Snapchat: To SnapMap or Not?



If you are a Snapchat user, you may have noticed a new feature on the App called SnapMap. This Geo-location feature allows you to share your physical location with friends (more about preventing this below), as well as view where they are snapping from.  It works off of your phone’s Location settings, which must be enabled before this feature can become active.

The SnapMap feature only updates when the app is active.  This means, even if you just open the app and don’t post, it will update your location on the map.  Your location is only being shared with those you decide can view it, who you are already friends with.  It can be all of your friends on the Network, or just those you select.  To enable the ability of who can view your location, Snapchat offers a good tutorial on their site.

An interesting use case of this from a non-personal approach, is through the Apps “Our Story” function.  This is where users can submit Snaps so everyone on the network can see, although they are hand selected by the Snapchat team and stay active for an undetermined or consistent period of time.  Think concerts, restaurants, sporting events and more!  Snapchat already has a special feature called Campus Stories, for those snapping from a college or university campus.  These use cases can be tapped into from a marketing perspective, but many advertisers or brands haven’t taken advantage of this yet.  Part of that is due to the limited opportunities available for advertising or corporately engaging on this social media channel … At least so far.

Now, for those of you with children or privacy concerns, there is a way to opt out of the location sharing function and still use Snapchat.  When first in the SnapMap, choose the option for Ghost Mode/Only Me, to eliminate your physical location (which zeroes in on the street address where you are at the time) from appearing to others.  Then remember not to post anything to their Our Story feature, as these would appear to the public with your location regardless of your privacy settings selected.  If you want to change your settings in the future, use the Edit function within the SnapMap screen.

I will be interested to see how Snapchat leverages this new feature in the future from a monetization standpoint.  Therefore giving marketers the opportunity to advertise or connect with users in, or near, their location of business. In the meantime, think closely about how much personal information you want shared – even with those you are “Snapchat friends” with. 

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