What’s the deal with Snapchat?

Snapchat ghost in Satori sun

While the business world has been toiling away under the hot rays of the social media boom, Snapchat emerged unobtrusively, blossoming in the distance. Industry mainstreamers continued to tweet and like and share, to blog their thoughts on how technology and business were developing on Slate and Business Insider, all the while paying no mind to the steadily-growing bright yellow Snapchat ghost in the corner.

Well, that time has passed. As we reported last week, Snapchat now has more daily users than Twitter. This news adds salt to the wounds of tech reporters, who blanched in 2014 when Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, then 23-years-old, turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook, who to wanted to buy the new platform. It turned out to be a good move, and not the head-strong one the business media mocked: today, Snapchat has an estimated value of $19
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While the Powers That Be didn’t understand the disappearing photos that Snapchat is famous for, the app developers were hard at work creating more and better Snapchat lenses. (Lenses are a playful facial recognition software that can turn your coworker into a puppy or a film noir star, for example. You can save any of these that turns out to be particularly share-worthy.) A solid entertainment app geared toward people 14-35 years old has turned into a vast advertising mecca. Just this last month, Marvel and 20th Century Fox (on behalf of the new X-Men movie) bought out 8 Snapchat lenses for users in North America, proving that the advertising possibilities were limitless. With these lenses, users could turn themselves into Mystique, Beast, Cyclops, and more.

More advertising possibilities present themselves daily. Shared stories rotate continually, which have featured events such as presidential debates, the Hong Kong Festival of Light, and New York Fashion Week. These stories frequently include branded geofilters, or have an ad imbedded within the story.

For a company that wasn’t making much of a profit until recently, Snapchat has cashed in on its captive, youth-oriented audience with amazing results. No longer can the business and tech community ignore this silly kid sister. She’s growing up, kicking ass and taking names.

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