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Snap Map and the visualization of FOMO

Posted by Mohtab on
Snap Map and the visualization of FOMO

Snapchat just released a new update a few days ago that includes a new feature that they call Snap Map. Snap Map is a map feature that allows you to see Snaps happening around you as they happen. These snaps are beautifully visualized on a map in the form of a heat map. The map also shows your friends in real time and can hint at their current activities.

What is Snap Map?

You can access this feature by pinching the camera screen when opening Snapchat. This would bring a map in view that shows your Bitmoji avatar in your current location on the map. Around you will be a heat map that visualizes how active users are at different locations on the map.

Users will have to submit them as part of “Our Story” when publishing. Once submitted it seems to take a few minutes before it gets pushed to the Snap Map at the location you are publishing from.

We have tried submitting a number of Snaps to a location and not all were selected to be displayed on the Snap Map. There seems to be a selection process before these snaps are public. Whether this is done based on an algorithm or a human checking the snaps before they go out is not clear at this stage.

Privacy concerns

When users enter the Snap Map for the first time they are welcomed with a privacy setting to choose from. Here is the description of each as per the Snapchat support website.

  • Only Me (Ghost Mode): Your location won’t be visible to anyone else on the Map. When you’re in Ghost Mode, your Bitmoji will hold up a blue sign with a spooky specter 👻
  • My Friends: Your location will be visible to all of your friends on the Map as long as you are mutual friends. This includes any new friends you make too! If you want to choose this option later, go to ‘Select Friends…,’ scroll down to ‘All Friends,’ and tap ‘✓ Select All.’
  • Select Friends…: Choose specific friends to share your location with. Friends you select won’t be notified that you chose them, but they’ll be able to see your location as long as you are mutual friends!

As with every location based update some users displayed their concern on how their data is being handled and prefered to browse the Snap Map on “Ghost mode”. Even the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority in the UAE expressed their concern with an announcement warning the public of the dangers of the new Snapchat feature on the personal privacy of the users.

This could hinder the use of this feature in countries such as KSA, Kuwait, and the UAE. Many users in these countries have grown to like Snapchat mostly for the privacy it offers when compared to other social media channels. Snapchat seems to understand that as it has set “Ghost mode” as the first setting users can pick from to make sure they are still in charge of who gets to see their stories or can see them on the map.

Heat map as a metric

The heat map is a beautifully simple visualization of “what is hot right now” that talks directly to the FOMO in all of us. Just opening the map at any given moment will highlight the areas on the map that have heavy Snapchat activity. This is a straightforward visualization of new metric that businesses should look at improving. How many of your customers believe their experience is worth sharing and bragging about to their friends?

The red spots on the map show that a number of people have enjoyed the experience at your business that they wanted to share it with the rest of the world. These red spots be a catalyst that grows the feeling of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) to those that are around and would probably attract more customers that would like to have a similar experience.

Just like the Twitter trending topic was a success metric for many brands on Twitter, the red spot will be a success metric on Snapchat. Businesses will aim to have that red spot as often as possible.

How can Businesses Make use of Snap Maps?

We have reached out to Snapchat and it seems they do not have any ad products to go along with the new feature as of yet. That should not discourage businesses from making use of it. There are a number of ways brands can make use of Snap Maps right now to help them in a number of ways.

In-store incentives – Businesses can add an incentive to customers that share their experiences on the Snap Map. 5% discount or a free dessert can go a long way in putting your business on the map.

Events worth talking about – An easy way of turning your business into a red spot on the map would be to hold an event that would help create a lot of content. Live performances are probably the easiest way to do so.

Listening tool – Businesses should use Snap Maps as a listening tool to see what are their customers sharing about their business and to use that information to further optimize their experience.

Competitor analysis – You have been given front row view to see what are your competitors doing to keep their customers. This should be great in building insights on what makes one business excel more than another.

Snapchat has proved that it is still aggressive in its innovation plans and still able to come up with new brave solutions that have the capability to polarise people. Snapchat has been active in registering a number of location based augmented reality patents lately and it should not be a surprise to see augmented reality features added on top of the Snap Map once the feature becomes a part of the daily life of Snapchat users.