Playing games on social media is nothing new, but some platforms lend themselves more naturally to the idea. Snapchat begun as, and still is, a kind of game in itself. Friends send disappearing messages back and forth complete with emoji, stickers, drawn images and captions that keep the conversation going, thus creating a more sophisticated form of texting.
This winter, for example, Snapchat users were playing a game in which females posted Stories or adorned their profiles with fruit emoji, each one with a hidden meaning as to their relationship status. A blueberry meant she was single, a pineapple meant “it’s complicated,” and so on. The only rule was not to tell boys what the fruit meant. Once the boys figured it out, they started their own secret game using animals. This type of user-generated game—much like Twitter’s hashtag games—is the type of engagement that Snapchat is known for.
Naturally, brands want to tap into that engaged audience in fun and interactive ways. Over the last year, the app has hosted a number of playable ads which proved popular with users. Under Armour’s It Comes From Below game starring Cam Newton was a big hit, with 20 percent of Snapchat users swiping up to play on the first day the ad was run. Those who did spent an average of 78 seconds playing the game and 19 percent of users who played shared the game with one or more friends, per Snapchat.
Gatorade embedded an entire, 22-level video game into the app to celebrate tennis champion, Selena Williams, proving that branded ads aren’t limited to just one format.
Snapchat has been experimenting with a number of games playable within the app, such as World Lenses—a way to add virtual elements to a user’s environment such as sparkles, colors, a virtual flashlight and clouds puking rainbows. Perhaps inspired by the success of Pokémon GO (and its many business partnerships), this update laid the groundwork for what would become playable lenses such as Santa’s Helper and a playable Kraft Macaroni and Cheese filter.
Analysts predict that the global social online games market is expected to reach $17.4 billion by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 16.1 percent. In the United States, the industry is expected to surpass $2.4 billion by 2020 EoY. Snapchat users are already playing games on the platform, and brands are finding success through playable lenses and advertisements.