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As I’m sure all of you know, Snapchat released an update this week with two core components. 1. A new set of facial-recognition-based selfie filters, (like the rainbow mouth above) and 2. The ability to pay $0.99 to replay three snaps (which extends the normal one replay per day limit).

Being in my position, I’ve had a ton of people come to me with questions about this, so I guess I need to go on the record to say what I think about snapchat now charging to see snaps again.

To be perfectly honest. This is a genius update. This is actually one of the most notable things any social/video platform has done in 2015. Why? Three reasons

Snapchat needs to keep swimming to stay alive

Snapchat knows they have to stay fresh. They need to have updates to keep things moving. Facebook has always known this, and to be perfectly honest, we’ve seen Twitter do a relatively poor job of it over the last three to four years. Each individual update might not seem like a big deal, but Snapchat has done a tremendous job of keeping things fresh. From stories (which, I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t get initially), to Snapcash, to Discover, to tap-to-replay, and now this (and by the way these new filters are totally wild), Snapchat has shown that they get it. It keeps the users feeling like stuff is still going on. They’re still part of something that’s moving forward.

They released a replay monetization experiment bundled with a fantastic free feature

Notice the timing. Both features went live in the same update: An amazing selfie feature which everybody was obviously going to love, along with a paid feature that will need to win over people before it’s successful. A perfect play for Snapchat to keep their audience happy, just a tremendous job.

There is literally ZERO risk for Snapchat in this update

My guess (and I honestly have no way of knowing) is that the higher ups at Snapchat don’t look at this like some kind of big-time revenue source. And the great thing is that it doesn’t have to be. Aside from the development time that went into the feature, there is nothing for them to lose here. I suppose if everybody on the platform did it once, that could actually add up really fast, but at the end of the day, that’s not a likely scenario. But God forbid maybe it works! Maybe $0.99 feels right to everybody, and everyone wants to do it! Either way, what’s important is that there is no loss. I’m a huge fan of doing things with no downside (who isnt?).

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