What is Snapchat+ and why is it gaining subscribers?

16 Aug 2022

Image: © DenPhoto/Stock.adobe.com

Snapchat’s paid service has reached more than 1m subscribers, offering exclusive features to users and a new source of revenue for Snap.

Snap has seen early momentum for its new Snapchat subscription service that launched at the end of June.

The company revealed this week that Snapchat+ reached the milestone of 1m subscribers. The service was initially rolled out in a small number of markets, but is now available in 25 countries including Ireland and the UK.

Snapchat+ offers exclusive access to features that aren’t available on the free version of the app. It also includes experimental and pre-release features, letting users try out new tools before they’re released to a wider audience.

For example, a desktop version of Snapchat was released last month, initially made available in Australia and New Zealand and for Snapchat+ subscribers in the US, UK and Canada.

The company has now announced a batch of new features being offered on the subscription service. This includes priority story replies, which makes responses more visible when replying to Snap Stars, which are verified influencers or celebrities.

Image: Snapchat

The premium service also lets users customise their profile to stand out more in Snapchat’s crowd of roughly 332m users. Snapchat+ subscribers can add unique designs for their app icons and special backgrounds for their Bitmoji characters.

Image: Snapchat

The benefits for Snap

Snap has been feeling the heat this year from a weaker advertising market, which many social media apps rely on for the bulk of their revenue.

Last month, the company’s shares dropped by 25pc after its quarterly revenue results were lower than expectations. The company is also reportedly eyeing layoffs.

At a cost of $3.99 a month, growing a subscription service would provide an added source of revenue for Snap.

Other social media sites have been looking at subscription options to reduce their reliance on ad revenue. Twitter launched a subscription service called Twitter Blue last year, while Telegram recently rolled out a premium service with additional features as the encrypted messaging app seeks to monetise its user base.

Snap also appears to be using the subscription service as a way to test new features before making them available to everyone on the platform. This is similar to YouTube’s strategy, as the platform often rolls out experimental features only to YouTube Premium subscribers.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic