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Crowd Surf: Snapchat’s New Weapon In Event FOMO

Skift Take

How Snapchat is helping events capitalize on event FOMO with user generated content and new features like Crowd Surf.

Creating event FOMO (fear of missing out) is a great way to extend event reach beyond the localized audience. Thankfully for the event industry, Snapchat has this covered on several fronts. Almost every time Snapchat brings out a new feature, it can almost immediately be applied to events in some way that benefits the attendee or the event itself. Snapchat is continuing this trend with a new feature it is calling Crowd Surf.

Introducing Crowd Surf

Snapchat’s latest addition to its ever-growing list of features is called Crowd Surf. Using a proprietary piece of machine learning technology – a type of AI (artificial intelligence), Crowd Surf brings the event experience to the wider social media audience in a new and completely unique way. The app stitches together Snaps (pictures and videos captured by the Snapchat app) recorded at an event and added to “Our Stories”. It does this by using the recorded audio as a guide for putting the clips in order and in sync with the audio at the event. This gives social media users worldwide the opportunity to view a multi camera-angle view of the event on mobile devices.

Of course, this is no substitute for actually attending an event but Crowd Surf is not really about providing a polished live experience. The new feature is completely aimed at sharing the emotion and excitement of the moment and in that sense, it’s perfect. For events with a high-level of fan engagement, such as sports and music festivals, Crowd Surf could be a very useful tool for extending the reach of event and sponsor messaging beyond the venue to a wider social media audience. And the best thing about it is that all of the work is left in the hands of the fans and the app’s AI.

The Battle For Social Media Supremacy

Although Snapchat appears to be getting better and better with each update, it’s not been an easy ride. The journey so far has been fraught with difficulties and stiff competition from other social networks. Facebook owned Instagram has been a constant thorn in Snapchat’s side. With both Instagram and Snapchat being focused on capturing moments, there was always going to be some crossover and competition, however, Instagram took it one step further. It did this by taking Snapchat’s Stories feature and copying it in almost perfect detail. Just to add insult to injury, Facebook then took the feature and applied it to its Facebook (social network), Messenger and WhatsApp applications. The two platforms are now locked in what seems to be an eternal battle of bettering.

Plummeting Stock

As if fierce competition and outright plagiarism weren’t enough, things aren’t great in the board room either. Although user adoption is good, it’s fallen way short of analysts’ predictions. It’s a similar story for ad revenue too. Again, Snapchat has fallen short of the mark. The final result of this is that Snap Inc’s stock price continues to drop and nothing the company does seems to be able to change that.

7 Snapchat Features Perfect For Event FOMO

1. Crowd Surf

The new feature, Crowd Surf, plays heavily on event FOMO with user generated content (UGC) cleverly stitched together to create a seamless, multi-camera viewing experience.

2. Spectacles

Snapchat Spectacles is a wearable device containing a 115º camera which captures a first-person view of the wearer’s world. The glasses capture circular video which works on any device and allows the viewer to pan around the scene. Again, this feature is great for event FOMO because the remote viewer gets just a hint of what it’s like to be there. Just enough to leave them wanting.

3. Lenses

Lenses are the augmented reality (AR) add ons which allow users to play dress-up as different characters. Using face detection, the app can apply masks, hats and even other faces to a user’s own face. This could be useful for sports events and music festivals where the feature could be used to allow fans to show affinity or allegiance with a particular team, artist, or even the event itself.

4. Geofilters

Geofilters are the ultimate event FOMO tool. By creating a geofilter with the name or branding of an event, event planners can provide an easy way for attendees to show their followers where they are, and of course, how much fun they are having. With this, sponsored geofilters can also help event branding and messaging to reach a wider audience.

5. Stories

Snapchat’s Stories was a masterstroke and undoubtedly one of the factors which contributed to Snapchat’s massive user growth back in 2013. Stories allows users to record a timeline of Snaps which are viewed by followers as a chronologically ordered series of photo and video clips. Facebook thought Stories was such a good idea that it made a carbon copy and rolled it out across all of its major platforms.

6. World Lenses

Snapchat introduced World Lenses earlier this year, giving advertisers (including events) the ability to create 3D cut-out objects that can be applied to real-world scenes captured via the Snapchat app. At the moment Snapchat is very careful not to use the term “AR” for this feature but it’s possible that AR functionality will be added later on if the new “smarter lenses” feature comes to fruition.

7. Snap Map

Despite facing criticism over privacy concerns, the Snap Map could be a silent winner for events. The map feature allows Snapchat users to see where their friends are on a map within the app. This could be a real boost for events which attract a local audience. If a user sees all of their best buddies gathered in one place, they might want to know what’s up… or why they weren’t invited. Another event FOMO box checked.

The Future for Snapchat and Events

If we put Snap Inc’s ephemeral money problem to one side for a moment, the future looks good for the relationship between Snapchat and events. We already know that Snapchat is working on the next big event slaying features and we can’t wait to see them. Rumour has it that there may even be a Snapchat selfie drone on the way soon too.

In Conclusion

Snapchat’s new Crowd Surf feature is one more in a long line of features useful for events. Although facing stiff competition from Instagram and some considerable financial issues, Snapchat keeps battling on and its innovation seems to keep investors hopeful enough for now.

As long as Snapchat defies gravity and stays afloat, there will be opportunities for eventprofs with or without advertising budget to get their event publicized by proxy of its fans.