The History of Snapchat | FORTAYmedia

The History of Snapchat

Snapchat’s complete evolution; from Pictaboo to Puppy Filters.

With 150 million people using the service every day, is Snapchat the new social media platform to dominate our lives?

For the last 13 years Facebook has been the platform to dominate our internet use. New social media platforms have launched, some working, Twitter, and some not, who remembers Ello?

However, none have come close to matching the success of Mark Zuckerberg’s Empire.

Arguably the fastest growing social media platform in recent years is Snapchat. Launched

in 2011, it was then called Pictaboo. Gaining popularity mostly with high school kids, by 2012 the app had grown to 100,000 users. However, it wasn’t until May 2013, when the app had reached 150 million snaps per day, that brands began to take interest.

When Snapchat launched its new ‘stories feature’ in late 2013, they were largely seen as the underdogs of the social media world.


Zuckerberg, reportedly, took notice of this and offered creator, Evan Spiegel, $3 billion dollars to acquire the app.

Spiegel turned him down.

Many saw declining the offer a rookie error, however in late 2013, Snapchat received a $50 million financial injection from Cotue Management, with a reported valuation of more than $2 billion.

Declining Zuckerberg’s offer was starting not to look so bad.

Within the same month, Instagram launched its ‘Instagram Direct’.

Now users could directly mail images to their followers, instead of having to share them publicly. As Snapchat and Instagram have the same target demographic, Snapchat responded by adding filters, timestamps, temperature and speed overlays to their disappearing images, as well as the ability to replay snaps.

From then on, the ‘picture sending’ app became so much more than that, with constant updates, adding text and video conversations, to launching their ‘Our Story’ feature a month later, where users were able to add snaps to a single event based story.

However, it wasn’t until Facebook’s monetization VP moved to the Snapchat camp, in June 2014, that the app really began to grow. A month later, we began to see the app become monetized with the introduction of geofilters to a person’s specific location.

Within a year, Snapchat had become a real contender in the social media world.

Firstly partnering with square cash to launch SnapCash in November 2014, users now had the ability to send and receive money from friends through the app. Then, In January 2015, getting serious about its advertising potential, the app launched ‘Discover’


– an always – on daily refreshed channel guide serving up disappearing content alongside brand advertisements. Media partners include National Geographic, Daily Mail, Comedy Central and CNN.

In February 2015, after finally addressing the ‘it’s just a sexting app’ label, Snapchat partnered with three non-profit Organisations to launch a ‘Safety Centre’ for its users. As Snapchat users were mostly teenagers and millennials, the Safety Centre was targeted mainly at parents and teachers who knew little about the service. However, the information was open to the whole Snapchat community.

Almost a year since we saw the introduction of them, the business extends their geofliters as a monetizing strategy. McDonald’s were the first company to pay Snapchat to run a geofilter advertising campaign, with their custom geofilter being available for users to use at any of the over 14,000 McDonald’s stores in the U.S.


September 2015 saw the main growth in popularity for Snapchat, after they acquired facial recognition app ‘Looksery’ to power its animated selfie lenses, the launch had the community puking rainbows for days. The app didn’t stop there, with 36% of Americans aged 18-29 now having a Snapchat account, the app is the fastest growing social network for millennials.

Snapchat currently has seven billion video views each day, rivalling Facebook, and just as we thought the messaging app was finally done, we saw another upgrade in March 2016. This added (adding) new face swap features, filters, stories and more. The aim of the makeover was to make the app easier to use. While some changes are small, such as a new button size and colour, the update also saw major changes to its layout for the ‘Discover’ and ‘Live’ feature, keeping news and publishers content at the forefront of the app.

The platform is now set to double its user base in 2017, as Snapchat have just announced new tools that will make advertising a bigger part of the experience.

Snapchat Partners are set to help facilitate 10-second ads that ‘pop up’ between personal snaps and let the advertiser offer more info with a swipe.

More info on Snapchats new Partner Ad Programme coming soon.

Early July 2016 saw the launch of ‘Memories’ – maybe the biggest and most useful feature to be added to the app. Memories lets you do a host of new things, from sharing pictures on your camera roll, to saving snaps to a specific part of Snapchat ready for you to use later. Snapchat describes memories as a ‘personal collection of your favourite moments that live below the camera screen.’

Late July saw the launch of your own personal emoji ‘Bitmoji’! The fully customisable emoji are linked to your Snapchat account and can be sent in chat or as a ‘sticker’ on your snaps.


Moving on to the new year. Evan Spiegel doesn’t want to be known as just the app to send disappearing pictures – on the cusp of going public, Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. is reinventing itself. The fastest growing social network in years, now wants to be known as a camera company! Snap has acquired a series of companies that specialize in computer vision and augmented reality, and in September, it introduced its first physical camera, embedded in sunglasses called Spectacles.

Why is the history of Snapchat so important?

Simple, it’s the fastest growing app in recent times. From the idea of two college students, Pictaboo is now worth $20 billion with users viewing more than eight billion photos and videos on the app every day. This figure puts Snapchat’s engagement on par with Facebook meaning that the picture messaging app is now a major contender in the social media world.

Snapchat now has more users than Twitter, and is (only) set to grow even more over

the next few years. Offering something unique in the world of broadcasting, Snapchat is, undoubtedly, the place to be to get your business noticed.

Blog last updated 1st March 2017

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