On June 21st, Snapchat introduced their newest feature: the Snap Map. With the update’s release, came a blog post which says: “We've built a whole new way to explore the world! See what's happening, find your friends, and get inspired to go on an adventure!”
Even as someone who lives on Snapchat, I needed a bit more information about this new update before I knew the in’s and out’s of it. Chances are you do too, so read on to discover all of the features of Snap Map.
What Exactly is Snap Map?
This new Snapchat feature indicates where Snapchat users are posting the most snap’s to “Our Story” (a public story where everyone in the area can post snaps for the world to see). But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean your snap will automatically be posted publically. Snapchat has automated systems that decide what makes it onto the Map and what doesn’t.
This map acts as a heat map, showing lighter blue shades where there are few users posting, and red where there are many users posting. Often times you’ll see this red area at events like concerts, festivals, sporting events, etc.,. Snapchat even goes so far as to indicate what’s happening by creating a circular thumbnail image and small description of the event.
The map can also act as a “friend locator.” If you have created a bitmoji of yourself in Snapchat, it will show up on the map in the exact location you’re in, so your friends know what you’re up to, or conversely, you’ll know what your friends are doing.
Snapchat also uses Actionmojis, which is basically your bitmoji doing certain activities like traveling in a plane or car, shopping, sleeping, etc. Snapchat comes up with these actions by time of day, the speed at which you’re traveling, your location, etc.
How do you use the Snapchat Snap Map?
Even with the video announcement, it can still be a bit confusing on how you can pull up the Snap Map on your phone, but it’s actually really easy:
When you open Snapchat, go into camera mode, and pinch your fingers together as if you’re zooming out on an image - like this 👌.
At this point you’ll be zoomed in on your own bitmoji, but you can also easily zoom out to find your friends in your area. Or you can even zoom out far enough to see what’s happening around the world. I decided to head over to Universal Studios and live in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for a few minutes. Pretty cool, right?
From here, you can tap on any other public stories around the world, or tap on one of your friends’ bitmoji’s to start a chat or to watch their story. You can also search for a friend’s name in the search bar at the top of the screen, where you can also see a list of every friend who is currently sharing their location with you, along with seeing both local and featured public stories.
To quickly and easily get back to your location on the map just hit the target button in the bottom-right corner of the Map screen.
What does privacy look like on the Snapchat Snap Map?
At this point, you might be a little freaked out about everyone knowing your location. Many articles have recently surfaced about the safety concerns of this new feature, and understandably so. But don’t worry, Snapchat did add in privacy settings so you can feel a little less “watched.”
Users also have the ability to operate in Ghost Mode, where you’re able to see the map and interact with it, but none of your friends can see your location. All you have to do is go in the upper-right corner of the Map screen, click on the gear icon, and enable “Ghost Mode,” or simply choose the friends you would like to share your location with.
There is one consequence from staying visible, even if it’s only to your closest friends. If you’re trying to avoid responding to a message, your details will still show a timestamp of the last time you opened Snapchat. Sorry folks, not even turning off read receipts can save you from answering that message now.
How can marketers and advertisers use it?
Social media is a very important asset to marketers, and if you’ve noticed recently, Snapchat has started to sneak advertisements into the app in as many ways as possible. Whether that be through AR lenses or bumper ads in between your friends’ stories, it’s nearly impossible to fully engage with the app without running into some sort of brand advertising.
Although Snapchat has claimed they don’t plan to run ads in Snap Map stories, the possibility would be huge for local advertisers. Many marketers and advertisers are seeing this new Snap Map as an opportunity to learn more about their user’s demographics: Who is spending time at what places? Eating at certain restaurants? Spending money in which stored? What time are they doing these activities? How old are these users? Marketers and advertisers can really learn a lot from this new feature.
There is also the opportunity to run advertisements in relation to location-based stories on Snapchat. For example, let’s say you’re viewing a public story in Detroit. Snapchat could display ad bumpers from brands looking to connect with users who are viewing those Detroit stories. Snapchat hasn’t implemented this just yet, but here is an infographic from Business Insider that shows how marketers would use the map for location marketing:
Pretty cool, right?! We think that in the very near future, Snap map and Snapchat will change the marketing industry and the way that marketers and advertisers think.
And there you have it! Whether you’re using the app for fun or for business, that’s everything that you need to know about the new feature, Snap Map! What have your experiences been with it so far? Tell us in the comments below.
Social Media Producer - Emily uses her background in journalism and love of pop-culture to create informed, relatable content. As a social media enthusiast (even her SIMS Character is a Social Media Writer), she aims to find a relevant hashtag for every situation, and find a use for instagram in every campaign. She’ll be your best friend for a bag of flaming hot cheetos. #NoShame.