SnapKit: It’s not too little, but is it too late?
SnapKit is the moniker for Snap Inc’s new and shiny suite of developer tools which allow apps to connect directly to the Snapchat platform in ways that would have been impossible months ago| August 9th, 2018
As of now, SnapKit includes four building blocks, Creative Kit will allow access to the Snapchat camera within a brand’s app, allowing for real-time highlights from the app like an ETA from Deliveroo or workout stats to be placed as a sticker within the camera. With Login Kit, brands can now provide easy one click login to users, with Login Kit only transmitting the users display name, brands can provide a universal login with significantly stronger privacy credentials than they could with other universal logins. Bitmoji Kit allows your custom Bitmoji to follow you wherever you login with SnapChat and finally StoryKit will allow brands to include Snapchat stories inside their own apps.
SnapKit is seen by many as a critical course correction for Snapchat, who in the past have been quite hostile towards any attempts at outside access to the Snapchat platform. In the past they have cracked down hard on unofficial apps, even going as far to state in their Terms of Service that third party developers must acquire written permission from Snap Inc. Fortunately, SnapKit is just a part of a larger move to lower the barriers of entry for brands and developers wanting to take advantage of the Snapchat platform. Starting with the launch of their Self-Service ad manager in mid-2017 which has been strengthened with constant updates and the launch of the Lens Studio at the same time as SnapKit, Snapchat is finally loosening their grasp on the content and the use cases of their technologies. This of course opens them up to more risk, the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal and even the YouTube adpocalypse are surely front and centre of the minds at Snap Inc. However when faced with plateauing growth and the fear of jumping into the grave with MySpace, democratisation of the platform seems to be a surefire way to get developers and users excited about Snapchat again.
There is a lot here to get excited about and brands are already taking note. Postmates: an on demand grocery and food delivery service has deployed live branded filters, showing the ETA of a customers delivery. Eventbrite and Bandsintown are both deploying dynamic stickers to show followers that you are going to an event. SnapKit may also finally bring full shoppable ads to the platform, now users, influencers and brands alike can share tappable links in story. Poshmark: an online P2P fashion marketplace now allows it’s users to share their listing on Snapchat in the form of a tappable sticker.
It remains to be seen whether or not initiatives like SnapKit will allow Snap Inc. to claw back some market share from Instagram. While these initiatives are a massive leap in the right direction and in some ways leap frog the competition, many changes are Snapchat playing catch up. With recent user privacy scandals shaping the market, SnapKit brings similar and in some cases better functionality to users while making their privacy a top priority. It’s a great proposition to users, but ultimately the success of this course correction will be decided by the brands and developers Snap Inc. has shut out for so long.