Snapchat unveils new search bar. But will this trigger growth?

Snapchat has added a new feature called a search bar. According to media reports, the search bar can be accessed from the top of the app, where users can conveniently chat with other users, search for content and add new friends. In a statement to TechCrunch, the company explained that the interface has been designed for greater speed, to make search more efficient.

Snapchat has often been criticised for its unfriendly user interfase. Despite its popularity, many have deemed the growing social media platform as complicated for first time users. With this new addition in place, will navigation on the platform be much easier? And will this, in turn, lead to a surge in users?

Simon Kemp, regional managing partner of We Are Social Singapore, said the search bar is a useful addition, especially because the app's somewhat "minimalist" approach to user interface and navigation can be a bit perplexing to new users. He added that "search may reduce a bit of early friction" for those who are already keen to use the app, but it’s unlikely to make any dramatic changes to the overall user experience. Kemp said:

This new functionality is unlikely to trigger any significant growth in Snapchat users. However,the addition of search is may be a precursor to the arrival of more marketing-oriented features within Snapchat, especially because search is such a crucial part of the ‘buyer's journey'.

Stanley Clement, managing director of Society Malaysia added that Snapchat’s navigation initiative indicates a basic optimisation of the app.

"We don’t foresee a drastic impact on the app’s users. Especially when we consider Instagram Stories and how its number of users is rapidly gaining traction in Malaysia,” said Clement.

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Evolution of the app

"A search feature in Snapchat was long time coming," said Prantik Mazumdar, managing partner, Happy Marketer. He added that the non-Millennials would appreciate this as "many of them complained that once they opened the app, they didn't know what to do or where to go."

"However, search functionality isn’t unique to Snapchat, and - critically - search has been an integral part of the Instagram experience since the beginning," he added, explaining that every social network, as part of it's evolution, has introduced a search feature to improve user experience. He also added that this is a great way to drive sponsored search product and revenue. He added:

The irony is that the search feature will not help us find all the short-lived content that gets shared by users on the platform.

Ben Chew, managing director, Isobar Malaysia, explained that with Snapchat has gained steady popularity amongst the "Tweens" and and teens in the market across Asia. As such, innovative experiences would be the step forward.

Chew explained, "The search bar answers to the speed of searching content, friends, groups, just as how its audience much prefers to live in the moment and therefore requires access to those things the fastest possible.