Snapchat’s APIs pave the way for easy logins. And easy data sourcing
Snapchat has released a series of API’s in order to help promote the platform’s growth, but is it too little too late? And what are the real motives behind the move?
The four APIs cover logins, a camera API, a bitmoji integration, and an API which makes themed stories possible.
As far as broader uptake of the platform is concerned, the first of these, the API which allows logins from other platforms using Snapchat data, is indubitably the most important.
Users of just about any site on the internet will be aware of “Login with Facebook” or “Login with Google” options, used instead of creating a new account – perhaps for a site that won’t be visited too often, or used too much.
The SnapChat API will allow sites to offer a “Sign in with Snapchat” button.
The platforms teens say they use most in 2018:
Compared to 2015:
Source: https://t.co/ijSYSG0Q6G pic.twitter.com/aHClXr9Z0I
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) June 26, 2018
The option means that the platform’s reach can extend further and can garner more significant quantities of information, which it then can use the improve the user’s experience.
And sell on to the highest bidder.
What is becoming increasingly apparent in the public’s mind since the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal is that using this type of login effectively gives a third-party access to users’ deep personal data, plus, of course, it adds to the swathes of data already owned by the social platform.
The release of the Snapchat APIs comes late in the day as its uptake rate slows, due not least in part to the “Stories” feature being “emulated” (or “stolen,” depending on your viewpoint) by Instagram.
The company may be losing its lucrative youth market in Europe and the US (to Instagram, for instance) in much the same way that Facebook and other social media platforms have done in the past.
In short, Snapchat may be becoming a bit of old hat for new, young users.
Given the increasing number of articles on the web explaining how to monetize and market on the platform, that may not come as a complete surprise. Once the marketing department gets interested, the death knell is tolling.
The other Snapchat APIs may well encourage other apps to use Snapchat stickers, filters and bitmojis – the latter coming soon to decorate Tinder profiles and conversations.
Amusing fripperies, of course, but the real drive for Snap Inc. is the possibility that it becomes as ubiquitous as Facebook and Google on account creation screens.
By being used in the same way as its rivals, it gains visibility and plenty more users – or so the company is hoping.
Snapchat has stated that it won’t be sharing its users’ deep data with third parties, having learned, presumably, from the PR fallout of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica debacle.
Snap has said it will “review” any company wishing to work with the login API before approval is granted. In a similar vein, access to Facebook’s APIs is now dependent on companies “signing a contract.”
Cold comfort from both, given that both platforms remain free at the point of use, and are not operated primarily to disseminate community feeling and good wishes across humanity.
By propagating a “Login with Snapchat” feature, the company is hoping it corrects the emerging downturn in its user figures which threaten to consign it to the same internet dustbin inhabited by MySpace, Friendster, Classmates.com, Friends Reunited etc.
Additionally, the more data it can grab from users taking the easy account creation/sign-in option, the better.