquaintances. Not all of its experiments have been successful. An effort to create original content in-house was summarily scrapped back in October. Efforts to lure high profile media outlets to distribute content through Snapchat’s Discover feature have achieved more buy-in. Story Explorer is the start-up’s latest effort to help users find relevant and engaging content on the service while encouraging those same users to keep generating content of their own.