Snap reaches 500 million customers a month

Evan Spiegel, CEO of SNAP Inc.

Stephen Desaulniers | CNBC

Snap said Thursday that its social media app Snapchat had reached 500 million monthly active users.

Snap shares closed more than 5% Thursday after the company announced the feat.

This is a significant milestone for Snap, a company that turned down multi-billion dollar acquisition offers from Facebook before going public in 2017 and survived an unfortunate redesign in 2018 that its users hated.

Snap had never published monthly active user numbers before Thursday. Rather, the company had always focused on its daily user base, which reached 280 million in April. That is 22% more than in the previous year.

Of course, the company’s 500 million monthly users are only a fraction of the 2.85 billion that Facebook opens each month.

The milestone was announced on Thursday at the company’s Snap Partner Summit 2021, which also unveiled a number of new augmented reality features that could help the company monetize that monthly user base of 500 million.

There is a scene in “Clueless” from 1995 where Cher Horowitz uses a computer to quickly look at the clothing catalog in her closet and place it on her body to choose the perfect outfit.

At the time it was fantastic technology reserved for a rich girl, but now Snap is releasing something similar for the masses.

With the features announced on Thursday, users will be able to browse the clothing and accessories companies’ catalogs using the Snapchat app. These functions enable users to virtually try on goods and visualize what they will look like on them in real life.

These features allow users to stand their phone or place it on a stand and turn it towards them. The screen superimposes augmented reality clothing on the user, which he can then browse and try on other virtual clothing. Snap’s new capabilities allow consumers to navigate items using voice and gesture commands. Users can say “next” or wave their hands to overlay the next item on their bodies.

The company is also introducing “wrist tracking technology” that will allow consumers to use AR lenses to try on watches and jewelry.

Another new feature called Screenshop allows consumers to use the Snapchat camera to scan a friend’s outfit and look for similar looks recommended by the app.

Snap is also rolling out public profiles for businesses that brands can use to showcase their posts and AR lenses. These profiles also include shop pages where users can browse brands’ catalogs and purchase goods directly from the Snapchat app.

The company is also introducing a new technology called Connected Lenses, which allows friends in remote locations to interact with the same virtual lenses. To begin with, the company will have a lens that users can use to collaboratively create a Lego kit.

These features are part of a broader drive by Snap and other social media companies to bring more ecommerce purchases right into their apps. This feature has become particularly important since Apple introduced iOS 14.5 in April, an update to the iPhone and iPad operating systems that allows users to choose which apps are allowed to track their activity on their devices.

With Apple’s new privacy features, social media companies are finding it harder to prove the effectiveness of their ads if consumers don’t make a purchase immediately after viewing the ad or in their own apps.

Because of this, Snap announced its plans in February to give advertisers more opportunities to get their products and services available to Snap users directly through Snapchat. With the announcement of the AR shopping features on Thursday, Snap is taking some of its first steps to deliver on those promises.

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